Does Apple's Discontinuing of the Xserve Foreshadow the Company's Future?
For many, electronics manufacturer and software developer Apple is seen for their prestige line of highly sought-after consumer products. And even though consumers – individuals such as you and me – have been at the center of Apple’s attention, marketing, and production for years there is no denying the fact that the company has in recent years began catering more and more towards larger entities and enterprises; a field that they see to be growing and worth their attention. Fore quite some time now, Apple has been selling the “Xserve“; a larger-scale enterprise-grade product, which as the name suggests, was a (rack-mount) server running a copy of Mac OS X Server edition.
However after a rather low-key announcement last November, yesterday finally marked the end of the Xserve’s long history, as Apple has officially retired the product – which has outlived more well-known products such as the Mac Mini and iPhone by a long run from a production standpoint. While we can speculate for days as to just why Apple would discontinue the enterprise-focused Xserve, I think that it is fairly obvious that like with any unsuccessful product the Xserve was axed by Apple simply because it was not making enough sales and was not seen as a key component in the company’s changing business structure.
As consumers and technology enthusiasts, this leaves us wondering; what direction is Apple heading in? You see, even though the Xserve is only one product to be discontinued by Apple, its failure as a profitable offering is a telltale sign that Apple’s “traditional” ventures are now beginning to be put on the back-burner as Apple focuses on newer, more profitable markets.
What exactly is this new market? As I’m sure you have guessed, I honestly feel that Apple is beginning to lose focus on desktop and laptop products in favor of the ever-growing mobile industry. Simply looking at Apple’s fourth quarter profits from last year, Apple lays it out plain and simple that while the Macintosh product line had an increase of 27% in sales, the iPhone had brought in 91% higher sales than the same quarter the year prior. With this in mind, even though Apple is doing well with Mac computer sales, the “meat” of their profits lie in the mobile industry. And let’s not forget about the huge number of iPad sales that didn’t have an “increase” simply because the line was less than a year old at the end of the quarter.
In fact, Apple’s diminished focus on “traditional” products isn’t all that new of a concept. If you look back at the World-Wide Developer’s Conference in 2010, you will notice that the entire conference was occupied by discussions regarding Apple’s “iOS” and mobile products in general; not a peep about desktop or laptop computers.
With all of this in mind, I understand why Apple is shifting their focus. However I honestly hope that the company does not lose sight of the Macintosh product line, as it is sill a very profitable product that is still seeing increased sales, and a product that would be unwise to let go downhill.
What do you think Apple’s direction is? Where do you see the company in the next couple of years? Let us know in the comments!