APPLE AND THE OAK TREE

APPLE AND THE OAK TREE

By | August 3rd, 2017
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On October 5, 1999, Steve Jobs introduced the iMac DV and a new application

called iMovie, declaring: We think this is going to be the next big thing.

Desktop video…which we think is going to be as big as desktop publishing

was.


														
							

The problem is that “the next big thing” had already arrived: four months earlier Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker had released an app called Napster; I can personally attest that, by the time Jobs introduced the iMac, the music-sharing app had swept over university networks in particular.

Jobs told Fortune that it took until the following year to realize his error:

“I felt like a dope,” says Jobs, thinking back to summer 2000, when his fixation on perfecting video editing on the Mac distracted him from noticing that millions of kids were using computers and CD burners to make audio CDs and to download digital songs called MP3s from illegal online services like Napster. Yes, even Jobs, the technological visionary of his generation, occasionally gets caught looking in the wrong direction. “I thought we had missed it. We had to work hard to catch up.”

What followed was one of the great pivots in tech history. Less than a year later, in January 2001, Jobs was again on stage, now declaring that the future of the PC was to be a digital hub that made digital devices 10x more valuable than they could ever be on their own, and that Apple’s focus was no longer video but audio. After all, “there is a music revolution happening.”

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Nisheeth Bhakuni