Friday, April 27, 2007

Apple’s Secret Weapon: A Brainwave-Controlled iPod???

I doubt there’s another company on earth followed by as many outsiders engaged in so much speculation about what the company plans to do or not to do as Apple.

This is a function of two things: the company has already revolutionized the technology world twice, and may or may not be on the verge of a third revolution with the iPhone; and Steve Jobs understands that a secret is no longer a secret when you tell somebody else.

Hence the presence of web sites such as,, MacRumors, MacOSRumors, MacScoop, MacTheKnife, Macca the Ex-Beatle and, of course, the MacUserEatingBreakfastAndWatchingILoveLucy Video Cam.

Actually, I made up the last three, but you get the gist: there are people out there who really need to get a life and find something else to do besides playing the pathetic remora to Steve Jobs’ relentless shark.

Besides, for all the Apple Kremlinologists find great pith and merit in every press release, conference call, Jobs-sighting and patent filing that comes out of Cupertino, there is one Secret Weapon they have not grasped, despite its being hidden in plain sight.

Even more remarkable may be the fact that Apple’s Secret Weapon comes courtesy of the monopoly that nearly put Apple out of business.

The Secret Weapon is, of course, Vista, the “next generation” operating system devised by the time-clock-punchers in Redmond which, to their befuddlement, has produced precisely the opposite its intended effect: rather than accelerate as the XP Monopoly upgrades to the Vista Monopoly, worldwide PC unit growth has actually stalled out.

That is because the prospect of upgrading to the clunky new “Vista”—Bloomberg offers a special ‘Help’ button for Vista users—is providing the excuse to finally leave Windows and buy a computer that already does everything Vista is supposed to offer, only safer, easier and intuitively, to boot.

I, for one, am breaking out of the Microsoft jail this week. My trusty Sony notebook finally bit the dust, and instead of buying a new notebook with Vista, I chose to go with the Mac.

Apparently I’m not the only one, for Mac unit sales were up 36% this quarter, more than triple the unit growth rate of PCs in the same period—a period that should have benefited from a mighty Vista upgrade cycle.

Instead, PC unit growth slowed down while the Mac's accelerated.

Which is why I say Apple’s Secret Weapon is not the iPhone or a new brainwave-operated iPod or anything else Steve Jobs may or may not be working on.

It is Vista.

Somebody in Cupertino ought to send flowers to Redmond and a nice 'Thank You' note.

Jeff Matthews
I Am Not Making This Up

© 2007 Jeff Matthews

The content contained in this blog represents the opinions of Mr. Matthews. Mr. Matthews also acts as an advisor and clients advised by Mr. Matthews may hold either long or short positions in securities of various companies discussed in the blog based upon Mr. Matthews' recommendations. This commentary in no way constitutes a solicitation of business or investment advice. It is intended solely for the entertainment of the reader, and the author.


CurmudgeonlyTroll said...

among your fellow finance bloggers Fred Wilson went Mac, while Brad Feld seems to think Vista is the best. Will be interesting to see who is happiest after things settle down.

After not using a Mac since Windows 3.1, I switched back myself, running all the MS apps in the Parallels virtual machine. Works fine. Hardest is getting used to the keyboard with the Apple, control, alt keys.

magordon said...

Jeff, I couldn't agree more. I have been a life-long Win-Tel user, and my next notebook will be a Mac. I am just waiting for Leopard. Maybe that's the real upgrade cycle to watch.

HoosierDaddy said...

Mac the Knife actually was the nom de guerre for a quirky rumor columnist at the old MacWeek magazine. "His" (he referred to himself at "this utensil") online columns were filled with rather obscure pop culture references (extensively linked)

Thomas said...

True 'dat, Jeff. I've been of the mind that Vista marks the decline of Microsoft's operating software business. I had not counted on Vista being such a bust. The question remains though, is it a disaster? I only care insofar as I can make money off MSFT puts and timing on the short. I am also looking into shifting my small business computer equipment over to Macs from PCs--three computers, one laptop. Not to mention a home computer (that makes four, I guess). I'm doing it--just a question of timing. No way I'm upgrading everything in my business just to run Vista.

Anonymous said...

"...Vista, the 'next generation' operating system devised by the time-clock-punchers in Redmond...has produced precisely the opposite its intended effect: rather than accelerate as the XP Monopoly upgrades to the Vista Monopoly, worldwide PC unit growth has actually stalled out."

Jeff: I don't mean to be a "homer" for Microsoft but what exactly does "stalled PC unit growth" have to with operating system upgrades?

When I read a transcript of Microsoft's latest conference call, they had a pretty good quarter driven in part by OEM sales of Vista Home Premium. Specifically, MSFT had OEM license unit growth of 20% and revenue growth YoY for the quarter was 67%.

To readers, I am not making that up: You can see the results for yourself by clicking here.

Maybe the strong Vista sales shows Mr. Softee has some earnings growth left "in the tank", but then I could be wrong!