Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Wednesday 18/10/2006 Now look here. It's all very well accusing some of us online hacks of deliberately stirring up controversy in areas we know to be sensitive.

Wednesday 18/10/2006

Now look here. It's all very well accusing some of us online hacks of deliberately stirring up controversy in areas we know to be sensitive. And when certain big beasts of the American persuasion go on record as saying that they know exactly how to milk the Macintosh fanbase for thousands of hits, and do so cynically and repeatedly, a certain scepticism is not only allowable, but required.

But when we do some straight reporting of a straightforward story from those doyens of respectability, Gartner, and it just happens to say things about the Mac, it's a bit rich to blame the journalist for indulging in some wicked agenda.

But you wouldn't let it lie, would you? The talkbacks are still thundering in, in terms ranging from rank ridicule to fearsome anger. You'd have thought we'd have advocated the outlawing of football, with the teams, leagues and grounds to be devoted to compulsory Morris dancing (an idea of no little merit, as it happens). All we did was tell you what Gartner said, that one of the world's most profitable hardware companies should hand the keys to the kingdom over to an also-ran.

To be honest, we can't quite work out what Gartner's on about either. It seems to be advice along the lines of: "If you can't beat them — and you can't — you might as well join them", advice which sits oddly in the in-tray of a company that said "Think Different" and meant it. What next — ditch the iPod and move over to Dell's DJ range of MP3 players?

Thing is, even if the Gartner report was meant to be an attention-grabbing bit of controversy more than a sober, clear-minded attempt to demonstrate a superior strategy, you lot were just playing into their hands. They knew, as we know, as you know, that anything Mac not conforming to Stalinist levels of agreement with the omniscient, omnipotent Steve, will hit the headlines — and bring in the baying mob.

Don't bay. Don't mob. Show us that attention-whoring Mac copy has run its course, by not piling in with adjectives clattering off the keyboard. A few absolute flops of stories, and sanity will return.

But while you're sitting on your hands, consider what the real Apple story of the year might be. The options backdating scandal has yet to be resolved at Apple — that it happened, is not in doubt. Other companies in the same position have had to restate their results for the past few years — which shouldn't affect Apple. After all, $10bn in the bank is $10bn in the bank. But the other companies have also had to ditch their chief executives, many of whom proclaim their innocence just as strongly as Jobs.

He is by no means guaranteed to survive, no matter what Apple says.

If he goes, what then? Has anyone got any idea? Fanboys, feel free to pitch in.

 

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