Dvorak Calls for Apple to Ditch iPhone

24 Comments

Mac followers can consider PC Magazine columnist John Dvorak a “contrarian indicator”. Often, the more frustrated and vitriolic Dvorak gets over a technology, the more likely it is to succeed. Dvorak is well-known for stirring up a hornet’s nest by slamming Apple and its users. That’s why it’s really no surprise that his latest rant calls for Apple to ditch the iPhone before it becomes what he expects will be a marketplace disaster.

His reasoning?

1. Apple will face strong competition.
2. The lifespan of a “cool” phone is too short.
3. Good margins don’t exist in the phone business.

Dvorak suggests Apple is incapable of updating the iPhone frequently enough to be hip, that it couldn’t take more than a 5% market share against Microsoft in the personal computer space, despite having better technology, and that high margins won’t exist in the phone business for much longer than your standard long-distance call.

Dvorak says that as Apple has a reputation for being a company that “can do no wrong”, they should get out of the phone business, before it’s too late.

Some of Dvorak’s more recent edicts for Apple have been to have Mac OS X open sourced, for Apple to switch to Windows, and speculation than an Apple and Sun merger was imminent. This suggestion will probably be taken as seriously by Apple as the others.

24 Comments

Howard Lewis Ship

Dvorak is dead wrong; Apple has managed to get 5% of the market (I don’t know if that’s even the right number) against overwhelming network effect of Windows. It’s an incredible uphill battle.

Lately, its not just the “creative” types who have a Mac; increasingly techies of all sorts (but definately the Ruby and Java developers I know) have almost universally switched to Mac. The Intel Macs really made a difference.

Meanwhile, Dvorak doesn’t understand the network effect that has limited Apple’s penetration into the PC market … or the inverse market effect of the phone market. An iPhone doesn’t have to choose between being cool and fully inter-operational with other phones. The standards that make up the phone market are far more contricting, but in this situation, that becomes a level playing field.

Personally, I think the iPhone is fun but not worth the money to me (I can be cool without needing a supporting gadget). However, for business people who gets lots of voice mail, it is worth it just for the visual voice mail organizer.

msbob

GREAT LIST OF TOOLS

Dvorak has changed his stance on the iPhone. He also uses an iMac at one of his jobs.

Mac Zealots should get over the fact that Dvorak was once a Mac hater. He has changed his opinion about Apple and Macs. He hates on windows and PCs constantly these days.

I used to get offended by Dvorak in the real Apple dark days (90s). Now he is just cranky, outlandish, funny, with reasonable insights now and then.

Yoddle

Anna, That is priceless. I am still laughing…

I switched from a PC to a MAC 2.5 years ago and work on PC’s all day. Apple is just better.

I had a Blackberry and now have an iPhone, not even close. Next time someone with a blackberry is talking down the iPhone ask them if they have fun with their Blackberry and then just watch their face..( that is something they never considered, utility and fun)

As the apps flow for the iPhone, the interest in the blackberry will fade, along with many other PDA and phones.

As for whats his name, I have never taken him seriously and whatever he is paid, it’s waaaaay to much.

Anna

Once Upon The Time, An Idiot Wrote:

“The Macintosh uses an experimental pointing device called a ‘mouse.’
There is no evidence that people want to use these things.”
— John C. Dvorak, SF Examiner, Feb. 1984.

shanee

Of course Dvorak is absolutely correct.
Why should a company with thirty years of computing experience in both hardware and software take on phones. Its totally obvious to me that the software content on a phone is completely different to the the software that you would want on a PC. And of course there is no experience to be gained from the ipod, ROKR and Newton in the development of this phone.
On top of that, you have to remember that people are not going to want to exchange thier cool blackberries etc. for the clunky and ugly looking iphone interface.
Come to think of it, Apple should just realise that they have been well beaten by microsoft and turf out their programmers, designers etc and close thier doors.

I dont think that I can be any more sarchastic than that. There are always going to be people that predict doom and downfall, and any company that ventures into a new area will receive hostility. If you watch Steve Jobs Keynote when Microsoft bought into Apple, many thought that it would be the end. When apple released the ipod, many were not too impressed with it. When apple released the translucent imac series, they were litterally laughed at (initially).

The simple truth is that some people really dont have the capacity to think differently and see something for what it can be. John Dvorak fits nicely into this classification.

milo

Everyone should just IGNORE dvorak and all of his web sites and ramblings. He is purely making these comments to garner hits on his web site. What would HURT him most is to simply ignore him as if he does not exist. Let him lose his sponsors and show that he cannot take us, the public, for a ride. Why give him a FRICKIN free ride. He is a ludite and lets spread the word around. EVERYONE STOP VISITING DVORAK’S WEBSITE AND IGNORE HIM AS IF HE DOES NOT EXIST.

vanni

Dvorak: PLUZZZEEE leave the dork out of any serious discussions to do with the Mac or anything Apple. Anyone who gives Dovark a link is not thinking right. He is a proven troll and he has become a joke. He cannot add anything even remotely intelligent to any discussions on computers or technology …period….

azzamallow

No one in this world can release a product that EVERYONE will agree with. It is just an opinion from a well known person (at least in IT). It was bound to happen that someone important woudl say such a thing. At least this way if the iPhone does fail he gets to say I told you so, but if it succeeds everyone will forget such comments were made.

What’s he got to lose by pissing Apple fanatics off? Nothing!

Tungsten

Dvorak’s critics here miss the point. Read Dvorak’s explanation of how and why the iPhone will fail and you will understand why Apple will likely succeed. Dvorak concisely summarizes a viewpoint common among most pundits and many industry figures who only see a commodity product in a mature market. Apple sees a hugely profitable slice of that market it can serve at a higher price point, maintaining the fat margins it prefers and leaving the cutthroat market share ego battles to the commoditizers.

Dvorak: “There is no likelihood that Apple can be successful in a business this competitive. Even in the business where it is a clear pioneer, the personal computer, it had to compete with Microsoft and can only sustain a 5% market share.
And its survival in the computer business relies on good margins. Those margins cannot exist in the mobile handset business for more than 15 minutes. ”

Dvorak sees Apple still languishing with a paltry market share in the PC world. I think Apple used a limited investment in shaped and colored plastics to create the iMac, a repackaged PC they could sell at a premium well outside the typical PC margins. Apple apparently prefers 5% of the PC market with fat margins to 25% at commodity margins. Dell and Intel — giants within the commoditized end of the market — find their competitive advantage duplicated by competitors and now struggle to find another angle to propel earnings.

This is the model for the iPhone. Beautiful packaging and an elegant combination of phone/photo/web/sms technologies which allows Apple to sell devices in the $400-$600 range aren’t meant to compete with market share giants Motorola or Nokia. They’re meant to carve out that most profitable, least price conscious 3-5% of the overall market which carries the fatest margins and allows Apple to do what it’s done so well for the past decade, from iMac, to iPod, to iTunes, while most of the rest of the market scratches their heads stuck seeing the world through Dvorak’s vision.

AA

Mr D. knows best? Let me search for how many products he has brought to market and how many has been successful… after an exhaustive search, I think the number is ZERO.

Lime

more attention seeking nonsense for advert hits, what a no nothing loser who actually pays this guy for these stupid statements he keeps spitting out

Mister Ken

“John Dvorak is the Ann Coulter of Mac coverage”
Thank you for the visual of John in a Marsha Bradey wig and knee high boots. ( I need to vomit now)

And remember, John is into numerology so everytime you use his name without the ‘C’ in the middle he gets a bit more upset.

fuggs

Actually its not the left that calls Coulter a Nazi, its the right that makes the assumption that the left does. Way of a difference!
The left simply calls Coulter a moron and idiot, which is undenyable

frgough

Dvorak is far below Ann Coulter. Coulter is vitriolic, but at least she makes accurate commentary. She pointed out that the left demands you go into rehab for calling someone a faggot, but showers you with praise if you call a Republican a nazi, and lo and behold: everyone on the left is calling her a nazi for using the word faggot. Brilliant insight.

Dvorak on the other hand just spews pap.

Erik

Why is everyone bagging on poor John? All he’s trying to do is honestly, sincerely provide his much-needed help to Apple! ;-)

Mark

I can’t help thinking of the Dvorak keyboard layout whenever I see “Dvorak.” So it’s hard for me to think of that word in a negative way. :P

On a serious note, I agree with the “don’t feed the troll” comment.

Chris Williams

The points Dvorak makes (te three above) are legit, but just as always he comes to a ridiculous conclusion. Just because the first one won’t be an off the wall hit isn’t a reason for Apple not to pursue it. If Apple can raise the stakes in the phone game, it will force others to rise to meet it, will advance the technology, and could increase margins in the business.

All though I think TJ is close with his characterization of Dvorak as Howard Stern. But given the fortunes of PC Magazine lately, he’s lost his soapbox. Have you picked up an issue lately? It’s almost a pamphlet. I remember back in the 90’s when it was as thick as a phone book.

I would suggest that Dvorak is more like Britney Spears — so far out of the limelight that he has to do the verbal equivalent of shaving his head…

Quix

If people would quit reading Dvorak, talking about Dvorak, quoting Dvorak, and linking to Dvorak’s nonsensical drivel, the old windbag would quietly fade away.

Don’t feed the troll.

TJ

Well, someone let Crazy DVOR out of the rubber room again. It’s best if you just ignore the man … just too damn bad anyone pays him for this drivel and gives him an internet soapbox to spew from. He’s good for a few laughs on occasion, but his routine is the same … the Howard Stern of Tech.

Comments are closed.