Former Apple employee on why Apple developed Final Cut Pro X

Fri, Jul 1, 2011


Apple’s Final Cut Pro X has generated a whirlwind of controversy with the underlying theme being that Apple effectively decided to abandon the video professionals who swore by Final Cut Pro 7.

Amidst the outrage however, people are overlooking the fact that Apple’s scaling back of FCP might have been purposeful. Though folks like to think of Apple as a trusty friend, make no mistake that they’re a for-profit company looking to appeal to as broad of an audience as possible to sell as much hardware as possible.

To that end, former Apple employee Sachin Agarwal recently wrote a post explaining the impetus behind Final Cut Pro X. Note that Agarwal is particularly equipped to discuss the topic as he worked on Final Cut Pro from 2002 to 2008.

So onto the explanation.

Long story short, Agarwal writes that Apple simply doesn’t care about the pro market and is instead more preoccupied with the much larger, and hence much more profitable, prosumer market. After all, why go after a few thousand professionals when you can go after a few hundred thousand?

But things changed in 2006 and 2007. Serious competitors to Final Cut Pro came from Adobe, Pinnacle, Sony, and others. People were choosing their hardware and software based on format support, or specific features they needed.

That’s boring. Apple doesn’t play that game.

So it was time to reinvent the video editor. And Final Cut Pro X really delivers there. FCPX isn’t defined by a feature chart. It’s not trying to do more than its competitors, it’s doing it better.

And once again, Final Cut Pro stands on its own. And once again, Final Cut Pro will expand the market of video editors out there, and I’ll be one of them.

Is it possible serious video professionals will defect over to Avid and the like? Sure. The only thing is that it’s a sacrifice Apple is more than willing to make.


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