Mac Scope

Where Are the Doomsayers?

Stephen Van Esch - 2003.05.14

If the first week of sales at Apple's iTunes Music Store is any indication, Apple may have a monster hit on their hands - again.

Of course, not everything about the new music store is perfect. Digital Rights Management isn't nice no matter how your slice it. There are some interface problems with the store. There is a comparatively limited selection of music. And there's no Windows version (yet).

But where are the doomsayers? You know the type, the "experts" who have long predicted that Apple was on the verge, any day now, one step away from biting the dust. Surely they must have something to say about the iTunes Music Store? Surely this venture is doomed to failure because it's well, you know, Apple. And everyone knows that Apple makes great products that only appeal to a narrow slice of diehard fanatics who are willing to pay a premium for looks instead of performance. Everyone knows that right?

Funny thing. No one seems to be piping up and saying anything of the sort. If anything, tech writers are falling all over themselves to sing the praises of the iTunes Music Store.

There must be something going on here. When Apple introduces new hardware, there are usually a few writers willing to put it down. Where are they now?

I suspect that folks who like to beat up on Apple are willing to sing the praises of the music store because the store is about music, not computers. Similar to the iPod, Apple is not competing in the computer space where it has failed to disappear and is thus a continuous thorn in the side of folks who wish Apple "Computer" would just go away.

Maybe that's Apple's real problem. It's a company that has so far failed to fail, as many people predicted and are still predicting. It's continuing existence and profitability are a black eye for anyone who boldly stated that Apple was in a death spiral or beleaguered.

For doomsayers, the iPod and music store are the back exit they desperately need. How so? Here's the logic:

Apple Computer is doomed to failure (as I've been saying for the last ten years). The fact that they are using the iPod and music store to generate profits only proves that they cannot survive as a computer company. So they were right all along.

I'll admit that I'm going out on a limb with this one, but can't you just see this in the subconscious of people like John Dvorak?

But I'm cool with that. If that's what they need to get on the Apple bandwagon, so be it.

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Stephen Van Esch is the founder and president of the E-learning Foundry, an online training resource for Mac users. Steve loves the Mac and is doubly bilingual, since he's also fluent in Windows and French.

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