Apple’s profit, the hardware plateau and Microsoft’s sluggish products

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh, Microsoft
October 14th, 2004 • 12:58 am

Apple’s financial figures for the last quarter are quite impressive. With the delay in the launch of the new iMac G5, there were concerns that Apple might have suffered. But iPod sales more than made up for it. 2 million iPods sold? Wow. 5 times as many as a year earlier during the same period? Wow. Shares selling at over $40? Wow.

Finally, Apple has started to reap huge financial benefits from its flagship music player. And if such sales are sustained over an extended period of time — with the holiday season approaching, there’s a good chance that the next quarterly results will be even more impressive — there might even be a real “halo effect” on Mac sales. I don’t think there has been much of an impact so far, but surely with that that many iPods out there, and with the on-going security problems with Windows PCs, more people are going to wake up and start smelling the coffee.

This is all good news for Apple and for Mac users, of course. The only concern is with pro-level machines. There is still mention of supply constraints for the top of the line G5 towers, months after their launch. The G5 processor was expected to take off much faster. We’re are still stuck at 2.5 GHz (x 2), which is nothing to sneeze at, of course, and at this point Intel processors are not exactly shooting through the roof in terms of raw CPU speed either, but it’s still a concern that we have reached some kind of hardware plateau.

Why is it a concern? Because major software players such as Microsoft are still putting out new versions of their software that are consistently slower than their predecessors. Office 2004 is a slug. I am fortunate enough to have a fairly fast machine (1.25 GHz x 2), but I feel for those with less powerful machines. It must be horrible. There were already performance issues with Office X, and in particular with Word X, which I have documented extensively in this blog. Things are not improved in Word 2004, far from it. It’s very discouraging, and of course Microsoft’s updates, released at a snail’s pace, are not addressing any of the issues that are really irritating for Mac users.

This means that our only hope as Mac users is that the performance of our hardware continues to increase faster than the rate at which Microsoft’s software slows down. At this point, it’s not really happening — and that’s a source of concern.

2 Responses to “Apple’s profit, the hardware plateau and Microsoft’s sluggish products”

  1. Edmund says:

    I’ve seen this in a few places, but a 500% increase in sales is 6 times as many, not 5 times.

  2. Pierre Igot says:

    Ooops. Thanks for the correction :).

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