This is actually in the form of an "open letter" to Steve
Jobs from an Israeli citizen now living in Montreal
(Quebec). We think it raises some points of concern and hope
the message gets through. Herewith the full text of the
email we have just received:
"Dear Mr. Jobs:
I'm writing to you as an avid Mac user since the Mac
Plus. I'm writing to you as a fan who really appreciates
what you did for Apple since you returned to the
I'm also writing to you as an Israeli.
Israel is one of the most advanced countries in the
world in the field of high-tech. Many people in the
industry consider it to be second only to the American
Silicon Valley. Israel has one of the highest number of
high tech start-up companies per capita. Scitex,
Checkpoint, Mirabilis (icq) and VocalTech (iPhone) are
only a few examples of Israeli companies which have
enjoyed world-wide success after breaking into the
Intel and Microsoft are aware of this. They know that
they can find excellent engineers in Israel. Products
like the Pentium and the MMX were developed largely by
Intel Israel. Intel will also develop all the chips
needed for the next generation of laptop computers in
Israel. Microsoft's biggest R&D offices, outside of
Redmond, are located in Haifa, Israel.
Unfortunately, Apple neglects the Israeli market.
I used to work as a system manager of several large
networks (500 plus users) on operating systems such as
OpenVMS and Windows NT. I think that the MacOS is
superior in some ways to both of them, and with MacOS X
Apple will finally have a real modern OS on every
desktop. This is great, and can change the market as we
know it (the Mac market in Israel is shrinking all the
Here are the problems that Apple is facing in the
1. Internet &endash; The Internet was great for Apple.
The net is open to both Mac and PC users, and helped
bring PC users to the Mac platform. On the Israeli Mac
market, however, the opposite happened. There is no web
browser that supports the Hebrew language. Netscape
Navigator is much better then MSIE in that regard, but
there are still too many Hebrew web sites that the
Israeli Mac user just can't read. Israeli Mac users give
up on their Macs and switch to PCs because they can't
read Hebrew text on so many Hebrew web sites. Part of the
problem is that there are several different ways to view
Hebrew text on the web. The PC version of MSIE supports
all of them.
Another problem &endash; the recent MRJ versions from
Apple won't work with Hebrew script. They did work, up to
version 2.14, and I'm sure that Apple can fix this
problem for the later versions as well &endash; if they
only put their minds to it.
2. Education - for many years Apple was very strong in
Israeli universities; you can see many Macs on college
campuses. These Macs are rapidly being replaced by PCs.
The main reason is the lack of a Hebrew Office package
for the Mac. I know that MS won't help by making a Hebrew
enabled version of MS Office 2001, although Apple (Via
Yeda &endash; the local Apple rep in Israel) was willing
to pay for it. They won't do this because they want to
dominate the entire Israeli market with their OS.
Everyone in Israel uses the PC version of Office. I get
PC Office documents (Word, Excel), via email, almost
daily &endash; I'm forced to use VirtualPC just to view
them. More and more institutes of higher education are
giving up on the Mac for this reason. I firmly believe
that Apple should write a Hebrew enabled version of
AppleWorks that can import/export Hebrew docs from/to the
PC version of MS Office (with MS agreement).
3. Graphics design/Multimedia/3D &endash; This market
was always Apple's strongest. For years, all big design
companies in Israel used only Macs. Today more and more
are switching to PCs. The pro design people need to work
with text as well as with visuals. They need to work with
that PC Hebrew Word file which they received from a
colleague or customer. It's also a nightmare to use
Hebrew with programs such as Photoshop, Freehand and the
like, because of the lack of good Hebrew support. This is
a problem that can be addressed, in my humble opinion, on
the MacOS level.
4. PR - I travel on business. I lived in the Ivory
Coast for over a year, and in that African third world
country, the Mac and Apple's "Think Different" campaign
was more visible than in Israel: big signs on the streets
and posters in stores advertised the Mac everywhere. I've
seen the big Mac campaign in Europe as well. I now live
in Montreal and, of cause, there's no way to compare.
Yeda just doesn't advertise in Israel. Period. The "think
different" campaign, the iMac revolution, the G4
you're not a Mac fan, you didn't hear about any of these
in Israel. Nothing in the major newspapers, no signs in
the streets, and of course, nothing on television. A real
I'm writing to you because I care. I'm really
concerned about the fate of Apple in Israel. If Apple
doesn't do something to save the Israeli Mac market
&endash; perhaps even replace Yeda as its representative
(since there are so many complaints about their service
and support) -- then its market niche in Israel will just
disappear. That will be a sad day, for Apple and for its
users and supporters.
Thank you for taking the time to read my comments. I
look forward to hearing from you.