Does Steve Jobs’ have another "iFlop" on his hands?

September 15, 2007

Does Steve Jobs' have another "iFlop" on his hands? It would appear from all the articles this weekend in the major news sources, that Apple is everyone’s favorite whipping boy at the moment.

Poor Steve, he just can’t seem to catch a break.  No matter how many winners Apple brings to market, people seem to revel in the computer maker’s failures even more.  Never mind the success of the iPod, or how many billions of songs iTunes has sold, it’s all about the mistakes the company makes.

Scott Woolley of Forbes set his sights this weekend on the much maligned Apple TV, dubbing it “The iFlop“.  He points to the lack of sales data as a sign it is not performing well, and estimates it has sold only 250,000 units since the unit’s release more than a year ago.  Add in that back in May, Jobs’ referred to the device as “a hobby” and one has to think that Mr. Woolley is probably correct in his assumptions.

What is going on in Cupertino, CA though?  Apple has been taking hit after hit recently.  They have effectively lost Universal Music Group from iTunes, NBC jumped ship to Amazon.com’s Unbox service (effectively cutting the possible content for the Apple TV even more), the 20″ iMac is having display issues, the iPod Touch may be having video problems, Mac’s still only accounting for 3% of the computer market, and the iPod Hi-Fi died with a whimper.

Apple always announces their new products with much ballyhoo, but quite a few of them do not live up to the launch-hype.  For every iPhone, there is an Apple TV.

To say that the Apple TV is a total flop is possibly premature, especially with the rumors of iTunes adding movie rentals in the near future, but you have to wonder just how much life this product has in it.  With it being so tethered to iTunes content, the company did limit the potential market for the product.  Had they added the ability to push any downloaded content you had to it, they probably would have seen a lot more early adopters.  Imagine an Apple TV with native DivX support; the potential would have been endless.

If the Apple TV is, as Steve Jobs claims, “a hobby”, then the company may be perfectly content with the sales numbers, though it is doubtful it would be sad about having another hit on their hands.

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