Business Commentary for Rational Individuals

The Next Billion: Count Apple Out

Dr. Bill Belew

Issue II - June 18, 2006

Introduction by Mr. Stolyarov: Apple is refusing to market its computers to the developing world and is therefore getting left behind by the competing PCs, writes Dr. Bill Belew. PCs will be welcomed in countries that currently have few of them, but they will need to be adapted to the requirements of their new users in those countries. Dr. Belew asks some questions that need to be addressed on this matter.

The next billion is the potential PC market in the developing world. We know they won't be
buying MACS because Apple's Steve Jobs has admitted it won't be worth it to his company.
A lot of different companies are trying to come up with affordable PCs that businesses, families,
schools, and students in developing countries can buy.

But everyone is having a hard time pinning down just what it is they will want.

1.  What traditional features do they keep and which are kept out?

2.  Will users be offended if they feel they are getting a dumbed-down version?

3.  Would they rather share a community PC?

4.  Would they like to buy a PC they can plug into a community server?

5.  Do they want brand PCs or does it matter that it is a no-name but does the job?

6.  How much can they pay? $400, $250, $140, $70?

7.  Will it be dust-proof? monsoon-proof? burglar-proof?

8.  Do they need high-speed?

9.  Would they rather have a quality PC that costs more, even if it stretches their budget?

10. Who will teach them how to use it?

Lots of questions...

Are there solutions?

What do you think?


Dr. Bill Belew is a former Intelligence Officer for a Destroyer Squadron. He lived 20 years in Japan, where he started a language school for Japanese ECS. Dr. Belew teaches classes for a vocational school and online for a national university.

See Dr. Belew's blog, PanAsianBiz, for news and discussions about business and current events in Russia and Asia. See ZhongHuaRising for Dr. Belew's reports on business in China, RisingSunofNihon on business in Japan, and TheBizofKnowledge on business education.

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