Some Delicious Ideas!
Thursday, February 6, 1997 by Dave Winer.
I so much want to move on from the Apple story, but it just won't let me!
I got a call yesterday from an old friend who used to work for Apple, then worked for me at Living Videotext, then went on to work at Next, and now works at Netscape. I promised I wouldn't name him. He has an excellent sense of humor, and probably won't mind that about a dozen people can figure out who he (or she) is.
Anyway. This person's perspective is very valuble and interesting.
I had missed something... The two top development people in the new Apple orgchart are both former Next people. Avie Tevanian did the software and Jon Rubenstein did the hardware. My friend asks if I think Jobs will have some influence over Apple's future product direction. Hah! Well, yes.
Also notice that Ellen Hancock was moved aside in the reorg. It sure looks like there was a deal between Amelio and Jobs. It looks like Jobs got control of the products.
Another friend, Chuck Shotton, sent me email yesterday: "Apple's stock price is down to $15.25. That makes the Market Cap only $1.9B. Within $100M of its cash. I wonder what would happen if Apple bought *itself*?"
Technically, they can't do it without some outside help.
But lots of other people can...
The Mac OS, according to the stock market, has zero value.
But that conflicts with our view of the world.
Another way of looking at it -- Steve Jobs could buy the rest of the company for $100 million. He has the money. If he doesn't want to spend his own money, he could probably raise it from other companies, rich individuals or investment bankers. He doesn't have to sell them on *any* value for the Mac. It's free!
The chairs and desks, the semi-liquid assets of Apple, probably add up to more than the difference. Think of the value of the six-color logo. The movie rights to The Apple Story with Steve and Steve agreeing to stay on as consultants. Ooooh. Sexy!
But Steve should watch his rear-end. Anyone else with a few hundred million could buy Apple too. I wonder if Jean-Louis Gassee has thought of this? John Doerr? Larry Ellison? Lou Gerstner? Disney? Jim Manzi? Andy Grove? Ray Noorda? Stewart Alsop! Pat McGovern. Mr. Son. Eric Schmidt. Bill Gates!
Assume that there's no immediate buyout or takeover.
Amelio continues to run the show with Jobs running the product, and presumably moving the newly structured company in the direction of Rhapsody, as currently planned.
They could spin out the Mac OS into an independent company, or give the source code to a standards body, as Microsoft has done with ActiveX. Either way, a new entity could sponsor ports of the API to other hardware, fix bugs, improve performance.
This could be a major opportunity to restructure the software industry.
What do you think?
OK. Back to my webwork!
PS: Do you like puppies? Check out the Scripting News page. I got a couple of sassy ones there.
PPS: The commemorative site is coming out great!