Steve Jobs made two big announcements yesterday at Macworld Expo, Apple’s annual technology tradeshow. The first was about a new notebook called the MacBook Air. The new MacBook was delivered to the stage in an interoffice-size envelope demonstrating its amazingly thin profile. Great theater.
The other big announcement was an iTunes movie distribution service, which will turn out to be a mistake if you ask me.
Apple is a technology company. An electronics and design company. Getting into media and media distribution dilutes the company’s core competency. I know, I know — Apple is making some nice coin with iTunes, but it is truly reducing the focus of the management team. Each year Apple spends more and more money managing lawyers and biz-dev people – money that would be better served going into product development.
Will the cult that is Apple start to see some cracks? A quote from the New York Times today on the new movie service reads “But the risk for Apple is that consumers may not like the limits placed on their movie viewing,” a point referring to the amount of time in which renters must view the movie before it times out. Apple has always been about expanding capability, not creating limits. Steve Jobs knows this. That’s why the iPhone was such a success. Creating limits for consumers is where the cracks begin. Nice computer. Movie business? Not so much.