Some Things Never Change (4/6/01)

Ladies and gentlemen, your attention please! AtAT is pleased to offer this vivid illustration of "Progress in the Wonderful World of Michael Dell's Brain." The old-timers among you will recall that way back in 1997, Mr. Dell publicly voiced his opinion that Steve Jobs should shut Apple down and give the money back to the stockholders, because the company was beyond saving. It is now 2001, an eon later in this industry-- and what is Mike saying now? Well, according to a MacNN article pointed out to us by faithful viewers Tim Kirk and Nina Tovish, Mike's been flapping his gums to Business Week about how Apple is still doomed. Good ol' Mike; he's been carrying that "THE WORLD WILL END TOMORROW" sign for going on four years, now.

The article isn't online yet, and we have far more important things on which to blow our hard-earned cash than issues of Business Week (there are copies of the Alyson Hannigan issue of UK FHM on eBay, for instance), but MacNN has posted short excerpts of Mike's most recent doom-and-gloom Apple forecast: "We know how the movie ends, it's just a question of what happens in the middle." Evidently Mike's growing obsession with Steve Jobs has sprouted a new psychosis: delusions of psychic ability. He thought he knew how the movie ended four years ago, too-- and he's played catch-up ever since, building consumer-oriented computers in colored plastic (remember Dell's WebPC? Even we saw how that movie was going to end), making a push for wireless networking, and just generally doing everything he can to ape Apple's every move.

So sayeth the oracle of Dell-phi: "Apple has a very little customer base. If you look at the economics, it has been extremely hard for Apple to get a return on its R&D with a shrinking volume base. It's not to say that Apple's products aren't innovative or cool, but the economic factors here are so overwhelming." Assuming, of course, that Apple's volume base keeps shrinking. That volume base has served well enough to carry the company through what, thirteen consecutive profitable quarters, before a faltering economy and a poor-selling Cube ended the winning streak? All while pouring money into the development of Mac OS X, all that sexy hardware that Mike graciously admits is "cool" (he'd better cop to that fact, after copying everything Apple's made for the past three years), and world-class software like iMovie and iTunes. And after all that, Apple still has four billion in the bank. Yeah, those "economic factors" sure are a killer.

Poor Mike; still waiting for the sky to fall. Well, we look forward to checking in again four years from now, when Apple's installed base percentage has doubled, the company's back on top in education, and Mac OS X and a line of enterprise systems has extended Apple's reach into the long-ignored business market. We figure Mike Dell will still be singing the same song, but hey, a little nostalgia never hurt anyone, right?

SceneLink (2973)
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The above scene was taken from the 4/6/01 episode:

April 6, 2001: Hey, lookee-- Mike Dell's predicting Apple's imminent demise again. Meanwhile, the RAM disabled by Apple's latest firmware update isn't bad, it's just misunderstood, and the "Mac in Space" project is still a go, slated for a launch this October...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 2974: Chicken Soup For The DIMMs (4/6/01)   Were you one of the unfortunate multitude who blithely installed Apple's new firmware update a couple of weeks ago, only to discover that some or all of your third-party RAM evaporated into thin air? If so, we feel for you-- but if history has taught us anything, it's that firmware updates from Apple are best left to breathe for a few days while the less wary jump in and install with reckless abandon...

  • 2975: T Minus 6 Months & Counting (4/6/01)   Remember SkyCorp, the company that's planning on deploying a constellation of low earth orbit satellites housing Macs as web servers? The last we'd heard, the first test system was going to be launched sometime this year, boldly going where no web server has gone before...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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