Going Windows Shopping (7/10/01)
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Does anyone remember when it was Microsoft's modus operandi to buy smaller companies at a rate implying that the corporation was burning them for fuel? These days, though, we're noticing that Uncle Steve has been on a virtual spending spree, smaller-company-wise. As a lead-in, keep in mind that Apple has been buying third-party technology as the basis for Apple-branded software for ages, now-- the heart of Final Cut Pro came from Macromedia, iTunes was built around technology from Radialogic and Casady and Greene, etc. When it comes to buying entire companies, though, the most recent purchase we can recall off the tops of our heads was Raycer, back in '99-- at least, up until last March. That's when Apple acquired PowerSchool in a bid to fight back in the education market. Now here we are, just four months later, and Apple's buying another company-- one called Spruce, a "maker of DVD authoring and encoding systems." Geez, Steve must carry a heavy balance on his credit cards.

Faithful viewer the Mactivist tipped us off to a Creative Mac exclusive about the acquisition, which Apple has confirmed. There are a couple of interesting aspects to this scenario. The first is that Apple already has two DVD-authoring applications-- namely, iDVD on the low-end and DVD Studio Pro for professionals. (Fun fact (collect 'em all!): the guts of those applications came from a slew of DVD software and technology that Apple had purchased from Astarte in April of last year. It's a third party DVD hullabaloo!)

The other noteworthy point about this acquisition is that Spruce only makes software for-- wait for it-- Windows NT. Which could imply that Apple's looking to take iDVD and/or DVD Studio Pro cross-platform, but there are a couple reasons why that's unlikely. The first is that, as far as we know, Steve Jobs hasn't just suffered a localized stroke that lowered his IQ by eighty points, thus making him think that porting killer apps to the competition's platform is a really spiffing idea. The second is that Apple has announced flat-out that it will "offer a migration plan to existing Spruce customers to help them preserve their investment in Spruce software." That could be interpreted a lot of different ways, but to us it sounds sort of like "hey, all you NT users-- buy a real computer and we'll kick you a Mac version of your Spruce apps for cheap. Otherwise, bye-eeee..."

The way we see it, Apple is utterly convinced that desktop video coupled with desktop DVD authoring is the wave of the future-- so the company is doing everything it can to make sure the Mac is undeniably the best platform around for those happy activities. Either that, or faithful viewer Scott is right when he says that "maybe if Apple buys every DVD software company in the world, we'll finally be able to play DVDs in Mac OS X."


 
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From the writer/creator of AtAT, a Pandemic Dad Joke taken WAYYYYYY too far


 

The above scene was taken from the 7/10/01 episode:

July 10, 2001: Some enterprising spy has apparently managed to secure photographs of Apple's upcoming Power Mac systems. Meanwhile, Apple buys yet another company (but this one makes DVD authoring products solely for Windows), and it's official: the keynote will be webcast, as usual...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 3166: Secret Agent Super Dragon (7/10/01)   Ooooh, there's nothing like a little espionage to brighten up the week! Turn off your shoe phones and activate the Cone of Silence, because top secret spy photos of next week's new Power Macs have leaked out onto the 'net; faithful viewer and field operative Seth H. Nielsen sent us a coded message pointing to MacOSX.org where the juicy nuggets of forbidden info are currently safehoused...

  • 3168: Good News: Steve By Proxy (7/10/01)   Eight days to go, and the natives are getting restless; the hour rapidly draws nigh when His Royal Steveness will mount the stage to preach to the assembled faithful via one of his trademark keynote addresses...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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