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Newsletter Issue #711: They Tell Apple What Products to Make

One thing is certain, and that is that Apple is extremely selective about which products to produce. Or at least that’s how it is nowadays. During the 1990s, before Steve Jobs returned to the company, you almost wondered if Apple would soon be selling refrigerators and toaster ovens. The product lineups were so extensive, you wondered what they wouldn’t make.

In those days, Apple sold printers, cameras, and other gear not quite related to personal computers, not to mention the Newton MessagePad, an early mobile computing device. There were so many Macs, even the executives would have difficulty telling one from another. But that was little different from other tech companies who pursued the same strategy, to market as many product lines as they could handle, and maybe they went too far, with loads of slightly different models to target all sorts of real or imagined product segments.

In one of his first acts, Steve Jobs cut the fat, the unproductive products, or the products that moved Apple into what he perceived as the wrong direction. Even printers, which helped the Mac gain credibility in the 1980s as the result of Adobe PostScript and desktop publishing, were history.

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