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(Nikkei BP Group)

(No.1 High-Tech News Site in Japanese)

  • Apple Proposes Future Computing Based on Users' Needs: Apple Japan President
  • September 21, 1998 (TOKYO) -- Apple Computer Inc. will propose future computing styles that reflect user needs, Eikou Harada, president of Apple Japan Inc., said at the 10th convention of the Japanese Association of Computer Science Sept. 13 in Yokohama.
    Susumu Furukawa, chairman of Microsoft Co., Ltd. of Japan, and Kazuhiko Nishi, president of ASCII Corp.'s Education Company, also spoke at the panel discussion entitled, "The Future of Knowledge and the Future of Computers."

    The panel discussion followed special lectures given by each panelist. At the special lectures, the three panelists introduced their abstract theories, but they failed to enliven the audience. As Nishi took the initiative in the latter half of the discussion, however, the audience began to hear what they had expected.

    The panelists discussed how to assure the quality of information in an era when there has been a flood of information since the infrastructure to distribute such information was improved.

    Harada predicted that, in the future, the operating system will assist users in selecting only information they will need. "The operating system of personal computers connected to the network will evolve to be an agent in the future," he said. The whole audience listened attentively to the speech made by this "Knowledge Navigator."

    The argument then developed into each company's stance on product development.

    Furukawa said Office 98 Macintosh Edition reflects the needs of Mac users, and emphasized Microsoft's established system reflects users' requests in product development.

    Nishi then asked Harada whether product development driven by engineers' pure needs is out of date. "Engineers would say they have developed what they wanted. Is this kind of product development by computer manufacturers (such as Sony Corp.) passe?" he asked.

    In response to the question, Harada of Apple Japan said it is important to reflect opinions of users in product development, but manufacturers should still take the leadership. He thus confirmed Apple's stance of proposing future computing styles to its users, just like Sony.

    Shortly before the end of the panel session, Harada said the ongoing argument of Apple vs. Microsoft and Mac OS vs. Windows is not appropriate. He criticized the mass media for its simplistic but dominant observation of a platform battle by the two camps, which he said just confuses users more.

    "Although Apple and Microsoft may develop technological battles to explore the future possibilities of the computing society, they are not just trying to develop product battles and compete each other to grab more market share," he said.

    (Nikkei MAC)

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    Updated: Fri Sep 18 16:40:41 1998 PDT