Apple’s Nihilism

“It’s existential marketing with maybe even a touch of nihilism.”

— Venture capitalist Roger McNamee on Apple’s new iPod slogan, “Life Is Random”


  1. No high-minded philosophy…just Apple’s obfuscated way of saying “this player does not hold many songs”.

  2. In response to your article in the National Post, specifically:
    “Where, in other words, is the BMW strategy? It is as if BMW suddenly tried to undercut Honda’s Accord or Toyota’s Camry. While there’s no denying there is a large market for value-priced cars, by competing directly against those products BMW would be putting its margins at risk. More importantly, it would be ample reason for investors to wonder whether BMW executives had lost their minds. Why would they suddenly abandon what they did best — engineering interesting products — and start trying to sell family econo-boxes?”
    There are a lot of problems with the article, but, Apple is aping BMW’s plot to do exactly this. Look at the 1-series BMW is about to offer. It is an econo-box with BMW flair (rear wheel drive, manual, styling), for a little more than the competition. In other words, a downmarket move while retaining the things that make a BMW a BMW. Apple is doing the same thing with the mini. It is a little pricier than the average cheap PC, it has the design and operating system of a Mac, but it is still a downmarket move.
    You also misuse the term “self-refuting.” The Mac Mini is not self-refuting, nor does it “refute” Apple’s strategy. It is a new direction now that the brand, OS, and so on are locked down. You may dislike “postmodern capitalism” (Or whatever the right words are. I do too), but Apple is playing by the rules within that system, and doing a better-than-average job of it. “Self-refuting” can’t be tortured to fit here, but the closest thing would be a Mac Mini that ran Windows and was sold through Dell. Besides, Apple prices their products where the market will bear, and their costs were kind of out of control. They put a 680 watt power supply in every G5 PowerMac, while commodity desktop PCs, even at the high end, rarely get to 350 watts. Things like that aren’t reported, or noticed, but, when every part of the machine is overbuilt to that extent, it necessitates “premium pricing.”
    Compared to the on-their-face cynical moves by the rest of the related industries, Apple is (relatively) laudable. A good PC recycling program, total-takeover of the front page for tsunami relief for four or so days, etc. These moves can be seen as “increasing the Apple shine” in a cynical way, but, Bill Gates’ charity program, and a lot of the rest of the corporate world’s “philanthropy”, are the same (and almost must be, at this point.)
    You should do some more research, and calm down some, before you write a glorified messageboard flame and print it in the damn Post.

  3. Dean Tollefsrud says:

    Abe, you took the words right out of my mouth. Paul Kedrosky, you are way off base. Use a Mac for a month or two before you spout off.