Expo Report

Hi, comp.sys.next.misc, It's Rohit Khare, with something I hope the net

will appreciate: a complete account of Steve's keynote. It's not a

transcript, but definitely fills in a lot of holes in the net.flashes this

week. Pardon the spelling errors. E-mail suggestions, feedback, and whether

this should be evolved into something fit for sonata or NUGletter


(* starred items are net.trivia and rumors from pretty decent sources)

Steve Speaks

The date may have been January 22, but it was really New Year's Day

for the 5,000 NeXTheads crammed into Brooks Hall. Steve Jobs' keynote

speech marked the opening of what NeXTWorld Editor-in-Chief Dan Ruby

declared "NeXT's breakthrough year." In keeping with Ruby's declaration,

Steve then produced an auld lang syne for 1991 and presented NeXT's 1992

resolutions to blow the competition out of the water with NeXTStep Release

3 and new Turbo systems.

The first slide in his presentation reviewed NeXT's 1991 performance

(*done in Concurrence): $24.5 million in Q1, $25.0 in Q2, $32.5 in Q3, and

$45.6 in Q4, for a total of 440% growth from 1990, amazing for what Steve

called "the worst recessionary market in memory." Corresponding with this

growth in sales volume has been a flip-flop between higher-ed sales and

Fortune 500 sales. In the Cube days, 80% of sales were to education. At the

opening of 1991, 62% of sales were to commercial/government purchasers, and

today 81% of sales are in that sector (*The CIA is very possibly NeXT's

largest single customer today). The change in customers has been reflected

in a parallel channel transformation. Direct sales doubled to 256 sites,

higher ed went from 200 to 370, but the VARs who specialize in selling

solutions to commercial sites soared from 13 to 425. Shipping apps also

rocketed from 63 to 247, as did NeXT User Group membership, to 15,000

members in 250 groups in 28 countries. Similarly, NeXT has shown

astonishing growth overseas. For all of 1991, 57% of sales were in North

America, 28% in Europe, and 15% in Japan (*although for Q3 and Q4 North

American sales may well have dipped below 50% !).

After presenting these statistics, Steve then invited Dr. Hiego Imagi

(sp?), President of Canon, to speak on the Japanese market. Dr. Imagi

warmly praised Steve for his successes and their companies' partnership

(which Steve indicated had begun on the Seventh Day of NeXT), and declared

that NeXT sales in Japan would have a "tremendous leap in 1992." He gave

three reasons why Q3 and Q4 showed spectacular growth in Japan: Release

2.1J, localized and native apps, and downsizing. The downsizing issue

reveals certain valuable characteristics of the follow-the-leader Japanese

market. When a few key corporations embarked on downsizing, it quickly grew

into a national IS priority. Canon has tried to successfully position NeXT

as a part of that movement, with large sales to Yamaha and an unnamed large

car manufacturer. Furthermore, when they closed the 400-station deal with

Osaka University, almost every other Japanese university called to find out

what the leader was doing, and Dr. Imagi announced that 3 other

universities have made a commitment to similarly replace mainframes with

NeXTs. He also alluded to the fruitful Canon-NeXT partnership that produced

2.1J, the MO drive (now dead), the laser printer, the color printer, the

color laser system, and "new and exciting work with flat panels."

Next, Steve discussed lessons learned in 1991. "Who are our

customers? our competitors? What is NeXT's 'compelling advantage'?," he

asked. NeXT was genuinely surprised when they did this exercise in the

summer of 1991, and Steve now presented NeXT's answers. The first group of

customers (*the one Steve is most enamored of) is Financial Services, which

was SUN's first commercial market. He listed Phibro Energy, First National

Bank of Chicago, Swiss Bank/O'Connor (previously SUN's largest site), Union

Bank of Switzerland, JP Morgan, and TRIMARK as installations with triple-

digit commitments to NeXT. Second was Government, at all levels. DoD, Navy,

DARPA (which bought one for every Principal Investigator), the City of

Baltimore, and the LA Sherriff's Department were all mentioned as

significant customers. Unmentioned were NSA and the CIA (*did anyone notice

that 2.88 Mb ED floppies are still export-restricted by COCOM?). Third was

Health Care, where NeXT was piggybacking on explosive healthcare-industry

growth. He mentioned that four hospitals have over 100 slabs each. Finally,

he mentioned that NeXT had not forgotten education. NeXT has now become the

largest selling workstation to students, and has become the overall #2

seller at Stanford and MIT. As for the second question, Steve pulled up a

slide with a giant SUN logo, titled the "Mother of All Competitors." NeXT

has now firmly thrown its lot in with the workstation market and has

abandoned the "PC on steroids" image by co-opting the Intel world and over-

powering the Mac. He stated that in any head-to-head competition with Sun

over a commercial site, NeXT walked away with the order 80% of the time. He

also called the NeXT vs. Sun video "great evening viewing."

The 'compelling advantage' presentation marked the formal debut of

NeXT's first solid marketing message in its three years (* USA TODAY

reported Thursday that Steve Jobs was CEO of the "three-year-old NeXT

Computer, Inc."). He began with the obvious statement that a 50-100%

advantage is not enough to persuade customers to defect to your platform .

Though NeXT's best-of-breed apps were, in fact, 50-100% better than

anything else on any platform, they were not selling the machine. NeXT

needed a compelling advantage, something it did 500-1000% better than any

other platform. Consider the mac, Steve asked. They put together a

graphical computer with a bitmapped-display, and a PostScript laser (and

then they threw Steve out). Only 9-12 months later did someone come up with

desktop publishing, which grew into Apple's compelling advantage, that

which brought Macs into Corporate America through the back door. "Mission-

critical custom apps are our Trojan Horse. Except we're getting invited

through Corporate America's front door," Steve said, and then brought up

the now legendary story of how O'Connor built a 2-year project for SUNS in

90 days in the NeXT. He explained why mcApps are better on the NeXT:

Interface Builder, "mere-mortal" usability, shrink-wrap quality, and

instant integration with 100's of productivity apps. He then trotted out

the soon-to-be-legendary Booz Allen, Hamilton independent study that

tracked 100 veteran SUN programmers migrating to NeXT: 82% declared

NeXTstep the superior to SUN, Mac, DOS, and Windows environments. 100% said

NeXTstep was easier, 91% found it more complete, and programs were

developed 2-9 times faster with an average of 83% less code. Another

section comparing only NeXT and SUN was even more onesided with 96-100%

advantages for NeXT.

Compelling advantage in hand, Steve presented Release 3 with the

usual "E-mail Workout With Steve" format. The new Workspace and NeXT apps

have been colorized in this release, but tastefully enough to avoid "pink

borders and purple menus" (* for example, docked icons now have a slight

gradient behind them. Also, menus and windows were italicized, whether that

makes it into the golden master is unknown). Steve picked up the windows

and raced them across the screen, claiming "If were on a Mac, we'd be here

until NeXT week." Entering Mail, he claimed "Mail is easy enough that even

executives can use it without the manual." One of his mail messages was a

scan of Reed, his four-month-old son, accompanied by a 3-minute CD-quality

classical sound clip (i.e. long enough to realize we are dealing with a

very amazed new father). Next was a praising sound clip from H. Ross Perot.

Also evident was that the new Text object is colorized to allow drag-and-

drop color on selected text. He demonstrated binary file attachment with a

DataPhile document containing the entire Third-Party Catalog. He also

pulled up a WordPerfect window and pointed out it took 48 man-years for the

Windows port, but only 1.5 for the NeXT version (*BTW, the best-of-breed is

fading. WP was showing the X version at Uniforum, and it is almost

identical). The next message was a demo of transparent networking. The

message indicated certain files were on certain system, and he demoed how

he could reach them all through /Net and the Novell icon, or the SUN icon,

or the Teradata icon, or AppleShare (*no Apple logo, only a painted apple),

etc. He grabbed each one in turn and drag-and-dropped them into a Frame

template, pointing out that drag-and-drop has been added to every app in

3.0. "With NeXT networking, we have secretaries navigating the largest UNIX

networks in their cities, and they don't even notice it." Cool Feature #2

was Object Linking. With Distributed Objects, applications can message

objects anywhere on a net, allowing shrink-wrapped distributed apps by the

end of the year, where apps can munch unused cycles anywhere on the net,

Zilla-like. Apparently a RenderServer uses this to slice up huge Renderman

runs. DO's other use is for object embedding. He pulled up Draw and Edit,

copied a Draw graphic, and chose Object/Link from Edit's Edit menu (*Edit

is now integrated with GDB), chose Update Continuously from the Link

Inspector, and watched the crowd gape as he worked in Draw and the RTF file

kept changing. He pointedly observed that NeXTLinks would be the first

shipping object embedding system, and that it had "No New Manuals", and

that "It just works" -- no editions, no publish/subscribe, nothing. He

quickly showed off an improved faxing architecture that introduced fax

groups (* Fourth on the list: Cal_Tech!!), and then went back to Mail to

read the next message. Instead of a message field, there was a lock panel

sitting in the message window. Any message or file can be secured in this

way by a Service using Richard Crandall's new method of public-key Field

Elliptic Encryption (* NeXT avoided the Internet standard just for the sake

of avoiding RSA license fees, I hear). Upon entry of the private key, it

decrypts, and opens with an audible clank and a padlock-opening animation

(Inside it revealed Job's salary had doubled for '92 to $2/year). The last

message showed of the language customizability of 3.0; 3.0 will ship in

seven languages simultaneously (all NextApps have been localized), as will

3.0J (*which is seperate because of the phonetic entry system and the

expense of Kanji fonts, and overhead of composite characters).

Next was the DBKit demo. Essentially identical to the demo he did at

the 2.0 launch. Except this time he publicly hooked it up to some giant DB

servers on stage, like Teradata, Sequent, Prime, and Control Data. The

connection to the Teradata did crash, though, and he asked indulgence of a

Beta system from the audience. Finally, he got to color. He promoted

PostScript Level 2, the color printer (NeXT had hidden print samples under

every third seat, much to the house's delight.), system-wide Pantone

Matching system, and calibrated, device-independent color fidelity. The

showstopper, though, was the Iceman demo. An interactive, fully-compatible

version of RenderMan will ship free on every 3.0 system. The 3D control

panel has fidelity knobs, polygon-shading buttons, and a rotation/scaling

interface based on a 2D projection of the

three othrogonal Great circles of a sphere, with scaling along the x and y

axes. The demo was absolutely stunning, and interactive on a Turbo Color

slab, without even tossing the i860 at it. NeXT's plan is that as hardware

can support it, the fidelity and interactivity will increase. 3D is now

supported in any app, with DPS being imaged on a glass plate in front of

the scene.

Then he came to the hardware. Steve announce that the 3.0 Extended

Edition will ship on CD-ROM in Q2 for $295 (*very reasonable considering

the licensing costs of Pantone, RenderMan, Novell, and the development

cost, and that other workstation manufacturers have 4-digit upgrade fees

and up). The Turbo machines, at 25 MIPS (a suspicious 67% MIPS improvement

for a 33% clock hike), will have a standard 250Mb drive, and the new price

curves have been flattened out by raising the entry to $5995 and $8995 but

reducing the mid-range. Rumor has it that the 3.0/CD-ROM drive deal will be

a $700 bundle. The color printer retails for $3495, and it truly is a real

pricing revolution. Don't compare the prices with an HP PaintJet or a

DeskJet C; this is a serious, calibratable, PostScript color printer that

beats the pants off the competition. The final piece of hardware was the

i486 chip, and Steve invited Dave Hauss, President of Intel, onstage. He

proclaimed that he had been working STeve for 15 years to produce an Intel-

based OS. He claimed he'd never been able to play with Steve's toys before

because he was "allergic to Motorola," and made a great show of sneezing

and hacking when he got close to the Color Turbo. Later, Steve demoed

NeXTstep on a 50 Mhz Compaq, and pulled up some voice-mailed praise from

Intel's Andrew Grove. NS486 is $995 on CD-ROM in Q2, $2495 for all the

development tools. It will do 2-bit SVGA, but needs a bus-mastering color

card to really shine. Steve closed by commenting that "Finally, there's

some good software for PC's"


125 Booths, 200 volunteers.

the World Expo folks put it together in 88 days, compared with the

usual year-or more planning times required for other shows. Hell, at

Uniforum they weren't selling T-shirts for Uniforum '92; they were hawking

Uniforum '93 shirts! Guess that makes another mission-critical custom expo

completed 2-5 times faster with NeXT :-)

Interesting phrases: "gratuitous multimedia" "the three lesses:

diskless, colorless, and useless" "It used to be a computer on every desk.

Now, it's *only* one computer on every desk, please."

Dr. Sam Goldberger of Spherical Solutions fame is actually Son of

Murph, a former Caltech President.

<< If you want to see the next two topics, e-mail me. If there's

enough response, I'll write about Quorum's Mac emulator, Simon Says, and

other Neat Stuff>>

NeXTWorld Exhibits

Uniform Carnival

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[NWX 1992]
See Also (Siblings):
[NWX92..Lore] [NeXT Expo '92 Trip Report-Booths]

NWX'92 - Keynote was converted on Sat Sep 09 22:57:51 EDT 1995 by the eText Engine, version 5, release 0.95