By Jon Fortt
October 19, 2006

This apparently comes as a shock to Gartner, but Apple Computer is, at its very core, a company that creates holistic products that combine hardware and software.

Suggesting that the creator of the Mac and the iPod get out of the hardware business (which Gartner did, here) seems more than a bit wacky. It sounds a bit like suggesting that Dell get out of the PC business and become a contract manufacturer, or that Hewlett-Packard get out of the printer business and become a spy agency.

Plus, Gartner’s advice just doesn’t add up. If Apple weren’t in the hardware business, it wouldn’t have had the expertise to create the iPod. And if Apple were to ditch the hardware business, it would lose an overwhelming percentage of its loyal user base, rendering its future moves much less relevant. (It also wouldn’t have the blowout quarter it just achieved on Mac and iPod sales.)

Those of us who have followed the Mac for an extended period are well aware that Apple’s hardware announcements generate far more buzz than its software announcements.

Looks like this was Gartner’s attempt to think outside the box and generate a lot of discussion. But really – best to do that with an idea that at least makes a little sense. Apple out of the hardware business? Hard to take that seriously.

UPDATE: A commenter has indicated that this is an old piece of advice from Gartner that ZDNet accidentally recycled. Even if so (and that’s not clear), much of the points above still stand – it looks like Gartner gave some pretty lousy suggestions.

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