Apple charts a bold new course for Mac OS, office apps

Apri 1, 2021

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, announced a new direction for the MacOS and the Mac-based office apps that are provided with the Macintosh operating system (Pages, Numbers, Keynote).

"We have realized that providing high quality software with carefully tested user interfaces is not returning enough value to shareholders. We took a long careful look at our software development process and realized we are spending entirely too much time and money on producing a quality product."

"When we looked around, we realized that Bill Gates became a multi-billionaire by simply having Microsoft shovel out poorly designed, half finished software to users, and letting them find all the bugs, mistakes, and errors in the code."

"It really gave us pause, and we realized the brilliance of the Microsoft strategy--instead of spending time and money on internal software design and quality assurance teams, outsource a huge chunk of that effort to our loyal and unsuspecting customers."

Cook went on to indicate that in fact, Apple has been pursuing this approach for some time, but that it has been so successful that the company is now making a public announcement. Cook noted that the company's most recent OS release, Big Sur, has incorporated many of the ideas that have emerged from the company's new approach to software development.

"With Big Sur, we decided that our thoughtful use of color and other visual interface features could be removed. The Big Sur interface is so much more like something from Microsoft: a bland grey color imposed on everything so that it is really hard to identify individual items that a user might want to click on. We stopped using interface design elements like drop shadows because those make it easier to find icons and interface elements. Everything is now just one amorphous gray blob. And we hid lots of stuff that used to be easy to find, because nothing spells frustrating like hidden interface elements. Now customers have to spend lots of time just mousing around their screens, hoping hidden interface elements magically appear."

Cook also noted that they have applied the new philosophy to the Mac office apps that compete with Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. "Over the past several years, we decided we could make more money by simply removing handy features and interface elements from Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. It saves us a lot of money not to have support useful software. And we have stopped trying to fix bugs, which also saves a lot of money. For example, users have complained for years that in Pages, tables and images randomly jump around from page to page for no good reason. We have not bothered to fix that problem because we re-assigned all our experienced software engineers to other project years ago. Now we just get some job shop in Bangalore to do maintenance. It saves tons of money."

Cook, when questioned about customer loyalty and the possibility of declining sales, had an answer for that as well. "Look, our apps and OS are still waaaay better than Windows and Microsoft Office. As long as Pages is slightly better than Word, we will be fine."

When Cook was questioned about the billions and billions of dollars of cash that Apple has stashed away and why a tiny fraction of that could not be used to produce better software, the Apple CEO had an answer for that as well. "Our job is keep the stock price high and the dividends low, and sitting on a literal mountain of cash is the way we do that." Cook ended the interview on an upbeat note about the Macintosh platform. "Sure, we admit it, we don't really care that much about the Mac platform, but let's get real, when we can get people to pay two hundred dollars for ear buds that cost twelve dollars and forty cents to make in a Chinese gulag factory, why waste time on Mac software?"

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