by Jason Whong
Andrew is out of town again. I'd use the old cliche that says "when the cat's away, the mice will play," except that right now one of the mice is writing the cat's article for the Ambrosia Times.
Some of you may not like this article because I'm going to sound very much like Don Crabb in it. I'm going to list a bunch of things I think Apple should be doing right now, even though there are probablythings going on behind the scenes over there that I don't know about. While Don knows much more about things than I do, he takes a lot of flak from his readers. Personally, I think we need more Don Crabbs, both inside and outside of Apple.
With that in mind, let's look at the list of things I think Apple should be doing:
I think the ISPs and Apple should be able to split the profits from the credit agreement. This would allow the ISP to offer the monthly service at a reduced rate, and encourage ISPs to sell many iMacs.
When I had my cable modem installed, there were two technicians - a PC tech who supervised the install, and the Mac tech who was in training. The PC tech told me he loved doing Mac installs. I asked him if it was because the Mac installs were so quick that he was able to take an extra lunch break or two. He said I hit the nail right on the head.
What Apple should be doing is convincing the fast ISPs to adjust their fees for Mac installs, since they usually take less time. It will be tricky, but perhaps the volume of iMac customers will make up for the loss in install fees.
How hard can this be? "Talk 10 people into buying Macintosh, and you'll get a free copy of MacOS 8.5. Talk 20 people into buying Macintosh, and you'll get a free iMac." All Apple needs to do here is set up the Apple Store a bit differently so that anyone can sign up as a "sales referral program participant". When a sale is made, the participant makes the call to the Apple Store (or does the order via the web), and enters his or her name as the referral person. Since it would be done through the Apple Store, it probably wouldn't cost Apple as much as it pays CompUSA salespeople in sales incentives.
Incidentally, if you really wanted to become your own sales agent for Apple, you should probably check out MPACC (currently found here, although I don't know for how long). If you put $250 down, they'll let you sell anything from Apple's pricelist. You'll get to split the profit with MPACC. You probably wouldn't be able to make a living from it unless you also went into business doing something else computer-related. Oh, and they don't sell to individuals. They only sell to companies. So go incorporate yourself if you intend to do this.
It's not weird, it's cool. But what Apple should be doing is getting into every US supermarket and setting them up with online shopping. Then it should bundle the online shopping client software with iMac.
While they're at it, they should make information kiosks out of iMacs, and place them all over the store. They'll be visible, for sure. People will probably come just to caress the machines.
Finally, they should make a USB attachment that controls a cash till, so that iMac can be used as a cash register. A stylish one. Granted, this supermarket idea is much more complicated than the others, and would involve a lot more resources and investment. But it's still a good idea.
Who knows? Maybe in the next Ambrosia Times, I'll be able to announce an Ambrosia program based on one of these ideas.
Ambrosia Software, Inc.