RE: Quilt (sucessor to Bento) & Apple, the NeXT Order

Joe Kiniry (
Sun, 30 Mar 1997 13:01:31 -0800

Adam Rifkin wrote:

> Joe Kiniry wrote...
> > i'm in agreement with eldee here, cutting opendoc was a really bad
> > move on apple's part. the staffing and cost of the team was
> > _extremely_ minimal in the big picture.
> Perhaps they had to destroy the village in order to save it.
> How many years has OpenDoc been promising the world to us?

the issue here isn't how long it has been promised by the marketers or
the visionaries, it has more to do with company's focus on short-term
profit. any new technology has the producer/consumer catch-22, thus
most new technologies get insufficient funding coupled with overly
sufficient marketing and, as a result, the technologies still looks
like vaporware to the masses when in fact it is a shipping product.

> How many more years before they were COMPLETELY embarrassed?

i'd say apple has more reason to be proud than embarrassed. if anyone
should be embarrassed it should be the other opendoc supporters that
pulled the plug on development before it ever really began. or,
perhaps, other component vendors who ship and utilize products that
are deceptively competitively marketed by not only the guys in suits,
but by the guys at the console (who happen to be wearing suits too).

> You have to ask yourself, how important is OpenDoc to Apple's
> future? Put yourself in their shoes. You're spread out way too
> tight, and the sharks are circling. You have to cut yourself lean to
> have a chance of survival. Is OpenDoc really worth staking your
> survival on? More importantly, is OpenDoc AS IT EXISTS IN 1997 worth
> risking your life on? I think not.

ok, let's look at it this way. after apple's layoffs they have now
trimmed down to, what, 6,000 staff? HOW MUCH OF AN IMPACT IS TWELVE
DEVELOPERS GOING TO MAKE? to me, that's like saying i want to loose
weight, so i'll eat right, go to the gym, see my doctor and loose 20
lbs and, while i'm at it, cut off my dick to save that extra few

> > in fact, i've been arguing for over a year now that apple's
> > internal support for the project was far too minimal and thus the
> > cut was something of a surprise to me (given the low $ of the
> > project).
> It is true that Apple's lack of support for OpenDoc for the last few
> years may have been its premature death knell, but there's really no
> way to turn around the past. And OpenDoc, on the path it was headed,
> was not a viable technology. The raptors would have eaten it alive.

apple's and the industries lack of realistic support goes back much
longer than the last few years. i mean, the opendoc effort was only
started in 93 and i think that it has got pretty far in the past few
years considering the real resources put to the problem.

just think what could have done if the same resources would have been
applied to opendoc that microsoft applied to activex. hell, i'd be
happy to get as many developer-months of work as went into the fuckin
drawing tools in word 97!

all of this and not even a mention of how much the technology has
indirectly helped out complementary and competing technologies (say,
corba and activex).

> > i mean, if apple had more than a few dozen developers and a whole
> > semi-division, that would be one thing, but to cut a handful of
> > extremely bright, passionate, and hard-working folks working on
> > technology that really might/will make a difference in the next
> > 3-5 years is just plain stupid.
> If it's not in line with the corporate vision, then supporting it would
> be just plain stupid. Apple is a company that needs to FOCUS. That's
> not just good business sense; it's good survival instinct, too. Apple
> cannot afford to be many things to many people. It must be a laser beam
> that hits a focused, important segment of the market if Apple wishes to
> survive. Gil knows this, Steve knows this, Avie knows this... and
> that's all there is to it.

ok, that said, what is apple's focus? where is that laser beam
aiming? anyone? as near as i can tell they have been coopted by
next, are busy integrating two disparate operating systems into a
coherent whole, and really expect to be competitive again in six to
twelve months (per gil's and avi's recent interviews).

what is their target audience? who are they selling to? what types
of applications do they want on this new platform?

i think as soon as you start trying to answer any of these questions
you'll realize that they are a _lot_ less focused that they need to
be; our possible _can_ be.

thus, the addition of a statement "we think component technology is
really going to be the paradigm shift of the industry over the next
3-5 years", (which is what they and everyone else is saying _anyway_,
the hypocrites), and the corresponding action is a drop in the
proverbial bucket that could do nothing but help apple in the medium
to long-term.

> OpenDoc might be compelling in and of itself, but it's no longer in
> line with Apple's current vision.

and what "vision" might that be? i'd argue that their current vision
is to save their asses more than anything else. if we look at what
the compelling technologies are coming from their competition we'll
note that, once they finally _get_ their fucking wonderful operating
system shipped and debugged all of their currently halfway compelling
tools will be of little or no value.

what do they think, microsoft is standing still?! "gee, we'll just
wait for you to get your ass in gear so we can be competitors again."