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苹果 - 正在成型的邪恶帝国编辑本段回目录

曾经,苹果还只是一家计 算机制造商的时候,人们常常用BMW来比喻它。因为,它的产品昂贵而精美,它的客户群富裕而有品味,他们还是苹果品牌充满热忱——甚至狂热——的传道士。 在人们的眼中,苹果特立独行,但绝不是业界主流——那是微软和PC厂商们的天下。

曾经,苹果还只是一家计 算机制造商的时候,人们常常用BMW来比喻它。因为,它的产品昂贵而精美,它的客户群富裕而有品味,他们还是苹果品牌充满热忱——甚至狂热——的传道士。 在人们的眼中,苹果特立独行,但绝不是业界主流——那是微软和PC厂商们的天下。Commodore的老板Jack Tramiel就是这样总结苹果的,当年,乔布斯第一次向他演示Mac。“很好,斯蒂夫,”Tramiel咆哮着。“我觉得你可以把它放到精品店里去 卖。”

That was a long time ago. Now, with a market capitalisation of just over $331bn, Apple is the second most valuable company in the world – bigger than Microsoft ($220bn), Oracle ($167bn) or Google ($196bn). The quirky little computer company has grown into a giant. But not necessarily a giant of the Big Friendly variety, as the world's magazine publishers have recently discovered and as the music and software industries have known for some time. For Apple now controls the commanding heights of the online content business and it looks like doing the same to the mobile phone business. At the moment, it looks as though nobody has a good idea of how to stop it.
那 已经是陈年往事了。现在的苹果市值超过3310亿美元,已经成为全球第二,超过了微软(2200亿),甲骨文(1670亿)和谷歌(1960亿)。这个特 立独行的小公司已经变成一个巨人。但是,未必友善——杂志出版商们刚刚发现这一点,而音乐和软件行业认识到这一点已经有段时间。现在,苹果已控制在线内容 业务的制高点,在移动电话业务方面也是如此。而在目前,似乎还没人能想出遏制苹果的妙招。
Every year, Fortune magazine polls a sample of US CEOs asking for their opinions of their competitors. The results for 2011 have just been released and they show that Apple is the "most admired" company in America. This is the sixth year in a row that it has held that title.
每年,财富杂志都会在全美的CEO中展开民意调查,谈谈他们对各自对手的看法。2011的结果刚刚公布,苹果成为CEO们心目中“最受钦佩”的公司。这已经是苹果连续第六年摘得这一头衔。
The reasons are obvious. On the product side, Apple creates beautifully designed, highly functional and user-friendly devices that delight customers and provide fat profit margins; it has a corporate culture that reliably delivers these products by specified dates; it's much more innovative than any of its competitors; and it has a unique mastery of both hardware and software.
原因显而易见。在产品方面,苹果优美、强大、好用的电子设备掳获了用户的芳心,获得了丰厚的利润;它的企业文化总能使这些产品准时无误地推向市场;它拥有着比任何竞争对手都强大的创新能力;苹果还非常独特地同时精通软件和硬件。
On the strategic side, the company has displayed a deep understanding of technology and a shrewd appreciation of potential devices and services for which people will pay over the odds. Most CEOs would kill to run a company that possessed a quarter of these competencies. Apple appears to have them all. Its current dominance is built on three big ideas. The first is that design really matters. It's not something you can outsource to a design consultancy – which is what most companies do – and design is as much about ease of use as it is about aesthetics. The second insight was that the maelstrom of illicit music downloading triggered by Napster couldn't last and that the first company to offer a simple way of legally purchasing music (and, later, other kinds of content) online would clean up. And third – and most important – there was the insight that mobile phones are really just hand-held computers that happen to make voice calls and that it's the computing bit that really matters.
在 战略方面,苹果显示出对技术的深刻理解,在用户愿意为哪些设备和服务多花钱这一问题上,更有着敏锐的触觉。上述的这些能力,大部分的CEO哪怕只拥有其中 四分之一,就已经能够称霸一方。苹果竟然全部具备。它目前的统治地位建立在三个伟大的想法之上。第一,设计绝对重要。那绝不是什么可以外包给设计公司的活 ——大部分公司正是这么干的,而且,就设计而言,易用与美观同等重要。第二,Napster掀起的非法下载风迟早玩完,第一家提供便捷的合法在线音乐(然 后是其它内容)购买的公司必定赚大钱。第三,也是最重要的一个想法,移动电话其实是手持计算机——电话只是偶尔打打,真正重要的是计算的那一部分。
Most of the media commentary about Apple attributes all of these insights to Steve Jobs, the company's charismatic co-founder, on the grounds that Apple's renaissance began when he returned to the company in 1996.
大部分的媒体评论把所有这一切归功于乔布斯,因为苹果的复兴始于1996年,正是这位富有魅力的联合创始人回归的时间。
This may well be true, though it seems unlikely that such a comprehensive corporate recovery could be the work of a single individual, no matter how charismatic. What's more plausible is that Apple's corporate culture took on some of the characteristics of its CEO's personality, much as Microsoft was once a corporate extension of Bill Gates, with all that implied in terms of aggression and drive.
这大概是真的,但是,这么庞大的一个企业似乎不可能仅仅因为某个人的努力就恢复元气了,不管他是多么富有魅力。大概是苹果的企业文化接纳了CEO人格中涉及攻击性和魄力的那方面特质,就像是微软曾经之于比尔盖茨,这样的说法可能更令人信服。
Whatever the explanation, the fact is that Apple now has a dominant position in several key businesses (content distribution and mobile computing) and is having a seriously disruptive impact on the mobile phone industry. In particular, its iTunes Store gives it control of the tollgate through which billions of paid-for music tracks and albums, videos and apps cascade down to millions of customers worldwide. It levies a commission on everything that passes through that gate. And every Apple mobile device sold can only be activated by hooking up to the gate.
无 论怎样,苹果目前在几个关键业务(内容分发和移动计算)上占据着统治地位,而且正对移动电话行业产生着翻天覆地的影响。尤其是苹果的iTunes Store,掌控着一个通往数十亿付费音乐和数百万全球用户的收费门户。流经这一门户的任何东西,苹果都会收费。每部售出的苹果移动设备,也必须通过这一 门户进行激活。
This gives Apple unparalleled power. Lots of other organisations offer paid-for downloads, but none has the credit card details of so many internet users who are accustomed to paying for stuff online. This was one reason why proprietors of print magazines began to slaver when the iPad appeared. Here at last was a way of getting people to pay for online content: just make it available on iTunes and let Apple collect the money. Sure, it rankled that Apple took 30%, but – hey – at least it would bring to an end the parasitic free riding that was endemic on the web. Henceforth, the web was dead: publishing magazines as iPad apps was the future.
苹 果因此拥有无可比拟的力量。虽然许多其它公司也提供付费下载,但是他们没有这么多习惯在线付费购物的用户。所以,iPad的出现让纸质杂志们大流口水。因 为,终于有了一种能让人们付钱购买在线内容的途径:把它放在iTunes上,然后让苹果收钱。没错,苹果是会令人不爽地拿走30%,但是,这至少可以结束 网络上到处免费搭车的惯例。从此以后,网络死了,以iPad应用的方式出版杂志——这就是未来。
Then Apple abruptly changed the rules, stipulating that any publisher selling a digital subscription on a website must also make the same subscription offer within the app, from which Apple would take a 30% cut. Publishers have been furious about this, but there's nothing they can do about it. If they want to do business on the iTunes store, then they have to do it Apple's way.
然后,苹果粗暴地修改了规则——如果出版商在某个网站卖出一份订阅,它必须在iPad应用内同样卖出一份,而苹果要从中提成30%。出版商们对此暴跳如雷,但是无计可施。只要它们想在iTunes Store里做生意,就必须按苹果的规矩来。
In itself, this was just an example of the Big Unfriendly Giant flexing its muscles, but it could be a harbinger of things to come.
这本身只是说明不友好的巨人如何展示肌肉的一个例子,但它是一个兆头。
Umberto Eco once wrote a memorable essay arguing that the Apple Mac was a Catholic device, while the IBM PC was a Protestant one. His reasoning was that, like the Roman church, Apple offered a guaranteed route to salvation – the Apple Way – provided one stuck to it. PC users, on the other hand, had to take personal responsibility for working out their own routes to heaven.
Umberto Eco曾经写过一篇令人难忘的文章,他把苹果的Mac比作天主教徒,而把IBM的PC比作新教徒。他说,苹果像罗马教会那样向信徒们许诺,只要坚持信仰,就会提供给他们一条拯救之路。而另一方面,PC用户们则必须自己找出那条路。
Eco's metaphor applies with a vengeance to the new generations of Apple iDevices, which are rigidly controlled appliances. You may think you own your lovely, shiny new iPhone or iPad, but in reality an invisible virtual string links it back to Apple HQ at One Infinite Loop, Cupertino.
Eco的比喻非常契合新一代的苹果i设备——它们处在苹果的严密控制下。别以为你掌控着自己可爱的iPhone或iPad,一条看不见的线连着位于古柏狄诺无限循环街1号的苹果总部呢。
You can't install anything on it that hasn't had the prior approval of Mr Jobs and his subordinates. And if you are foolish enough to break the rules and seek your own route to salvation, then you may find when you next try to sync it with iTunes that it has turned into an expensive, beautifully designed paperweight. If that isn't power, then I don't know what is.
你无法在iPhone或iPad上安装任何没有经过乔布斯先生们批准的东西。要是你愚蠢到坏了规矩,妄想寻求自己的拯救之路,那么下次同步你的iPhone时大概会发现它变成了一块昂贵的、美丽的砖头。如果这都不叫权力,我不明白什么才叫权力。

苹果才是那个正在成型的邪恶帝国编辑本段回目录

曾几何时,当苹果基本还只是一家计算机制造商的时候,人们常常将它比作BMW。因为,它的产品昂贵而精美,它的客户群富裕而有品味,他们还是苹果品牌充满热忱——甚至狂热——的传道士。在人们的眼中,苹果特立独行,绝不是业界主流——那是微软和PC厂商们的天下。这就是Commodore的老大Jack Tramiel对苹果的看法。当年,乔布斯第一次向他演示Mac。“很好,斯蒂夫,”Tramiel咆哮着。“我觉得你可以把它放到精品店里去卖。”

That was a long time ago. Now, with a market capitalisation of just over $331bn, Apple is the second most valuable company in the world – bigger than Microsoft ($220bn), Oracle ($167bn) or Google ($196bn). The quirky little computer company has grown into a giant. But not necessarily a giant of the Big Friendly variety, as the world's magazine publishers have recently discovered and as the music and software industries have known for some time. For Apple now controls the commanding heights of the online content business and it looks like doing the same to the mobile phone business. At the moment, it looks as though nobody has a good idea of how to stop it.

但那已是随风的往事。现在的苹果市值超过3310亿美元,已经跻身全球第二,超过了微软(2200亿)、甲骨文(1670亿)和谷歌(1960亿)。当年特立独行的小公司已经成长为巨人。只是,未必友善——这是杂志出版商们最近的发现,而音乐和软件行业认识到这一点已经有段时间。现在,在线内容业务的制高点已为苹果掌控,同样的事也正在移动电话领域发生。似乎,还没有人能想出任何遏制苹果的高招。

Every year, Fortune magazine polls a sample of US CEOs asking for their opinions of their competitors. The results for 2011 have just been released and they show that Apple is the "most admired" company in America. This is the sixth year in a row that it has held that title.

每年,财富杂志都会在全美的CEO人群中展开民意调查,请他们谈谈对竞争对手的看法。2011年的结果刚刚公布,苹果成为全美“最受赞赏”的公司。这已是苹果连续第六年摘得这一头衔。

The reasons are obvious. On the product side, Apple creates beautifully designed, highly functional and user-friendly devices that delight customers and provide fat profit margins; it has a corporate culture that reliably delivers these products by specified dates; it's much more innovative than any of its competitors; and it has a unique mastery of both hardware and software.

原因显而易见。在产品方面,苹果优美、强大、好用的电子设备掳获了用户芳心,攫取了丰厚的利润;它的企业文化总能使这些产品准时无误地推向市场;它拥有着比任何竞争对手都要强大的创新能力;苹果还非常独特地同时精通软件和硬件。

On the strategic side, the company has displayed a deep understanding of technology and a shrewd appreciation of potential devices and services for which people will pay over the odds. Most CEOs would kill to run a company that possessed a quarter of these competencies. Apple appears to have them all. Its current dominance is built on three big ideas. The first is that design really matters. It's not something you can outsource to a design consultancy – which is what most companies do – and design is as much about ease of use as it is about aesthetics. The second insight was that the maelstrom of illicit music downloading triggered by Napster couldn't last and that the first company to offer a simple way of legally purchasing music (and, later, other kinds of content) online would clean up. And third – and most important – there was the insight that mobile phones are really just hand-held computers that happen to make voice calls and that it's the computing bit that really matters.

在战略方面,苹果显示出深刻的技术理解力,而在用户愿意为哪些设备和服务多花钱这一问题上,更有着敏锐的触角。上述的这些能力,大多数CEO哪怕仅仅拥有其中四分之一,就已经能够称霸一方。但是,苹果竟然全部具备。它目前的统治地位建立在三个伟大的想法之上。第一个想法是,设计是至关重要的。而绝对不是什么可以随便外包给设计公司的活儿——大部分公司都这么干的——另外,设计的易用性与美观性同等重要。第二个想法是,由Napster掀起的非法下载风迟早玩儿完,而第一家提供便捷而合法的在线音乐(然后是其它内容)购买方式的公司必定能够大赚其钱。第三个,也是最重要的一个想法是,移动电话实质上是手持计算机——电话只是偶尔打打,真正重要的其实是计算的那部分。

Most of the media commentary about Apple attributes all of these insights to Steve Jobs, the company's charismatic co-founder, on the grounds that Apple's renaissance began when he returned to the company in 1996.

大部分的媒体评论把所有这一切归功于乔布斯,因为苹果的复兴始于1996年,那正是这位富有魅力的联合创始人回归的时间。

This may well be true, though it seems unlikely that such a comprehensive corporate recovery could be the work of a single individual, no matter how charismatic. What's more plausible is that Apple's corporate culture took on some of the characteristics of its CEO's personality, much as Microsoft was once a corporate extension of Bill Gates, with all that implied in terms of aggression and drive.

这大概是事实,但是,如此庞大的一个企业似乎不可能仅仅因为某人的单打独斗就恢复元气了,不管他是多么富有魅力。我想,大概是苹果的企业文化接纳了他们CEO人格中涉及攻击性和魄力的那部分特质,就好像曾经的微软仿佛是盖茨的延伸一样,这样的说法可能更令人信服吧。

Whatever the explanation, the fact is that Apple now has a dominant position in several key businesses (content distribution and mobile computing) and is having a seriously disruptive impact on the mobile phone industry. In particular, its iTunes Store gives it control of the tollgate through which billions of paid-for music tracks and albums, videos and apps cascade down to millions of customers worldwide. It levies a commission on everything that passes through that gate. And every Apple mobile device sold can only be activated by hooking up to the gate.

无论如何,苹果目前已在几个关键业务(内容分发和移动计算)上占据统治地位,而且正对移动电话行业产生翻天覆地的影响。尤其是,苹果通过iTunes Store,掌控着一个巨大的收费门户,数十亿付费音乐、视频和应用通过它流向遍及全球的数百万用户。苹果会对流经这一门户的任何东西收取费用。而每部售出的苹果移动设备,也都必须通过这一门户进行激活。

This gives Apple unparalleled power. Lots of other organisations offer paid-for downloads, but none has the credit card details of so many internet users who are accustomed to paying for stuff online. This was one reason why proprietors of print magazines began to slaver when the iPad appeared. Here at last was a way of getting people to pay for online content: just make it available on iTunes and let Apple collect the money. Sure, it rankled that Apple took 30%, but – hey – at least it would bring to an end the parasitic free riding that was endemic on the web. Henceforth, the web was dead: publishing magazines as iPad apps was the future.

苹果因此拥有了无可比拟的力量。虽然,其它许多公司也提供付费下载服务,但是他们没有这么多习惯在线购物的用户。所以,iPad的出现让纸质杂志们大流口水。因为,终于有了一种能让人们付钱购买在线内容的途径:只需要把它放在iTunes上,然后让苹果去收钱。没错,苹果拿走三成是让人不爽,但是,这至少可以结束网络上永远免费的惯例。从此以后,网络就死了——以iPad应用的方式出版杂志,这就是未来。

Then Apple abruptly changed the rules, stipulating that any publisher selling a digital subscription on a website must also make the same subscription offer within the app, from which Apple would take a 30% cut. Publishers have been furious about this, but there's nothing they can do about it. If they want to do business on the iTunes store, then they have to do it Apple's way.

然后,苹果粗暴地修改了规则——如果出版商在网站上出售电子订阅,它必须在iPad应用内提供同样的订阅,而苹果会从中提取三成。出版商们对此暴跳如雷,但是无计可施。只要它们想在iTunes Store里做生意,就必须按苹果的规矩来。

In itself, this was just an example of the Big Unfriendly Giant flexing its muscles, but it could be a harbinger of things to come.

例子本身只是说明这位不友善的巨人是如何展示他的肌肉的,但它也许可以被看作一个预兆。

Umberto Eco once wrote a memorable essay arguing that the Apple Mac was a Catholic device, while the IBM PC was a Protestant one. His reasoning was that, like the Roman church, Apple offered a guaranteed route to salvation – the Apple Way – provided one stuck to it. PC users, on the other hand, had to take personal responsibility for working out their own routes to heaven.

Umberto Eco曾写过一篇令人难忘的文章,他把苹果的Mac比作天主教徒,而把IBM的PC比作新教徒。他说,苹果就像罗马教会那样,许给信徒们一条拯救之路——苹果之道——条件是他们必须坚定不移地走下去。而反过来,PC用户们就必须靠个人的力量寻找自己的天堂之路。

Eco's metaphor applies with a vengeance to the new generations of Apple iDevices, which are rigidly controlled appliances. You may think you own your lovely, shiny new iPhone or iPad, but in reality an invisible virtual string links it back to Apple HQ at One Infinite Loop, Cupertino.

Eco的比喻非常契合新一代的苹果i设备——它们处在苹果的严密控制下。别以为你掌控着自己可爱的iPhone或是iPad,一条看不见的线连着位于古柏狄诺市无限循环街1号的苹果总部呢。

You can't install anything on it that hasn't had the prior approval of Mr Jobs and his subordinates. And if you are foolish enough to break the rules and seek your own route to salvation, then you may find when you next try to sync it with iTunes that it has turned into an expensive, beautifully designed paperweight. If that isn't power, then I don't know what is.

你无法在iPhone或iPad上安装任何未经乔布斯先生们批准的东西。要是你愚蠢到坏了规矩,妄想寻求自己的拯救之路,那么下次同步你的iPhone时大概会发现它变成了一块昂贵而美丽的砖头。如果这都不叫力量,我真不明白什么才叫力量。

参考文献编辑本段回目录

http://www.cnbeta.com/articles/136610.htm
http://article.yeeyan.org/view/210848/177823

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