Six Colors
Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Jason Snell for Macworld

Apple makes a strategic retreat

Apple is not a person. It’s easy to forget sometimes, but Apple is not Tim Cook or the imprint of Steve Jobs or Phil Schiller or any other person. It’s an entity made up of thousands of people and a corporate culture (which, I’ll grant you, was largely defined by Jobs) that evolved over time.

That said, Apple does have a corporate personality all its own, and I’ve been thinking lately about one of its stronger traits: pride. No company wants to admit failure in its press conferences and PR blitzes—those utterances are best said late on a Friday afternoon in a terse statement to a sympathetic media outlet.

But Apple is in another league. Failed features don’t disappear—they’re replaced by exciting new features. One of its most colossal flops, the Power Mac G4 Cube, was famously put “on ice” rather than retired, in a press release that fantasized that it might eventually return. The mistake of the 2013 Mac Pro was only admitted to as part of a handpicked media roundtable where it was put in the larger context of a recommitment to professional Mac users.

Considering that pride, what happens when the company decides that many of the decisions it made a few years earlier were mistakes, actually? What does it look like when Apple makes a strategic retreat?

It feels like we’re about to find out.

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