James C. Banks

Apple: A Recollection

In Uncategorized on August 25, 2011 at 3:48 pm

Steve Jobs must have gotten something right for the Mustache of Understanding to recognize–in its worst pun yet recorded–that America needed “more (Steve) Jobs”.  I have never been a prolific user of Apple products; throughout my college days, they were like the Whole Foods of the technology industry: expensive, but only necessary for the chosen few.

I came to know them as the company that did things slightly differently, and always in their own way.  Even their retail stipulations seemed odd.  Their policy of charging retail stores the full shelf-price for a laptop and then paying the store a commission once a sale was made always a bane for me in my brief time as a technology salesman–and an employee at the only Mac store in the panhandle.  (That was back in the quaint days before the I-Pad even existed.)

At times, I wondered if Apple was on to something that all of the other software manufacturers–Dell, Toshiba, Samsung–had missed entirely, or whether they were simply attempting to be unique.  Given recent developments, with Apple briefly passing up Exxon Mobile as America’s most valuable company, I suspect that the former was the case.

Whether the company will be able to maintain its distinction as the world’s most valuable technology company–especially as it is beginning to face competition from companies like Google, with whom no one ever expected it to compete–is as uncertain as its meteoric rise.

But this is perhaps part of the company’s legacy: it was one of a thousand demonstrations that, however small a company begins, or however large it ends up, no single entity is a match for the mutability of the marketplace.  Consumer choice and financial investment are still sovereign and it is only by allying with these two entities that a company will succeed.  The concept that a company could somehow “create its own demand” is as much a reality as the Loch Ness Monster.

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