Jul 11

Cult epidemic breaks out in tech industry

As you know, Apple fans lost touch decades ago.

They’re a cult — hypnotized sheep, blindly following their savior Steve Jobs. They line up to fork over their cash for overpriced devices, unfazed by the fact that Apple only wants to control them. By the tens of millions, they surrender their free will, buying technology no one could really like. One day they’ll wake up and see how foolish they’ve been.

But we live in a competitive world. New and even more deluded cults are springing up all around us. Even the smart people are being sucked into them — behaving in ways that defy explanation.

Just two days ago, 700 members of the RIM cult held a meeting. These people have already exhibited irrational behavior by actually purchasing RIM stock. Inexplicably, they applauded the company’s leadership, even though RIM’s earnings are rapidly plummeting as their once-invincible empire continues to crumble. Then people who should know better started voicing strange opinions — like the investment executive who said that he didn’t hear anything that gave him concerns about the company’s direction. His firm was sitting on 100,000 of those steadily declining shares.

Meanwhile, the PC cult was meeting over at Microsoft, at the Worldwide Partners Conference. Here, Steve Ballmer held up the divine numbers, showing 350 million Windows licenses in the past year vs. 20 million for the other guys. “350, the last time I checked, is a lot more than 20,” said Ballmer to the delight of his followers. Yet nobody took note of the fact that PC sales continue to slide, and Microsoft remains far, far behind in phones and tablets.

Then, right on cue, the High Lord of Windows Phone 7 rose to proclaim that Microsoft will never use a mobile OS to power a tablet, because what people really want in a tablet is PC power. It’s Windows all the way. The crowd applauded, seemingly unconcerned that over 25 million people have fallen in love with their puny, un-PC iPads, or that netbook shipments have basically collapsed due to iPad’s runaway sales. Love of PC is core to this crowd, and they’ll cling to it till their last dying breath.

Being the easily led Apple type of cult follower, I’m tempted to join up with one of these other cults. Their kind of irrational thinking appeals to me. I’ll contemplate this more when I return from my daily Apple Store visit.

Tags: , , , ,

  • Bladrnr

    Ha ha!! Great analysis of the “cults” of the technology world. I used to belong to the “Mac cult” in the ’90s. No more. Apple is more mainstream than HP and Dell now. Walk into an Apple Store and you’d think people were crazy buying up all of those Apple products. But there’s so many of them! Day after day after day.

    In fact, Apple just became the 3rd largest US PC vendor, not including the iPad. Third! What happened to the “Mac cult?”

    I almost miss those days.

  • nando

    @Bladrnr apple is the second largest market value company in the world behind Exxon-mobile .
    $300 billion $300 billon, they have estimate $70 billion in cash, and imagine steve jobs only return 6 years ago (2007)
    where microsoft is now ? going do…..

  • Viswakarma

    Microsoft is a dying dinosaur! It will take a long time to die and become dust.

  • rd

    did you see this

    Microsoft is attacking Apple by saying they will have one platform. guess how they achive this great unification of windows in multiple architecture.
    by copying NeXT’s app bundle metaphor and eve calling it .appX file format.

  • Bladrnr

    What I meant was that Apple was number three in PC sales last quarter, not including the iPad; up from number five just a few quarters ago:

    Yes, as far as market cap they are number two out of all U.S. companies.

  • Dmitri

    “350, the last time I checked, is a lot more than 20.”

    What I LOVE is that Apple’s stock price has been hovering around $350, and MS’s around $20.

    And, last I checked, $350 is more than $20.

    But it seems like Ballmer isn’t so aware of THAT disparity…

  • ken segall

    Thanks for the link. I love that article. It’s stunning how anyone can interpret Apple’s product line as five separate platform. Talk about grasping for straws.

    Hilarious observation. Thanks. I’m glad I remembered to buy the correct stock 15 years ago.

  • Dmitri

    Great article, Ken. Speaking of cult accusations, you’ve probably seen the “Apple users are stupid zombies” hit piece/retraction at the “new” byte website.

    The article is unremarkable, the same stuff we’ve been putting up with for decades — but the thing I want to draw your attention to are the COMMENTS.

    This article has some of the most reasoned, intelligent, articulate comments I’ve ever seen on the internet — mostly expressing disappointment with Byte.

    There’s something about the quality of these comments that makes me, as a mac user, proud. There’s very little attack.. more like a wistful sadness that this sort of thing still goes on.

    The “cult” seems to be growing up.

    Here’s the link:

  • ken segall

    I’d seen the article and then the retraction, but on your advice I just read the comments. You’re absolutely right — the Apple crowd really rose to the occasion on this one. I’m wondering if the author has taken any of the comments to heart.