Saturday, July 03, 2004

Apple Plummets

I am amazed, but not surprised, by the news from Apple Computing which said on Thursday that it will run out of current inventory of its iMac machines before a new model debuts this autumn. It is a major marketing mistake that sent its stock sinking because the company will miss the crucial back-to-school selling season.

The Cupertino, California based computer maker has stopped taking orders for iMacs at its online store, and posted a message on the site that read, “We planned to have our next generation iMac ready by the time the inventory of current iMacs runs out in the next few weeks, but our planning was obviously less than perfect.”

“We apologize for any inconvenience to our customers,” the message concluded.

Apple also acknowledged that the new version of the iMac -- which currently looks like a lamp stand with a flat-panel display instead of a shade -- won't be available for sale until September. The blunder leaves Apple a window of perhaps months without supplies of one of its best-selling products, and means the company will miss out on much of the lucrative back-to-school computer buying season of late summer and early autumn. Schools, universities, and their students are among Apple's most important and loyal markets.

The delay took an immediate toll on the company's stock price. By mid-day Friday, Apple shares had fallen by 4 percent to $30.89 from Thursday's close of $32.30.

Personally, I was disappointed in Jobs' video show at this year's conference. Far too happy-clappy from the audience on what are very expensive monitors. I was an Apple fan for more than 12 years, starting with the Apple IIe and stopping with the Apple Macintosh IIx. It might have been different had I livewd in the US. But Apple Benelux has always been overpriced, over confident and less than helpful if you're operating your Mac in a language other than Dutch. It is a shame but the Apple Evangelist feeling of the old developers fairs in Europe has long since disappeared. In short, on the occasions I have recommended Apple to clients, I have been severely let down by the poor and expensive dealer never again.

Apple should have outsourced its hardware years ago, or at least made sure that others were making similar boxes (remember Franklin?) May be this new little "bump in the road" will make them think again.
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