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View Full Version : Aurora has left the market



despaxas
04-26-2007, 10:26 AM
Their product unavailability and their website working except for the homepage have been clues for a while, but now nothing works. This is a post from a guy who I know of from Tech Support, he was the one who replaced my old Fuse when it had to be repaired and signed for the receipt of the package. Perfect experience. Based on posts following his in the Creative Cow forum, my experience was no different from many others.

I didn't want to just post it in the video section because it's not very nice to Apple, but I knew I could post it here.



"Name: Mike Stroven
Date: Apr 20, 2007 at 1:28:38 pm
Subject: Farewell...

Following is a copy of a posting I made in the AJA Io forum:
I'm assuming that the posting will be pulled from there, but I believe Ron will let it stand here in this forum. Call it a brief synopsis of my experience working watching Apple after almost 10 years of developing video editing solutions for Macintosh, and a farewell to this community.

The list of 3rd party hardware developers that Apple has screwed is long. When they pick a partner to "get in bed with", they end up kicking them to the curb within a year or two.

Start with Matrox and FCP 1.0 in OS9. Matrox was chosen to help Apple achieve RT processing. Once Apple had a good handle on the process, they sucked in into FCP 2.0, obsoleting the "RTMac" product overnight.

Pinnacle was next with their "Cinewave". Apple implemented countless Pinnacle-specific functions and enabler tags into FCP, and didn't document them. When other manufacturers had trouble with implementation, they received cryptic references to tags with no descriptions.

Then there was the "Apple Pro Io"... Since Apple developed the Io and its driver (the driver is part of FCP), you'd think that all of the competing 3rd party hardware suppliers would have variants. Instead, Apple picked AJA to partner with, and gave them exclusive rights to the uncompressed-over-firewire protocol, as well as millions of dollars of free advertising. When other 3rd party manufacturers attempted to reverse-engineer the protocol they were met with threats from Apple. Anyone here remember the one day that ProMax was showing their Io-type product. It was pulled from their site the next day. I wonder why? Couldn't be because they are one of the largest independent Apple dealers, and Apple has some influence on whether they keep that status....

When the movie, "Cold Mountain" was released, the various video and storage companies involved went to Apple for help with a joint marketing campaign, but instead were met with another slap in the face. Apple was running a two-page ad with Cold Mountain featured on the screen of a system including an AJA Io, and an Apple RAID. Apple representatives told these companies to "just drop it."

Even though starting strong that year, Aurora Video Systems had their lowest sales year in their 7 year history. The decision was made to never again have a majority of their business tied to the whim of Apple Computer. Sadly, being the only exclusively-Macintosh provider in the market, hurt Aurora the worst. Their loyalty to Apple products and Apple customers left them destitute from trying to compete with Apple directly. When the layoffs were over, and the owner's investment completely dried up, they left to pursue other interests, and to try to again build up a cash base for retirement.

Today, with yet another example of Apple favoring one hardware maker over the others, you have the IoHD. Great box. However, if Apple truly wanted a broad range of competitive suppliers (the lip-service they always had for Aurora), they wouldn't do these "exclusive" partnerships. It's unfair, it's anti-competitive, and it sucks. I'm sooo glad I'm no longer in that business. The sad thing is that Aurora led that market in features and technology for years, and Apple was always clueless about it. They still don't have a clue what a film workflow looks like. Last time I checked, FCP still couldn't handle a QT timecode input correctly.. The ability to output a video stream with an alpha channel was a request that Aurora made to Apple engineers. Funny how a year later AJA was shipping such a feature...

Everyone loves being an Apple user, but being an Apple developer is a totally different gig. Even AJA hedged their bets by developing Windoze drivers for their stuff, and by supporting open-source stuff like the RaveHD.

Apple is just small enough that these practices go unnoticed, but these are the types of behavior that Microsoft has been slapped down for on numerous occassions... That's what I meant.

For the record, I am no longer with Aurora, and am still a somewhat loyal user of Apple products, but this will be my farewell to all my friends in this ever-changing video market.

God bless you all!
-Mike"



Also, Apple didn't promote the Aurora Igniter as the card used for Cold Mountain because it was done in OS9, and Apple was promoting OSX.

Before that, Aurora was also developing the Fuse as a DAV card that would fit in the DAV Slot of 7300-8600 PCI macs having more direct access to the processor as well as freeing up a PCI slot. They had to drop the project due to insufficient design information from Apple.


Ok, I'm breathing a little deeper now...

I have four Aurora cards with various options and they have always worked flawlessly. (Except for the six year old Fuse, but come on, I worked the crap out of that card :). It just sucks that a good company's sales dropped so significantly when their product should have been popular, or at least more widely known. They had an HD card too so it wasn't like they weren't keeping up.

Jeff

unclemac
04-26-2007, 11:21 PM
Yeah, the worst thing about Apple to be sure......seem to drive developers and partners in general mad.

You see predatory practices from all companies, but Apple's seem to have their own special twist. I feel for all the folks that opened and ran little computer shops and really helped keep Apple afloat during the dark days, only to see Apple strangle them with the Apple stores. Not even up front about it, all very on the QT, to the point of lying and back stabbing.

I keep hoping that as they grow and become more successful, and financially sound that they will grow up and treat venders and partners right, but there has been no real sign of change yet that I can detect.

:(

May actually begin to hamper growth now. There will be markets that they cannot do well in without partners.....

ricks
04-27-2007, 08:55 AM
The really sad part, or not so sad if you are an Apple shareholder, is the margins. I saw a write up this week of the gross sales versus gross profit versus net profit. GRoss profit was in the 35% range. Net, that profit which is really left after all costs, was over 20%. I sat there with a calculator running the numbers and amazed they could keep their margins so high.


Looks like they do it with a cut throat mentality.

Nicolas
04-27-2007, 08:57 PM
The more the news the more I hate Apple for doing such crap. :weeskull:

Remember the times when Apples switched to PCI instead of Nubus, we all were thinking "Man, we have more Options now" same as Apple switched to Intel plattform but, we ended in getting less options only a few 3rd party hardware developers survived the switch and I don't thing it is at the end its just beginning. Heard some sad news on 10.5 a bunch of Apples "key features" are no longer beeing supported and my guess is alot of users will switch away from Apple cuz if a company is revising their strategy many many times you're not save investmenting alot of $ into this system. By now, it seems to me that Apple is going from a high end computer manufaturer to a media company which is doing everything but all the stuff by half. This is not the way a company should do their job, they should force the new OS/Hardware for sure but with features not by cutting aproved things down or lag of support.

Sorry but my personal opinion.

Regards

Nicolas

despaxas
05-01-2007, 09:41 AM
I came across a press release from 2003 where this guy, Mike Stroven, had a quote and his title was VP of Systems Engineering.

Just included for correctness. correctfullness? How about accuracy.

ricks
05-01-2007, 11:02 AM
BTW, I don't have a problem with posting this in the open forum. Truth is the shits sometimes, but we try and stick with it. Might be some interesting feedback. Public pressure is the only tool we have with big corps. I don't believe for a second that Steve Jobs shares any of our pains.

Rick

Macaholic
05-03-2007, 07:02 PM
Sometimes unfortunate, but such is life.
the big fish eats the little fish.
Anybody remember where iTunes came from?
innovation is often tied to improving somebody else's idea.
Xerox, Apple, Microsoft etc.........................
Sometimes it ain't fair, but what are ya gonna do?

The more you know, the more you wish you didn't know.

Dave

Nicolas
05-03-2007, 07:41 PM
The more you know, the more you wish you didn't know.

Dave

Yep, u nailed it Dave.

M.Brane
05-03-2007, 08:00 PM
Money money money money, money
Some people got to have it
Some people really need it
Listen to me y'all, do things, do things, do bad things with it
You wanna do things, do things, do things, good things with it
Talk about cash money, money
Talk about cash money- dollar bills, yall

For the love of money
People will steal from their mother
For the love of money
People will rob their own brother
For the love of money
People can't even walk the street
Because they never know who in the world they're gonna beat
For that lean, mean, mean green
Almighty dollar, money

For the love of money
People will lie, Lord, they will cheat
For the love of money
People don't care who they hurt or beat
For the love of money
A woman will sell her precious body
For a small piece of paper it carries a lot of weight
Call it lean, mean, mean green

Almighty dollar

I know money is the root of all evil
Do funny things to some people
Give me a nickel, brother can you spare a dime
Money can drive some people out of their minds

Got to have it, I really need it
How many things have I heard you say
Some people really need it
How many things have I heard you say
Got to have it, I really need it
How many things have I heard you say
Lay down, lay down, a woman will lay down
For the love of money
All for the love of money
Don't let, don't let, don't let money rule you
For the love of money
Money can change people sometimes
Don't let, don't let, don't let money fool you
Money can fool people sometimes
People! Don't let money, don't let money change you,
it will keep on changing, changing up your mind.

Personally I don't want Apple to gain any more market share. The bigger they get the more M$ like they become.

Macaholic
05-03-2007, 08:10 PM
Ahhh,
the O'Jays...
No Pink Floyd?

Dave

Nicolas
05-04-2007, 04:57 AM
Personally I don't want Apple to gain any more market share. The bigger they get the more M$ like they become.

Yep, and they would lose their "Cool (Think Different)" Image ;)

But look what they already do I guess they would be even worse than M$.
Jobs with a big market share in the back is like hell on earth...

Nicolas

unclemac
05-04-2007, 07:50 AM
I don't think they will be able to get much bigger without learning how to partner with other companies successfully. There have been some partnerships that at least appear to go well, like the recent ipod thing with Nike, but a longer history of cutting the legs out from under people.

Hard to tell if it is always intentional, bad planning and flailing......or both.

I would prefer that they did neither, but if I had to pick, I would hope that it was intentional. At least being cut throat is by design. To some degree, at least in the dark days, it was understandable during the dark days when the survival of the company was at stake.

If they are unintentionally cutting the throats of partners because of bad planning, flailing, being indecisive and the like....then they are flirting with being incompetent (at least at the upper management level), which is much more dangerous for the future of the company.

A cut throat is a cut throat no matter why. For a partner, it doesn't matter why.

But I would argue that if it has been by design, it is aggressiveness, not incompetence. Aggressiveness can be easily corrected (with a change of culture, will, or heart). Incompetence is a tougher cookie.

Read a op/ed blurb a while ago that put forth the notion that with Apple's huge growth over the last few years, their middle management has not grown the way it should have. They are much bigger, much more successful company than they were back in the dark days almost a decade ago, and they don't have the management in place they need for their current size, much less to handle any more growth. I agree.

Without effective partnerships, it will be hard for them to crack into any more markets, which means that even if it is not by design, they will be stuck in the consumer market only. Room for lots of growth there, but still limited if they can't gain in education and enterprise. They are painting themselves in a corner.

Seems like they are getting better, at least in some areas. iTunes has not been super smooth, partners have grumbled, but it has been successful, and the video thing keeps moving forward. The iPhone may be telling too......will be interesting to see how rosy the relationship with AT&T will be in a year of so. Jobs will have to start to let go of some pieces.......but I have not detected even a hint of that yet.

Let's hope that they continue to grow and mature on the management side, and make up for sins like this one against Aurora in the near future. If not, they will have little choice to be anything but a consumer electronic company.

Nicolas
05-04-2007, 09:04 AM
Well all in all this isn't new to me, remember:

1. PINK/Taligent 1987-1995 the new MacOS Project with IBM
2. Copland 1991-1996, buying BeOS... which finally ended in buying NeXT
3. The Clones
4. OS X, leaving some hardware developers "alone in the dark"

Other companies would be gone after such huge misstakes.

Nicolas

M.Brane
05-04-2007, 10:02 PM
Sure would suck to see Apple go the way of Gadget (used to be Radio) Shack or become the Behringer of the computer world. Like what happened to Hi-Fi gear in the '80s: cheap junk in a nice-looking box with lots of "features".

Apple's loyal user base, and the iPod/iTunes phenomenon are the things that have kept them afloat. Let's hope they don't sacrifice the former in pursuit of the latter. It's not just Apple though. Many a good company has been driven into the ground in the name of keeping the shareholders fat, and happy.

Hopefully the heat from SJ's stock troubles will be a wake-up call to him.

The iPhone looks suspiciously like something you'd see at Gadget Shack these days. That troubles me.