What does Final Cut Pro X teach enterprise vendors?

What does Final Cut Pro X teach enterprise vendors?

Summary: Last week, the eagerly awaited Final Cut Pro X was released to very little fanfare but an awful lot of heated debate.David Pogue's initial enthusiastic review of the product in the NYT was the subject of much ire from professional videographers.

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Last week, the eagerly awaited Final Cut Pro X was released to very little fanfare but an awful lot of heated debate.

David Pogue's initial enthusiastic review of the product in the NYT was the subject of much ire from professional videographers. I have to say from the get go I feel a tad sorry for Pogue. He's a glass half full guy when it comes to Apple products as one of Steve Jobs favored sons who seems to get the latest and greatest from Apple ahead of others. But on this one he walked into a veritable crapstorm. In his follow up piece, Pogue starts:

In 10 years of writing Times columns, I’ve never encountered anything quite like this.

In Thursday’s paper, I reviewed Apple’s Final Cut Pro X, a professional video-editing program. It’s not an update of the existing Final Cut, which is by far the most popular such program; it’s completely new and radically redesigned. It looks different, its strengths are different — and after one day of using it, many professional video editors are running through the streets with pitchforks.

Pogue was clearly stunned but bravely attempted to address the major issues outlined by respondents. Richard Harrington then crafted a long and detailed response to the responses Pogue published, adding more gasoline to the raging fire. Finally, Devid Chen weighed in with the question: Final Cut Pro X: Did Apple Just Walk Away From the Professional Video Editing Market?

In essence, professional videographers are saying that FCP-X is really iMovie Pro and that Apple has abandoned the professional market in favor of a much lower priced but crippled product that will be readily affordable by the prosumer.

I've been using FCP-X for some projects and these are a few thoughts from me as a prosumer. It is OK for what it does. The output is reasonable and yes there's a lot more control than with iMovie but...you really have to add in Compressor to get the output format choices needed in today's confusing video world. That's $49 extra on top of the $299 Apple wants for FCP-X. If you're into fancy titling etc then you also need Motion - another $49. So the real price for anyone who wants to step up from iMovie as a prosumer is $399. Still way better than the previous $1,000 pricing but it is offset by being way below the functional completeness of the previous version.

Plus, it sprays gigabytes of files onto your hard disk. A 22 minute movie composited from two video files chewed 38GB by the time the job was finished. On the plus side, it is far easier to understand than previous versions and should therefore appeal to the market that Pogue was trying to address. Which brings us back to the professionals in the house who genuinely believe Apple has dropped the ball big time on this one. But - there is another way to look at this which provides lessons for many in the enterprise apps space.

For some time now, colleagues have been debating the merits of next generation apps behaving like consumer apps. However, once you get below the surface of the buzzword compliant conversations there is precious little understanding of what this really means beyond what seems to me a slapping of a social layer onto the enterprise pig's face.

I don't for example have a clue what people mean when they talk about next gen apps being more like Facebook. Do they mean the UI, the UX? Do they mean the simplicity of use? Do they mean the addictive nature of Farmville etc? What about functionality?

Those conversations seem to murkily stir what we are seeing in the social apps space with a general panning of enterprise apps as being clunky, difficult and unappealing. There is a seemingly weird set of ideas that somehow subsume the OLTP based systems we all need - like accounting and billing - as relics of the past that somehow magically do whatever they do while we all mess about on Twitter in our socially engaged world - allegedly. That's simply not happening. Period. Even the enthusiastic handwaving from the usual E2.0 conference suspects cannot hide the fact that much of what we are hearing in the social space we've heard repeated for at least the last three years. In other words, precious little real progress.

However, the one example I have seen which makes sense to me - SAP Sales OnDemand - barely warrants a mention. Comparisons to FCP-X are worthwhile. While some think SAP SOD is a waste of time, those that have test driven it see it as a genuine step forward. It is an example of how apps might progress and become both useful and enjoyable while including relevant social elements. Most important, it was a ground up build. The same as FCP-X. SAP SOD doesn't contain everything that an on-demand CRM app might - the same as FCP-X doesn't for professionals. But it is likely to get into a LOT of hands, just as I expect FCP-X will.

There the comparisons have to end because while Apple is making FCP-X only available as an iTunes/AppStore download, SAP has yet to figure out whether it will take the AppStore approach to selling these new classes of application. Yet that is exactly what enterprise apps vendors should be doing as part of their general regeneration and rethinking of enterprise apps as more functionality moves into the internet cloud.

Some will argue that we already have that with Intuit's Marketplace and Salesforce's AppExchange but those are barely scratching the surface of what is possible. Still others will argue that Apple's approach to selling FCP-X is retrograde, maintaining a form of lock-in to iTunes. Does anyone honestly believe that enterprise vendors who talk 'open' actually mean it? Of course they don't.

It's not all one sided. There are some lessons that enterprise can teach our consumery colleagues. Chen notes that:

More damningly, Apple is no longer selling Final Cut Pro 7 and has not announced any plans to continue supporting it. This means that millions of people who have spent years building their livelihoods around learning and using Final Cut Pro can no longer have confidence that they will be able to depend on this software for the foreseeable future.

Does that sound familiar? Think Oracle, Itanium and HP.

Regardless of the pros and cons of FCP-X, Apple has been brave in attempting to bridge the gap between consumers and professionals. It will be patched up later to get closer to professional needs. That's already happening with updates coming from Apple. But will enterprise apps vendors be brave enough to take that same kind of step?

They could look at the SME market for inspiration. The last couple of weeks I've spent time interviewing customers who consistently tell me they like accounting the SaaS way. Can you believe that? And why? The complexity that bedevils apps is hidden while their need to have good, reliable information they can understand is being met. From all I can tell, the incumbents are being creamed in the SME space by these new contenders. If they can do it then why not the big boys? Has their chance passed them by?

Topics: Apple, Apps, Salesforce.com

Dennis Howlett

About Dennis Howlett

Dennis Howlett is a 40 year veteran in enterprise IT, working with companies large and small across many industries. He endeavors to inform buyers in a no-nonsense manner and spares no vendor that comes under his microscope.

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32 comments
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  • RE: What does Final Cut Pro X teach enterprise vendors?

    Installed, tested and quickly uninstalled.

    Apple should just remove the "Pro" insinuation from the product. Maybe call it "Final Cut Kiddie" or Final Cut for Idiots".
    frizzllefry
    • RE: What does Final Cut Pro X teach enterprise vendors?

      @frizzllefry Definitely don't call it Final Cut For Whiny Girls. Give it up, Sally.
      seriously3456
  • Hell hath no fury

    While an interesting semiotic experiment, pro vs prosumer, we shoot and edit commercials, music videos, tv and features. This makes us pros. And as such have technical requirements, and industry standards we must adhere to. FCPX is great for editing those clips from your iphone, but is useless for us. As early adaptors of FCP and a mac house, we enthusiastically downloaded FCPX, realized it was a bike with training wheels, sold as a triathalon speed machine. With equal enthusiasm we jettisoned this ridiculous tool. What does this mean, it means we'll migrate back to Avid (who really understands the creative process, supports us, innovates, but hasn't a clue about pricing). We have now have less reason to buy macs, and no reason to use FCP, if Apple has no loyalty towards us, then we have none towards them. Hell hath no fury as a filmmaker scorned.
    piranhapix
    • If you're going to use consumer-grade apps

      @piranhapix

      There are far better Windows programs, and at a cheaper price.

      Hell, the consumer apps for Windows are better than iMovie, and have features that FCPX lack, but at a cheaper price. The pro apps on Windows keep ADDING features too. You'll be hard pressed to find one where an upgrade eliminates features.
      Joe_Raby
      • RE: What does Final Cut Pro X teach enterprise vendors?

        @Joe_Raby
        Hate to break it to you but no one in professional video editing uses windows... the field is dominated by Apple..
        Hasam1991
      • RE: What does Final Cut Pro X teach enterprise vendors?

        @Joe_Raby
        Perhaps an unforseen gift to MS?
        rhonin
      • RE: What does Final Cut Pro X teach enterprise vendors?

        @Hasam1991

        Well we produce video for tv and web and we wouldn't touch Apple with a barge pole - no, not everyone uses Apple, just those who believe in the emperor's new clothes. The rest of us can choose from a number of video production suites that easily duplicate FCP's functions as well as a lot more.
        tonymcs@...
      • "...the field is dominated by Apple..."

        @Hasam1991<br><br>I think that was the point the author was trying to make...<br><br>Apple took their "We'll tell <i>you</i> what you want to use, and how you want to use it" philosophy to a professional arena, and already it seems as if the pros don't like it.<br><br>Yes, that field may have been dominated by Apple, but with moves like this, I can't see them holding that market.<br><br>It's very interesting the moves that Apple seems to be making: They were the company that was differentiated from the rest, yet because of the popularity with their mp3 player and phone, they feel they can dumb all of their products down and rely on marketing to continue the growth they've enjoyed? I'm doubtful.<br><br>They're now selling a desktop o/s as a server o/s; they've eliminated their server hardware, claiming a desktop (Mac Mini) can be utilized as a server; they've dumbed their software down to be supported by iOS (everything has to be an app now); now this?... next, will they dumb OS X down to iOS?<br><br>As much grief as HP and Dell get for 'racing to the bottom', it looks like Apple very much wants to do the same, and focus on the quantity of smaller priced units rather than quality.<br><br>I thought it was quality that was supposed to differentiate them from the competitor? Hmm... maybe it was always just marketing.
        UrNotPayingAttention
      • RE: What does Final Cut Pro X teach enterprise vendors?

        @Hasam1991 Hate to break it to you but Windows based systems have been capable of being used as a good editing system for over a decade now.
        non-biased
  • Apple moving away from business?

    Hmm...let's see:

    1. Rebranding themselves as a consumer electronics company
    2. Adding the iPad home screen to OS X, thereby preparing OS X users for the day when the next Mac OS X "upgrade" is really just iOS
    3. Eliminating their server systems
    4. Using desktop-class hard drives in their NAS devices

    Apple moving away from business? Naaaah!
    Joe_Raby
  • RE: What does Final Cut Pro X teach enterprise vendors?

    Change is never easy. As a video producer I know that I don't like changes to the familiar timeline way of doing things. Final Cut X treats footage more like objects which is actually pretty cool, but you definitely need to think differently about it. It's a fast paced business and changing something this drastically can seem catastrophic. I have Final Cut X Apple Certified training booked for later this year so we shall see.
    CowLauncher
    • RE: What does Final Cut Pro X teach enterprise vendors?

      @CowLauncher - I get all of that but then Adobe Premiere doesn't chew up my hard drive....
      dahowlett
  • Huge Transition

    This transition is much bigger than people realize. Final Cut goes all the way back to OS 9 which is why it had to be rebuilt from scratch. FCP had to have a radical overhaul or it would not be around in ten years. But Apple handled the transition horribly by raising the expectations and not mentioning the "gotchas" back at NAB in Vegas a couple months ago

    Remember when OS X came out? It was slow, cranky and very limited compared to OS 9, but it opened up the future for Mac, the iPhone, iPad, and the app store. People understood that and were willing to be patient because Apple supported OS 9 for a couple years after OS X was introduced. I could still boot my new Mac in OS 9 or open an OS 9 window within OS X.

    The difference here is that Apple acted like FCP X was ready to rock in the Pro video field and it is clearly going to take some time to fix the issues.

    Apple should have labeled FCP X as "Express" or perhaps let everyone play with it as a beta version for the next six months while they added back some of the missing features.

    My gut tells me we'll see an open letter from Apple soon and they will provide some kind of compensation or trial period for new FCP X users. I doubt very seriously Apple is going to give up the FCP market without a huge investment of money and manpower.
    Synthmeister
    • RE: What does Final Cut Pro X teach enterprise vendors?

      @Synthmeister <br><br>I agree. We all need to wait and see and stop getting ahead of ourselves. Every piece of software that Apple has overhauled in the past 10 years has always been met with harsh criticism. I have known several people who continue to hold on to 'dated' software simply because at the time they felt Apple had screwed them over. Hell, there are Mac users out there that still haven't upgraded to Snow Leopard simply because they cannot load OS9 Classic mode, even though there are equivalent, and often far superior version of those apps available for the modern OS. And don't get me started on Windows users...<br>As for all those bed-wetters out there who are now declaring that they are "jumping ship" (possibly some Trollers amongst them), here is a thought, " Why not hold on to what you have been using and has been working for you? ". Seriously, you all sound pathetic! <br>True, I thought when Apple updated iMovie, much like the rest of us, they made a HUGE mistake. However, after I "FULLY" understood and leaned the new version (essentially used it for more than a quick review), I felt pretty silly for doubting Apple. Have you all not leaned yourselves? <br>IF, in a few months time, and FCPX still doesn't satisfy your "needs", THEN, you may blather about your discontent! Just try and remember Apple's track record and not to jump to early conclusions.
      Bansaku
  • RE: What does Final Cut Pro X teach enterprise vendors?

    I'm not a film guy but from a music perspective (Logic Pro/Pro Tools etc..) I can see why the film guys are pissed off. A "Pro" makes money off his skills, its their livelyhood. A prosumer is serious but doesnt have the same pressure. A prosumer has time for workarounds, new ways of working etc.. A "Pro" is competing with others to survive and has to deliver a service without fail.

    To minimize risk to their business a pro will deliberately use older, more familiar tool sets, less likely to upgrade on a whim and is more likely to follow industry conventions even if they're not great, just to keep their business going smoothly.

    It took years for them to trust Final Cut over Avid, not because Final Cut could never do the job, but because there is a trust you have to build to get into the "toolbox" of any professional.

    Apple know the power of pro's to perception of Apple as a serious creative tool and went about making sure that they had the premier creative tools available for Mac. They bought in / produced Final Cut/Logic etc.. because they know its the ultimate in advertising. To associate Apple products with professional creative work has been the main thing that kept Apple alive in the pre-iphone days.

    To disregard that relationship when it doesnt suit them is the reason behind the venom from the film guys. It might be a small bit of money in terms of revenue from the pro's but in terms of advertising for Apple its priceless. You cant buy that kind of endorsement. If MS had the level of creative endorsement that Apple had the Mac would be finished.

    As a Logic pro user I know how important things like midi syncing to an MPC would be for a pro. Or no low latency monitoring would be for someone who's recording bands. I'd be like, why didnt you ask a pro how they use the damn thing instead of making your own mind up?

    To remove Final Cut Pro 7 and only offer this new thing that doesnt do what the pro's want is just plain ridiculous and pretentious on Apple's part. As I said earlier, these guys eat of this stuff, its not some kid in his dorm room making skateboard movies, this is the real deal.

    Furthermore, from what I'm reading, there is nothing feature wise that the pro's can see in X that warrants a radical overhaul to their way of working. What film could they do with X that they could not do with 7? If thats the case then why dismantle their workflow for what seems like very little gain.

    Jobs has to come in and sort this out. Its bad PR. Pure and simple. Pro's in all disciplines are what gives Apple its mystique and allure. You cant disrespect them in this way.
    ofoedu@...
    • This guy gets it.

      The hobbyist is in it for the challenge, fun and adventure, whereas the pro is in to to get work done. The hobbyist has time to kill. The pro does not. The difference from the vendor perspective is that hobbyists are willing to upgrade at a whim and even to start over with each upgrade, whereas the pro doesn't have time for the pain and expense unless there is a serious gain in functionality or efficiency that will have a foreseeable return in time and investment.

      This is one reason I so rarely upgrade things. The learning curve is usually too steep to justify the marginal returns.
      JohnMcGrew@...
  • False analogy

    Equating the lack of backwards compatability with Oracle is a false analogy. Oracle has simply decided to invest its dollars in something other than Itanium.

    Apple, However, is more like Sarah Palin, quiting halfway through her term to pursue the next big thing.
    Your Non Advocate
  • This lesson isn't finished yet.

    It will be interesting to see what the discussion regarding Final Cut Pro X is like in a year.
    matthew_maurice
    • RE: What does Final Cut Pro X teach enterprise vendors?

      @matthew_maurice - correct
      dahowlett
  • RE: What does Final Cut Pro X teach enterprise vendors?

    @Hasam1991
    "Hate to break it to you but no one in professional video editing uses windows... the field is dominated by Apple.."

    Actually there a ton of Avid's running on Windows out there. For a while they were MUCH more stable than the Mac versions. Now they're about the same.
    cdub24