MAC Attached

Bad Apple?

The possibility of dumping the Mac has probably crossed the mind of every Apple user by now, if only for a microsecond. It's hardly surprising, considering the warp-speed evolution of today's computer technology and the market's ominous sales pitch of "Don't get left behind!"

There's no question Apple began to stumble quite badly three years ago: Once-enviable earnings turned into heavy losses, managers left in droves, CEOs came and went, the Mac's market share tumbled, Apple's cloning strategy backfired--and all the while, the PC's grip on computing grew stronger and stronger. As has happened repeatedly during the short history of digital computing, a slight tilt in the marketplace sparked a vicious circle: As the PC attained much of the graphical windowing technology that made the Mac so successful, software makers turned away from Apple's computer. In turn, fewer Macs were sold, which meant even less interest from software makers in the hardware, and so on.

Luckily for Apple, millions of Mac users would still sooner die than even think of switching to PCs and the application they derisively call "Windoze." Right from the launch of the Mac in 1983, Apple cultivated an elite, advanced-technology image for its computers and, partly as a result, its customers have shown an astounding level of brand loyalty. What's more, many Mac fans' recent concerns over Microsoft's enormous market power and possible antitrust violations have only increased their affinity for the Apple machine.

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