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Apple relents, begins selling "old" Final Cut Studio again (arstechnica.com)
51 points by k33l0r 1823 days ago | hide | past | web | 51 comments | favorite

Apple has the resources to own a big piece of the pro media market too - Mac Pros, Final Cut Pro, Color, Shake, Final Cut Server, Logic, XSan, OS X Server, etc. - they keep systematically destroying these for some reason.

I think Apple's corporate culture and ego, however, doesn't lend itself at all to this market - this market requires communication and feedback between developers and end-users, and roadmaps of upgrades and bug fixes and features, all things that Apple doesn't do for the most part.

All in all it is a shame in any event - I had a friend who runs a video editing department with 20 editors, and they literally just completed a very large Final Cut Server install a few weeks before FCPX (not Final Cut Server compatible) and the very sudden EOL of Final Cut Server. Of course it will work fine for a while, until hardware/OS render it obsolete/incompatible, but what about bug fixes, support, etc?

Apple's margins and revenue are much better for consumer technologies (iOS) than for their pro lines (which certainly explains at least some of their reasoning behind all but outright abandoning the Pro market).

Source: http://www.asymco.com/2011/07/26/apple-has-moved-on/

I understand that, but they can still do Pro as well w/o hurting their bottom line - plus IMHO there are LOTS of implicit and indirect benefits to Apple overall by having the Pro community still being Apple evangelists.

On the other side of it, if they are not really going to do Pro, then just don't do it all and stop mucking around and pretending - sell off the line to someone who can handle it properly - what they did by EOLing Shake was terrible terrible terrible

I don't know... Photoshop didn't sell Macs, but iPods and iPhones did. The time and energy is takes for them to produce pro software versus the return on investment is probably too low. It's such a small market, relative to general consumers.

There are broadcast customers with installations of hundreds of FCP seats [1]. I suspect that Apple discovered that they may have contractual obligations to these customers due to the way Final Cut Server was sold.

It's easier to bring back the product in the most limited distribution possible, rather than risk a lawsuit.

[1] For example, Norway's national broadcaster NRK has 200+ FCP seats just for their video library: http://broadcastengineering.com/mag/nrk-keeps-watchful-0709/

I read earlier that Lion was Apples "Vista" moment.

The FCP situation is more reminiscent of what happened with Vista - where MS had to extend the life of WXP until they offered something better.

Although, it'll be interesting to see how well Lion is doing in terms of market share at Apples next event.

Whatever happens with FCPX is utterly insignificant compared to the rest of Apple. To call this a Vista moment is laughable.

The point was that what's happening with FCP closely tracks the problem history of Vista, not that the problems are of the same scope. If you reread the parent comment, you will not find him calling this "a Vista moment".

While Vista sold 20 million copies within its first month (double that of XP), Lion sold one million copies on its first day. Judging from those numbers, and taking into account that Macs have a global market share of about 5% overall, I'd say Lion's doing pretty well.

I'm no expert in this area at all, and this is purely a theory: My impression is that Apple and MS users are quite different, in that when a new Mac OS comes out a far higher percentage of users are excited and wanting to upgrade, whereas when a new Windows comes out a far higher percentage of people are left thinking "I'll upgrade whenever I next buy a computer".

I remember my roommate going out and buying Windows 95 on release day (possibly even at midnight). Since then, my experience matches yours, but I'd be interested in seeing some numbers.

Not to mention the HUGE price difference. I'd probably still be on Leopard if it wasn't for the fact upgrades are $6/seat.

Hopefully Apple will start selling computers with Snow Leopard again.

This might as well turn into a new New Coke [0].

[0] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Coke

I'm not sure that this actualy means anything. Just a pragmatic move while they get the pro features into FCPX.

I guess if there is any hidden message it might be that they are wanting to keep the pro's onside - which might be good news for the direction of FCP and Logic.

(also to note that there is nothing actually wrong with FCPX - I'm using it everyday working on some marketing materials right now. I can see that Pros are missing some features which is fair enough but it's an extremely usable application and I'm finding it very friction free to work in)

FCP X is more like "Aperture for video". It's a completely different app from the old FCP, which offered an editing paradigm in tune with the conventions of the TV/film post-production industry.

Editing video in FCP X feels a lot like manipulating photos in Aperture: it's great for quick adjustments, but doesn't allow the kind of meticulous control you'd get with Photoshop. Unfortunately Apple doesn't have that kind of control-oriented video product anymore, so those looking to move up from FCP X will have to go with either Avid or Adobe.

Aperture is a workflow management tool that allows you to do a ton of photo editing too. A photojournalist, for instance, wouldn't need any more power. FCP X, as you say, represents a similar approach.

But, the problem isn't that it isn't the video equivalent of photoshop — that's After Effects or (maybe) Motion. The problem is that FCP X is missing basic "Apeture" functionality like any kind of real audio editing, or the ability to export to another program.

>also to note that there is nothing actually wrong with FCPX - I'm using it everyday working on some marketing materials right now. I can see that Pros are missing some features which is fair

Just because it works for your use cases, does not mean there is "nothing actually wrong with [it]". Drawing that kind of conclusion is either ignorant of or disingenuous to the realities of software.

>missing some features

FCP X is nothing but iMovie Pro. It's completely, utterly unusable by professional editors. Even the key commands are not the same, and film/music editors live by key commands (see all the FCP/Media Composer keyboards on the market).

It means a lot to professionals.

The update is hilarious:

'Update: An Apple spokesperson told The Loop that the company has "a limited quantity of Final Cut Studio still available through Apple telesales to customers who need them for ongoing projects."'

Don't Apple know how they can make more copies ... if they don't someone else will do it for them.

I wonder how many people will take advantage of this given that you can't get it in stores or online.

Given that the old version is $700 more than the new version this 'offer' is only aimed at those people who really really need the high end professional functions stripped from the new version of FCP (and they'll probably be cursing Apple and muttering something about switching to Avid as they place the order).

Of course, Avid Media Composer costs at least $3000 so they will probably just stay with FCP.

When I follow this link from the US I see: €2,136.05 – €2,216.00 (roughly $3000).

Based on the other posts, maybe you misread € for $?

In the US, "Price $2,295.00 – $2,495.00"

When I follow your link from the UK it lists the price as £1,869.95 which is about $3000. Outrageous.

Maybe that $3000 includes VAT?

"more than 8,000 people signed a petition that demanded the source code to Final Cut Pro 7 be sold to a third party"

I wonder that anyone would make such a short sighted demand. Apple should properly release the source code of Final Cut Pro 7 to the public under a Free Software license. That would prevent this type of thing from happening again.

I'm not sure that there's enough free software developers that even have the expertise to work on something like FCP. If there are, then where's the GPL video editor that competes? Pro tools like that are still commercial only until someone proves otherwise in code.

It would take a Herculean effort to start such a project, and it would be virtually guaranteed that 1) few people would trust it since it's not a name-brand and 2) it would be several years before it had feature parity. The social and technical inertia combined make it not a good use of time.

Big open-source projects always face both the obstacles you mention. What overcomes the barriers is someone who, regardless, wants to "scratch their own itch." Someone will do it but on their own timetable and terms.

I wish there were a centralized way to crowdsource-fund open source projects...

few people would trust it since it's not a name-brand

Fat lot of good it did to trust a "name brand" in this case.

As long as Apple keeps selling old FCP to those who need it before getting the new Final Cut up to speed feature-wise, I don't see the problem. If you stick with the same old, ugly codebase forever you end up with kludgeware like Photoshop... or Windows. The mistake here was ever taking old FCP off the market in the first place until they got the new one fixed. I mean they are selling it for $300, so that's almost an admittance on Apple's part that the feature set sucks.

I think the free software video editors have been too fragmented to produce one.


>If there are, then where's the GPL video editor that competes?

Not working on it, doesn't mean they don't exist.

It is the same place the os that Competes, and office suite that Competes and whatever else that Competes are. Nonexistant.

How does a tool like Cinelerra compete with FCP's feature set?

Apple relents? There's no way this would have happened on Steve Jobs's watch

Ha! I'm guessing you're being sarcastic?

I just finished listening to John Siracusa on Hypercritical who was making the point that it won't be long until people start saying "there's no way this would have happened on Steve Jobs's watch".

It's easy to see the sarcasm when Steve's only been gone from Apple for a week, but give it a year and people will start forgetting that Apple lead by Steve would go back on decisions when they released they'd made the wrong call.

Another example of this that John gave is when they prematurely removed Firewire from the 13" Macbook. While Steve was CEO they realized that the market wasn't ready for that so they put it back in. And everyone was happy.

In 6 months, if Apple concedes they were wrong on something, will the market think Tim Cook is weak and Apple is doomed?

> Another example of this that John gave is when they prematurely removed Firewire from the 13" Macbook. While Steve was CEO they realized that the market wasn't ready for that so they put it back in. And everyone was happy.

A much better example is iMovie, because the exact same events unfolded as with FCP:

* Apple has iMovie HD 6, a product with its roots in iMac DV but well understood and liked by its users.

* Apple releases iMovie '08, a complete rewrite of iMovie lacking many of HD6's features and completely panned by critics, HD6 is not available anymore

* Apple makes HD6 available as a free download to all iMovie '08 owners

I'm not sure the market even knows what the hell FCP is. If they start putting keyboards on the iPhones, then we can talk.

> Tim Cook is weak and Apple is doomed

Sarcasm aside, that's probably true (ignoring your hypothetical person doing poor inference).

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reference_class_forecasting

What about when they finally relaxed the iOS app store restrictions on third party tools last year?

Wow, just this moment I realized exactly what a hard time Tim Cook is in for!

People are going to forget that Apple ever made any mistakes under Steve although they were obviously testing boundaries aggressively and often retracting decisions. Poor guy!

It's all so extremely hard to judge. I don't plan on ever taking small decisions like this one into account when I evaluate Cook. Not because it's not valuable information, I just feel that you would have to be Steve Jobs to judge whether something was right or wrong and I'm no Steve Jobs. Tim Cook is closer to being Steve Jobs than I will ever be.

More often than not reversals are probably not a sign of Cook's poor performance. But sometimes they could be. There are times when it pays to be stubborn. How am I supposed to judge whether Tim Cook is exactly the right amount of stubborn?

I think the only (more or less) good way of evaluating Cook is to look at Apple's financial performace and even that is hard. Limitless growth is likely not possible, so when Apple's growth inevitably slows or stops, is that a sign of Cook's poor performance or would that have happened anyway?

I think I should right now write down some criteria by which to judge Cook or else I'm in danger of endlessly shifting goalposts.

Truly, we need a second universive with a healthy Jobs to compare.

> I just feel that you would have to be Steve Jobs to judge whether something was right or wrong and I'm no Steve Jobs

This quote made by day, thanks.

Fixing the iPad rotation lock switch was pretty big IMHO. It didn't target pro users or developers. They admitted to the broad mass of end-users that their decision was not satisfactory.

"Final Cut Studio can be purchased for $999 (or $899 for educational buyers). That's the same price the suite was being sold for as of July 2009, but $700 more than its newer replacement, Final Cut Pro X."

Yes, the new one costs 299. Way to make a buck...

Yeah, I mean it's not like that's the original price of FCP7 before it was pulled or anything.

Wait, yes it is, FCPX is basically a different product and production house (the kind of people who will buy a 5-figure piece of single-user software if they need it) have asked for FCP7 to be available again for their production due to features missing from FCPX and the inanity of switching mid-project.

FYI, Avid Media Composer (one of FCP7's competitor) is 3 times the price of FCP7.

Seems like if you really need the old version, you can probably afford the extra $700.

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