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Why Apple Failed in the 90s 369

Posted by Zonk
from the no-ipod dept.
An anonymous reader writes "With news of amazing sales figures for both Mac hardware and the iPod, the future for Apple looks bright. But it wasn't always that way. The 90s were a bad time for the company, and Roughlydrafted.com has a look at Apple's failures of the previous decade." From the article: "During the development of Mac OS X, Apple polished the existing classic Mac OS, and salvaged what it could of Copland developments. Apple modernized its existing Mac APIs into Carbon, which would run software in Mac OS 9, and later allow it to run natively in Mac OS X. Despite fixing the obvious flaws in Apple's operating system offering, Mac OS X did not in itself solve Apple's problem. The company now only had an improved platform that nobody had any reason to buy. The real solution to Apple's problem was stumbled onto by a fortunate accident. "
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Why Apple Failed in the 90s

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  • I must be blind... (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 22, 2006 @07:34AM (#16535426)
    ...'cause I can't see anything new or unknown in TFA.

    ---

    Emulated sig. Pat. no. 98739174014532
  • by macadamia_harold (947445) on Sunday October 22, 2006 @07:39AM (#16535456) Homepage
    Why Apple Failed in the 90s

    Because they had no clear corporate direction and their price/performance sucked an ass?

    (just a guess)
  • by bartron (772079) on Sunday October 22, 2006 @07:42AM (#16535468)
    ...it lost direction. Had it continued on that path then yes, the company would have failed.

    The comuting landscame might well have been different in Apple had made better decisions in the past, but that's life and mistakes are made

    As I type this on my MacBook Pro though I can say for sure that Apple isn't going anywhere soon (I say that becasue this is the first Mac I've owned that has given me no reason to move back to Windows

  • by suv4x4 (956391) on Sunday October 22, 2006 @07:51AM (#16535536)
    "The company now only had an improved platform that nobody had any reason to buy. The real solution to Apple's problem was stumbled onto by a fortunate accident." ... and this is where it ends, to be complete later. What a waste of time.
  • Simple answer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bytesex (112972) on Sunday October 22, 2006 @08:00AM (#16535588) Homepage
    No Steve Jobs.
  • Performa line (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sultin (14768) on Sunday October 22, 2006 @08:03AM (#16535604) Homepage
    The performa line from the mid 90s was probably their worste move. I know a number of mac fans that went out and purchased one of these machines not knowing how gimped they really were. Tons of the "good" mac software couldn't run on those machines as they had much lower quality components. The bigest problem was that they had no math co-processor.

    Virtually none of the documentation for these systems mentioned that they were less than a real mac, so most of the people that purchased them just ended up thinking that the whole platform was a joke.

    This is when I went from a strictly mac guy to a *nix fan, eventually being forced to move to the PC. I must say OSX has got me saving my pennies to get back into the mac world.
  • Apple didn't fail. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by krell (896769) on Sunday October 22, 2006 @08:26AM (#16535716) Journal
    At the beginning of the 1990s, there was an Apple Computer. At the end of the 1990s, there was still an Apple Computer. Count it as a success, considering all the companies that did not make it.
  • cloning (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Sunday October 22, 2006 @08:28AM (#16535726)
    Something to mention about why the clones failed--Apple paid for all of the R&D costs while the clone-makers were the ones benefitting. In the x86/Windows world, R&D costs are generally spread out amongst the chip and board manufacturers. With Apple in the mid-90s, almost all of the R&D costs were squarely shouldered by Apple. The clones all used the reference board designs, even down to the add-in HPV video cards used in the 1st gen PPC machines. Now that they've moved to the x86 architecture, a lot of the costs are spread back out to other manufacturers. This time around, cloning might be possible, although they'd lose a bit of money from their very respectable hardware margins.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 22, 2006 @08:41AM (#16535786)
    >After Columbus discovered America, everyone and his dog can give 1001
    > reasons why columbus has succeeded. Where were these expects before then?

    Actually he failed.
    His goal was to reach India (to establish trade os spices/etc through sea).
    He end up in Caribbean islands with no spices to trade (he found some gold there
    tho it was not much).

    King John II of Portugal refused to sponsor him based in the advise from a council of astronomers and seamen (they said Colombo's calculations of longitude were wrong).
    So I guess the experts were in King's John II court.
  • Commodity Hardware (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Locarius (798304) on Sunday October 22, 2006 @08:48AM (#16535824)
    The 90s and early 00s were a time of commodity hardware. In these new days of proprietary form factors and integrated sound/video/everything people have resigned themselves to the fact that they will not be upgrading specific hardware components during the life of their machine and are getting a Mac.
  • by Bing Tsher E (943915) on Sunday October 22, 2006 @08:55AM (#16535860) Journal
    Because the company slowly filled up with the kind of smug elitists who represented their userbase, replacing the 'skunkworks hackers' who started the Mac. Slowly, everything became 'process' and the company became steeped in political correctness. It became a matter of pride that employees were allowed to bring their dogs to work with them, rather than just common sense. The staff slowly was filled with people for whom fad practices (i.e. "Object Oriented Everything" took precedence over the old 'Get er' Done' mentality that made the Mac great.
  • You are blind (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Per Abrahamsen (1397) on Sunday October 22, 2006 @09:01AM (#16535888) Homepage
    Because it is not really a technology news site, it started as a blog (before the word was coined), and developed into a community site. There are plenty of technology news sites that pretend to be objective. They are boring. Why should /. immitate them, when it has been pretty successful doing what it does?
  • by WoLpH (699064) on Sunday October 22, 2006 @09:12AM (#16535954)
    Failing isn't always fatal, imho Microsoft failed with Windows too, but that didn't bring them down. Apple failed with bringing there computers to the common people.
  • Definition of PC (Score:3, Insightful)

    by StormReaver (59959) on Sunday October 22, 2006 @09:13AM (#16535958)
    "They couldn't run DOS or Windows, which was the definition of PC ever since IBM applied the letters to its first home computer."

    This is where I stopped reading, and knew that the author was talking out of his ass. There was never a hard and fast (and agreed upon) definition of a PC, with the sole exception of what that first letter means: Personal.

    The notion that a PC wasn't a PC unless it ran MS-DOS is ludicrous to say the least. PC was an attempt at a brand name rather than a generic description, but that isn't how it actually worked. The term PC instantly came to describe a class of computer that could be purchased by individual consumers. I had personal computers from Radio Shack (CoCo 2 and 3) which didn't run MS-DOS long before I had a personal computer from an IBM compatible reseller.

    Several years ago, I booted up my old CoCo 3 and found that the BASIC ROM had a Microsoft copyright. So it's easy to argue that RS-DOS (Radio Shack DOS) was really MS-DOS in disguise. The RS-DOS BASIC syntax was remarkably similar to GW-BASIC. But I hardly ever ran from RS-DOS after getting Microware's OS/9. If you want to see just how pathetic MSDOS+IBM were for the time, fire up an IBM clone running MS-DOS and the CoCo 3 running OS/9 Level 2. The latter cleanly blow the doors (and Windows) off the former.
  • by MightyYar (622222) on Sunday October 22, 2006 @09:47AM (#16536106)

    When you watch Star Trek, you root for the Borg, don't you? Admit it, you admire their efficiency and lack of self-importance.

    Since you made some generalizations about me as a Mac owner, I'll make some about you: You think that public art is a "waste of money" and you usually "don't get it". You can't imagine why someone would spend extra money for a prettier car. There should only be two types of cars on the market: Dodge Caravans (for folks with kids) and Honda Civics. You don't understand fashion and wouldn't ever just buy a shirt that you saw because you liked it - you would only buy it if you had some pre-existing need for a shirt. You hate people in business suits, but you also hate people who dress "differently" from societal norms: punks, goths, artists, etc.

    That's fine - diversity is what makes humanity so interesting. Some of us like to enjoy our pointless existence for the short time that we're here, and others of us are border-line autistic.

  • by jellomizer (103300) on Sunday October 22, 2006 @09:55AM (#16536170)
    Apple did fail. It didn't Die but it did fail. People were switching from Macs to PC. Apple was dyeing and it would have died if it didn't change its ways. If you look at an Apple Today vs. Apple 10 years ago the differences would be Clear.

    OS X vs. Classic Mac OS, Intel Processors, Various iMac Designs, as well Laptop Designs. It is a huge change. Vs. say with PCs Same boring box, Windows 95 vs XP, not much a change. But PCs were the leader. But Apple has changed because it did fail. but to prevent it from dyeing it changed almost completely. Even the logo changed.
  • by fermion (181285) * on Sunday October 22, 2006 @10:06AM (#16536246) Homepage Journal
    It would be my assertion that people would rather buy polished turds than unpolished ones, and would in fact pay a premium. The reality is that in the 90's, just like now, the Mac worked. It worked without EMM hell, without printer hell, and without driver hell. You could hook up a external mass storage drive without hacking the BIOS. You could, and still can, hook up a keyboard to any available port that the cord will fit in, and the keyboard will work.

    What the article, and most analysis, misses, is the profound change in the market. A firm should have a plan to compete with other firms, and should try to anticipate future market trends, but cannot predict, and in fact should not build, massive unpredictable trends into the business. So, when the Lisa was in development, the competition was mostly the IBM PC, which was very expensive. Compaq came in around 82, and shifted the market. However, the compaq was still a very expensive machine, but cheaper than and IBM PC. The Mac was created to compete with the new reality.

    To give some perspective on the time, let's look at a third player: ATT. ATT created a wonderful not unreasonable priced PC. It had the advantage of running Unix, the only really workable OS we had at the time. I used one. It was great. It failed because it did not anticipate the market as well as Apple, and becuase it did not have as polished a GUI as Apple.

    So we are talking hardware here. What about the OS. Well, for most the OS did not matter. People bought computers to run an application or two. The Apple had Excel, just like the Apple had Visicalc. This was one of three things that caused great trouble for Apple. First, when MS Hacked together MS Windows, there was a cheap alternative to Apple. Second, when MS ported Office to MS Windows, the cheap alternative to Apple. Third, the price of the PC went into a sharp decline, and though Apple was still competitive with name brand PCs, the were no longer competitive with the off brand boxes. As a result, significant vertical market began to appear for the PC, often ported from Unix, and the PC became a single vendor solution, despite the fact the major MS FUD was don't buy Apple because it was a single vendor solution.

    So how did the Computer industry respond to this. Well, Compaq began using commodity parts, but because it had to rely on MS for the OS, and because it was a serious company with serious research, it is now gone. The ATT machine was never able to compete, even when prices were high. The general quality of the whole industry declined, and we found ourselves in a situation where nothing worked. Except for the Apple which was an expensive machine.

    This was until MS Windows 95 when most of the MS hacks were fixed. You could hook up a printer without selling your sole. You still have to do color coded keyboard and mouse. But after 10 years, the PC genuinely worked, and the shift to MS dominance was complete. As all articles state, the fact that the Mac had no serious OS through most of the 90's was also a major factor.

    But I would like to state that all the major pricing changed occurred on the hardware side. MS never matched the changes in the price of the OS. This is the problem of the monopoly. Apple has competed hard in quality and price. Intel has competed hard in quality and price. This has given us the wonderful machines we have, and the wonderful OS to run them. OTOH, MS just gathers money, and only occasionally competes. The most annoying thing of all this is that for the most part, outside of few applications, MS Windows does not work well. The major improvements they have made in on the developer side, which is admittedly a good thing to do. But simple things, like account encryption, which would make everyone life easy, is still at least months away.

    And there is still a major problem with the myth of the cheap PC. In almost every establishment, there has been a profound lack of support, which results in the PC not being used effeciently.

  • by daviddennis (10926) <david@amazing.com> on Sunday October 22, 2006 @10:52AM (#16536502) Homepage
    People who hate Microsoft founded the site, and still control it.

    I would say that a very high percentage of people who love computers, as opposed to simply making a living off them, hate Microsoft.

    For many of us, Microsoft's invasion of pretty much everything we held dear made computing a gray, unlovable world whose primary feature was continuous crashes.

    Windows 2000 came close to fixing the crashes, and Windows XP was less gray and grim than previous versions. Just as Microsoft started to look almost tolerable, an explosion of malware came, creating waves of horrible problems that required you to become a security expert just to run a PC.

    At the same time, open source software, whether free as in liberty or beer, gave us new hope for an alternative that wasn't priced out of the market by the soulless commodity PC. It co-opted the commodity pricing but added an interface we're familiar with and like.

    At the same time, it was still a commodity PC, a product that was slapped together by the cheaper-is-better brigade. It's great to save money, not so great to be saddled with hardware that scrapes our knuckles every time we added RAM.

    So Apple came on the scene. Want a system that works at base like Linux, but has style and flair and beautiful fonts? Want something more modern than that awful X-Windows, that wasn't even that great when it was founded 30 years ago? Want some cool ways to get reative with photos, music and video?

    Well, then, Apple's stuff was made for you.

    Apple has created an interesting split among us. Those of us who like using our computers instead of tinkering with them, and who have some disposable income, love Apple. Those who think the principle of open source is better than having things work out of the box, or who don't have the extra bucks, love Linux. Sometimes we'll have fights, sometimes bitter ones, but in the end we're really cut out of the same cloth.

    (Have you ever noticed the bitterest fights often come from people who are almost the same? But that's a question for another day.)

    I hope that has explained something of the reason for Microsoft hatred, and why Slashdot covers the stories it does, the way it does.

    D
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 22, 2006 @12:02PM (#16537046)
    (Sorry, have to respond anonymously since I moded you insightful; just a couple comments):

    Want something more modern than that awful X-Windows, that wasn't even that great when it was founded 30 years ago?
    Apart from the fact that X11 is not quite 30 years old (From the appropriate Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org]: X originated at MIT in 1984. The current protocol version, X11, appeared in September 1987., I think this comment is slightly unfair. Even if XWindows is clumsy in some aspects and can be a hog on a network, you really need to consider the context. It isn't an architecture, which is totally owned and controlled by a single manufacturer. It needed to serve a diverse variety of platforms, which weren't owned and controlled by a single vendor. And I'd wager that it does that pretty well.
    Those of us who like using our computers instead of tinkering with them, and who have some disposable income, love Apple.
    For those that love a rock solid foundation, without spending 6 month to get everything right on a laptop (and yes, I know the pain) there's Ubuntu [ubuntu.com]. Granted, the Gnome interface isn't quite as slick as OSX on my sweeties Powerbook (which you have to claw from her cold, dead fingers; if you ever want to supply her with a different computer), but in essence it does exactly what you expect: It is an OS, which essentially just bloody works. Sure, you may have to apt-get an ATI package, to get the screen to resolve appropriately and it's probably not your first choice if you don't know and don't want to know anything about operating systems. Else then that and in terms of usabilty (save for the really slick design of the OSX UI) it does exactly that.
  • Re:Cold truth (Score:4, Insightful)

    by perlchild (582235) on Sunday October 22, 2006 @12:04PM (#16537072)
    If my computer help days are any indication, J Random User expects YOU to tell him about Macs, no matter how unsatisfied he is, he will NOT try to learn about the alternatives. He will just bitch and moan about how expensive it gets to maintain this computer, while trying not to spend a cent more than he has to, and hoping he could just junk it. When non-techies have a bad experience buying technology, they don't assign blame to themselves(for making the wrong choice) or to the maker of the technology(since for them it's all the same). They blame technology in general. As a better educated user, you can(if you are so inclined) let them know the experience can vary with the provider, and not despair. You can also share stories, either of what worked for you, or what didn't. Some of it may even be good business for you(they might pay you to install them a Mac). Then again, Macs tend to be lower-support than PCs, especially on AppleCare YMMV.
  • by daviddennis (10926) <david@amazing.com> on Sunday October 22, 2006 @12:18PM (#16537172) Homepage
    I sort of speak from a mid-90s perspective here, when I was using SGI computers because I just couldn't take how ugly X-Windows on Linux looked. SGI's sense of aesthetics was class-leading until Steve Jobs unveiled MacOS X. No matter what else you may say about Steve, his mastery of computing aesthetics has been absolutely unsurpassed in our largely beauty-deprived industry.

    The mid-90s were where I founded a lot of my deepest views about computing, and this is an intersting problem for Microsoft. I would never buy an American car beause I hate the way US automakers made inferior junk in the 70s, and don't trust them. I can say the same thing about Microsoft; however much their OS may have improved, I still remember how horrible it was back then, and fear that if I use it it will once again leave me bitterly disappointed as it has in the past. (Even the machine I use to test my work on Windows makes me think this is still all too true).

    I have a comparable problem with Linux; I love my MacOS X products, they serve me exceptionally well, so there is little point in trying something new, especially if it's still at least somewhat inferior. (Having to apt-get display drivers is a bit of a clue that this is still the case.)

    In the 90s, where SGI was too expensive, Windows too crashy and Linux too raw, I was ready for something new. That opening seems to have pretty much closed for me today since I'm so happy with where I am, and - amazingly enough! - my chosen side has even been gaining considerable market momentum..

    D

  • by mgv (198488) * <Nospam.01.slash2 ... Aorg minus punct> on Sunday October 22, 2006 @12:42PM (#16537324) Homepage Journal
    Sadly, that's US market share. Their worldwide market share barely moved. Which I can understand, cost isn't as important here, go to India or China, cost is everything. Even with the reputed higher maintenance effort needed for Windows systems, labor is definitely cheap enough to cover that.

    I would agree with this (I haven't seen figures for Australia but I'm sure its similar to the US - you see those glowing apple logo's everwhere there are laptops now). In the emerging markets, cost is everything. Of course, Linux is cheap, and is a real threat to Microsoft there where people actually look at the true cost. (Thus the very stripped down cheap version of windows for the asian markets).

    That software isn't a problem. That software can be removed. What might be considered a problem is a webcam in every computer. Some companies don't like that.

    There is also application availability, many corporations need some obscure or custom app that's not available on OS X, and the cost of Parallels and the maintenance hassle of supporting something like that might not be worth it, that sort of arrangement would more than offset the ease of OS X maintenance.


    I wouldn't argue with your analysis. There are lots of reasons why corporations may not be that interested in an apple computer, even if it is equal cost wise. Of course, when you consider the camera a negative, ignore the apps and have to add in a WinXP licence to each apple laptop, its not surprising that you see business passing over apple computers.

    Likewise Apple hasn't put nearly the effort into enterprise that Microsoft has. Which is not to say that they have done nothing, but really apple is just starting to turn its attention there, and probably not that seriously yet.

    What they have done so very well is aim for the home user. All those apps that many companies would delete (iMovie, iDVD, iPhoto, etc) are the very reason that people buy a Mac. I know people who bought an apple simply to use the video editing alone (home use, not professional).

    There is an obvious connection with the iPod here - very few corporate buyers, pretty good sales.

    That is not to say that apple couldn't or shouldn't compete in the corporate world. But if they had chosen to do this directly, they would have gone against the M$ juggernaut, and lost badly.

    The flip side is that M$ is producing an operating system that is primarily designed to be sold to enterprise. The home user sales flowed on from this because people didn't see a better alternative. And M$ wasn't that interested in producing it. The burden of antivirus software, for example, is alot lower in the enterprise when you have a team of IT people who manage all the machines anyway. They are going to enforce corporate policy, restrict individual users, and so on. In this fashion you can make a windows machine relatively secure. Few home users can do this properly for themeslves. Few ever will.

    Look at where Apple is pusing things. Take automated data backup - aka - "Time Machine" in the lepoard release of OS X (10.5). This is something that home users should do, and that M$ have never bothered to do properly. Does this matter in the enterprise? Does anyone see corporations supplying individual users with a USB HDD and telling them to do daily backups?

    So to expand on my original statement. The future for Apple is the home user market. There was a time when only a company would fork out the money (>$4000) to buy one of those expensive compter things. Back then the company that made an OS for that purpose was always going to win the day. Lots fought for this title. Microsoft won.

    Today, that market still exists, and is huge. Its also commodity hell for the manufacturers. Today a $1000+ system starts to look expensive to the enterprise, but lots of home users will spend that sort of money, or more, on a variety of consumer electronics. This is a whole new market, but nobody really noticed its potential until a couple o
  • by dfghjk (711126) on Sunday October 22, 2006 @12:54PM (#16537400)
    "You could hook up a external mass storage drive without hacking the BIOS."

    So could the PC. That one makes no sense. No doubt macs were easier to set up. There were closed systems after all.

    "The general quality of the whole industry declined, and we found ourselves in a situation where nothing worked. Except for the Apple which was an expensive machine."

    That's complete bullshit. PC compatibility was spotty in the early years but it steadily improved. There was no idustry-wide decline in quality as you say. Exactly the opposite.

    "You still have to do color coded keyboard and mouse."

    You seem a little fixated on this as though it matters. If this were an actual problem then the PC world would have switched to USB by now. They haven't because it doesn't in spite of the fact that the PC industry developed the solution.

    "This is the problem of the monopoly."

    Microsoft didn't have a monopoly at this time. It competed with OS/2 for the desktop and many alternatives on the server side. Pricing for Windows at the time was modest compared to the hardware costs.

    "MS just gathers money, and only occasionally competes."

    So this explanation of Apple's failure is degenerating into a rag on Microsoft? What a surprise.

    "In almost every establishment, there has been a profound lack of support, which results in the PC not being used effeciently."

    That's also bullshit. There are reasons why PCs are in business and Macs aren't. One is multiple source, Another is the availability of business apps and compatability. Another is support. Vendors don't get into large accounts without being able to provide support. That's where IBM made its money, and vendors learned to compete by offering similar levels of support. There's a reason Dell is dominant and Gateway isn't. Dell learned how to sell to big business.

    "And, with XP, with the admin lockout, the deficiency in support is even more evident..."

    You're going crazy here.

    "And these machines are not cheap. If support personnel was adequate, we would be looking at an additional $100 per years per machine, and that is just at the local level."

    Sounds like your company doesn't know how to support its employees. The myth is that somehow that would be different with Apple. None of that matters because it isn't central to Apple's decline.

    The fact is that PCs were an open documented standard that fostered a clone business that operated effectively under the umbrella of IBM's (and later Compaq's) high margins. The multiple source nature of the platform encouraged adoption as well as hardware and software development by 3rd parties. PCs ran multiple operating systems, came in all shapes and sizes, and could be used for a variety of applications. Meanwhile, Apple chose to keep their platform closed until their market share slipped away from them, and once they opened it they found themselves getting beaten by their clones because they didn't have the market position that IBM had when they were in a similar situation. Of course, IBM was eventually forced out of the market as well.

    Microsoft was a ferocious and merciless competitor, but by the time they established Windows as a monopoly Apple's dominance was long gone. It was the ubiquity of the PC that did Apple in, not Microsoft. Large accounts are what made the PC and Apple was foolishly never a player there. Arguably they could not be since they weren't established in business like IBM and they were the sole champion of their platform, unlike the hundreds selling the PC.
  • by johnpaul191 (240105) on Sunday October 22, 2006 @01:50PM (#16537780) Homepage
    the CRT iMac made big the impact though. 1) LCDs were still very expensive and not as common 2) the iMac was relatively cheap for a Mac. it was not the high performance machine, it was great for schoolwork and internet. the things that most people do on their computers.
    think of all the translucent colored things that came out following the original CRT iMac. it was "cute" as opposed to beige and ugly. i realize the power of that may be lost on people reading /., but to a lot of people it became a piece of art/decoration as much as a tool to to schoolwork. there is definitely a segment of people that feel that "if i HAVE to own a computer, it might as well look nice".
    obviously nice is subjective, but Apple hit it with a lot of people where other companies failed. when the original iMac shipped it was considered a disaster in the making, by techie people, because it lacked a floppy drive. i heard nrrdly fathers argue that exact point to their college bound daughters in computer stores. dropping that dinosaur thinking is what allowed Apple to break out from the 90s slump, while the rest of the industry scrambled to catch up. take that as opinion, but a lot of them came out with "iMac killers". they cared enough to design something specifically to compete with those little gumdrops.
  • by bigtrike (904535) on Sunday October 22, 2006 @02:38PM (#16538086)
    I couldn't agree more about the classic Mac OS. Not only was it unstable (I typically experienced a total system lockup about once a day), but it also offered absolutely nothing for power users. And not only was that hardware to run it very expensive, it was also slow.

    Apple's turnaround has come because they got a number of things right for a change. After about 10 years of of PC use with mixed windows and linux operating systems, I've come back to being a Mac owner. There are a number of reasons. The OS is very usable for all levels of user. They also managed to make USB a standard and switch to other standards (such as DVI and VGA), which makes owning a Mac more affordable because you can use peripherals which are cheaply available. They realized that people wanted computers which are pretty on the outside. OSX also allows the user base to port just about any standard unix application to run on a Mac. The Intel switch was another great move, now Macs are actually fast computers as well (unless you're running under Rosetta, and even then it's not terrible.

    Microsoft is currently repeating a lot of Apple's failures in the 90s. They're trying to create products for markets which don't exist. They've let Windows become stagnant, the last revolutionary upgrade which brought vast improvements was Windows 2000. XP and Vista are nice updates, but just baby steps.
  • by DECS (891519) on Sunday October 22, 2006 @05:21PM (#16539146) Homepage Journal
    Thanks for calling me a young kid. I've been feeling like an old man for a while now, so that makes me smile.

    I've used Macs since 1984 (although I was just drawing pictures then), and before that I played on the Vic20, Apple II's, the ST, the Amiga, an Apple IIGS.

    I've managed million dolllar IT budgets for Microsoft enraptured dotcoms as they went under, and I followed NeXT while they whimpered out into irrelevance.

    I was a developer through the move to Rhapsody and Mac OS X, and I'm a bit happy to see somebody with vision and a pulse injecting a challenge into the waters of IT.

    Apple has also pushed POSIX (the same Linux/UNIX platform) into the mainstream, and helped Linux to challenge the NT monoculture.

    So fogive me if I bubble enthusiastically about seeing a product I like be popularized by a fascinating company with interesting personalities and class and charm.

    Also, if you are going to blow stink about my "inaccuracies," please lay them out instead of just making unfounded bullshit claims. I think you really are just bitter because you have nothing really interesting to say.

    And for what its worth, I've written well over a hundred articles this year, and three have been posted to Slashdot in my lifetime. EVER. THREE EVER. So don't rain on my parade just because you have nothing to contribute to the world but your worthless trolling.

  • by linguae (763922) on Sunday October 22, 2006 @06:00PM (#16539480)

    There is much more to a nice interface than eye candy. Aqua is more about usability than it is about eye candy. All of the features of OS X, from the dialog sheets for opening and saving files, to Expose, to fast user switching, to Spaces and Time Machine in the Leopard demo, have a wonderful way of integrating eye candy with usability to create the ultimate user interface.

    I was a longtime KDE user on FreeBSD before buying a Mac a few months ago. KDE is a very great desktop environment. However, I feel that its default themes and artwork are created by programmers who want eye candy for the sake of having eye candy instead of seasoned graphics artists and designers who know all of the theories and practices behind graphic communication with user interfaces. Look at the fonts and icon sizes of a typical KDE desktop, for example. Look at that of a OS X desktop, and compare. I'm not saying that KDE is a bad desktop (it's a very great desktop); I'm just saying that some more polish is needed for their themes. Eye candy for the sake of having eye candy hurts my eyes. Eye candy with a regard for graphic communication and UI makes for a very pleasing computing experience.

  • Re:AUX worked... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 22, 2006 @11:26PM (#16542030)
    ...I had a couple of customers with 500+ Mac II's and III's that almost never crashed...

    I'll bet that Mac III never crashed! How can a machine crash if it never existed?
     
    ...a Mac III with a Radius monitor was the fastest AutoCAD system around.

    Next time, when you're trying to impress us all with your Macintosh creds, try not to fabricate machines that never existed.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 23, 2006 @12:21AM (#16542380)
    It wasn't the fancy colored iMacs, the iPod, OS X or any great products that Apple made. It was understanding that their failure was that M$ was locking them out of the market. The SOLUTION was to sell great products direct to the public. That's it. Period.

  • by phillymjs (234426) <slashdot&stango,org> on Monday October 23, 2006 @12:56AM (#16542624) Homepage Journal
    I don't know if it was so much the selling direct as it was simply having a place where display-model Macs were prominently displayed and well taken-care of, with staff who could answer questions about them correctly-- as opposed to dirty, broken/sabotaged, disparaged by the sales staff, and shoved in the farthest corner of the store from the entrance (CompUSA, I'm looking at you!-- even after the 'store within a store' deal you made with Apple).

    ~Philly
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 23, 2006 @09:30AM (#16545562)
    >> That the classic Mac OS was no good? It was certainly scads better than anything M$ was dribbling out.

    > No it wasn't. Classic Mac OS lacked virtual memory, memory protection, multitasking, shared libraries and on the whole
    > was way behind Windows technologically.

    Not exactly... Windows 1.0 didn't have memory protection, and its virtual memory was software-based and on the whole not really superior to the Mac's "purgeable" resource mechanism. For multitasking, Switcher was available in 1985, but that was more like a TSR than true multitasking, and you needed a Fat Mac with 512k RAM to run multiple programs anyway.

    Windows had DLLs before the Mac had Shared Libraries, but they were mostly a joke technologically, causing more problems than they solved. When the Mac finally introduced Shared Libraries, they were fairly sophisticated and transparent.

    > Windows had gradually evolved to take advantage of improved hardware, and become a more 'modern' OS.
    > Meanwhile, Mac OS had mostly stagnated, with only modest improvements in System 7

    To be fair, System 7 was light-years ahead of the original Mac OS in terms of features, but after that Apple didn't quite seem to know what to do with it. Not that they weren't trying; they developed A/UX in this period, and started work on Pink/Taligent, which would have leapfrogged Windows if it had been successful.

    The big problem with the original Mac OS was that it wasn't very forward-looking. Jobs insisted that the Mac would be self-contained and never need expansion, which was a recipe for stagnation. Fortunately he was gone by the time more sophisticated Mac models were introduced.

    The 'mob of managers' architecture of Mac OS gave developers a lot of flexibility, but it also made it hard to advance because any time you changed something in the Toolbox ROM, any number of things at different levels could be affected by it.

    > before OS X, the underlying OS was always a joke, and could never technically stand up to Windows

    Mostly true, but remember that the Mac OS was much more complex than DOS/Windows at first. It was a Herculean effort to develop, and the result was effective not because it was more technically advanced, but because it DIDN"T MATTER if it was-- the user did not see the difference, and didn't care, because it just worked! Only when Apple tried to carry the Mac into the future did users suffer the growing pains that you describe.

    Apple was so convinced of their superiority, they developed the OS through navel-gazing rather than looking outward to what other advances were being made in operating systems. Whenever a feature was suggested for improving the design of Mac OS, Apple shouted "Not Invented Here!" Microsoft at least was hiring OS experts and looking at what PCs would be capable of in the near future. And for all the advances Microsoft made, they still didn't have a decent file system until NTFS in 1993, and most users didn't benefit from it for years afterward.

    Personally, I think Amiga was the benchmark Apple should have compared the Mac against. As soon as they saw what the Amiga could do, they should have said "okay, there's the bar-- anything we release from now on has to be AT LEAST as good as what the Amiga can do!"

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