Whose Bad Acid IS This? (10/20/99)

Now that the whole "G4 pre-order cancellation" thingy has finally been resolved, people in the market for a professional Macintosh are still feeling pinched by Apple's bizarre plan to alleviate G4 availability problems by selling slower systems at the same price. This is, as far as we know, completely unprecedented in the entire history of the computer industry; everyone knows computers get faster and cheaper, but evidently Apple's really thinking differently these days. And the question on everyone's mind is this: Has Steve finally gone (more) bonkers?

Ah, but you assume too much, grasshopper. Given the sheer craziness of the idea, everyone immediately figured that this is a Steve plan-- and we admit, it's got Jobs' megalomaniacal RDF-infused "I can do anything I want" smell all over it, so we can't fault you for the assumption. But while the G4 downgrade plan freaks us out to the nth degree, what totally blows our mind is the rumor that Mac the Knife's peddling these days. Dig through the obscure pop-cultural references and drug humor, and you'll find the Knife casually revealing that the "breathtakingly inept" plan to slow down the G4s while keeping prices the same was the brainchild of none other than-- Fred Anderson.

Yes, Fred Anderson. Mr. Money. The Moolah Man. Apple's Chief Financial Officer, usually a rock-steady balancing force that complements Steve's stormy nature, is rumored to have hatched the evil scheme while the Mercurial Mr. Jobs was distracted by a shiny object or something. Say it ain't so, Fred! Is it possible? Could the man largely responsible for getting Apple's financial house back in order have been the source of such a flighty scheme? Normally, we'd dismiss such a rumor immediately, but it's hard to ignore one little fact: when the plan was announced, Apple's stock price went up, and not just because of (or in spite of?) Apple's better-than-expect profits. Reportedly Wall Street liked the G4 slowdown plan, because it's an "innovative" way to react to G4 supply constraints. Just waiting for faster chips means fewer boxes sold, but an across-the-board slowdown of the Power Mac line apparently sounded like a good idea to the Street. Fred, Fred, Fred... Where have all the heroes gone?

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The above scene was taken from the 10/20/99 episode:

October 20, 1999: The Cancellation Saga continues, as Apple iteratively agrees to reinstate more and more of the deep-sixed G4 pre-orders. Meanwhile, the mind reels amid a Mac the Knife report that the man behind the G4 slowdown with no price break was not Steve Jobs, and a personal anecdote illustrates the importance of being very careful when dealing with stores like CompUSA...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 1857: Full Bloody Circle (10/20/99)   Bet you thought Apple's G4 cancellation fiasco ended last Monday with Steve Jobs' public apology, right? Wrong. This debacle is longer than a Meatloaf song and has just as many false stops. Let's recap: a week ago on Wednesday, Apple, fearing that too much good news might send its stock price into the low teens, tempered their better-than-expected earnings with the announcement that the whole Power Mac G4 line was being downgraded 50 MHz while the prices were remaining the same...

  • 1859: Always Check. ALWAYS. (10/20/99)   Yes, Virginia, there are iBooks available for the patient-- and they're even more available for the not-so-patient. We at AtAT can now say that a blood-relative has taken delivery of her brand-spanking-new Blueberry iBook, though if she hadn't gone down to CompUSA and rattled a few cages, she'd still be waiting...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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