Apple Back in the Game

While growth in most of the PC market is slowing, there’s an exception to the rule. Apple is back.

Apple announced its earnings this week, and they were pretty good. (Compared to the results at Compaq, they were excellent.) People are taking to the candy-colored iMacs, and Power Mac sales are also growing at twice the industry average, the company says. Two German programmers have even written a new browser especially for the Mac, reducing users’ dependence on Microsoft software just a little bit.

Apple users are seeing competition for their money. Apple may sell out its current iMacs before rolling out new models. That’s unheard of in the today’s PC market. Apple has also begun a new ad campaign, starring actor Jeff Goldblum, which feeds into the idea that an iMac is the simplest way to get on the Internet “without becoming a computer person.”

There is a lot of good news here for those in e-commerce.

Apple’s comeback means that Internet standards, as opposed to just Windows standards, will remain important. It means PC simplicity is again a key feature, because of the Internet. It also means that, increasingly, the broad consumer market is seeing a PC as mainly a means to reach the Internet — that’s great news.

But the success of Apple should also teach us a few things.

Don’t assume the future will be like the past. Don’t lock your site into any a single user platform. Follow your customers closely, and don’t make assumptions about them that might prove false. Most important don’t overcomplicate your site. Keep It Simple, Stupid (KISS) is a principle you can bank on.

But what do you think? Is Apple’s current success a flash in the pan? What does its comeback teach you, if anything?

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