Linked by umad on Thu 25th Aug 2011 22:51 UTC
Apple I thought OSNews would be a good forum to talk about a matter that has been weighing on my mind lately primarily because the site has been so focused on Apple's patents and litigation as of late. The news that HP, the largest PC manufacturer in the world is spinning off or getting out of this business is what really prompted me to write this article.
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It's a good point
by bloodline on Thu 25th Aug 2011 23:05 UTC
Member since:

Apple are going to fight tooth and nail to avoid a repeat of the past!

I can't help wondering now, if Microsoft hadn't stolen from Apple... Then we might still have our Amigas, Ataris, Archimedies and even OS/2 machines... ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE: It's a good point
by kaiwai on Thu 25th Aug 2011 23:25 in reply to "It's a good point"
kaiwai Member since:

Microsoft's own success was the result of the competition being so poorly run at the time - in many cases it was Microsoft who was in second place and only pulled ahead because of good luck combined with mistakes by the competition which resulted them taking the lead. We could have been running IRIX or SUN workstations but it didn't happen because both organisations were hell bent on gouging the customer for every cent they had and more in some cases. Apple as of 1997 were charging an entry price of $4500-5000 for their computers when an mid range PC in NZ at that time was around $2000. Amiga was basically killed by the PC side of Commodore who saw no benefits of dedicating some resource to transforming Workbench into AmigaOS and marketing the benefits of their hardware (I'm sure a transition to MIPS or PPC at the same time Apple did would have made things a lot better).

One thing that needs to be taken into account is that Apple is an entirely different beast than it was 15 years ago (heck, its an entirely different beast than it was 5 years ago). The differentiating factor between Apple and the rest of the industry is the software hence the reason why they guard the exclusivity of Mac OS X so strongly - it is after all at the heart of the Mac just as iOS is at the heart of the i-devices, they make the devices what they are with the hardware merely being a means to an end rather than an ends in itself (hence their interest in patents as well - at the end of the day "hate the game not the player" because at the root of it are politicians who lack the backbone to say "no" to lobbyists). Whilst the rest of the industry has been slashing each others throats and shipping 'more of the same' PC's loaded with Windows, Apple on the other hand has offered 'something different' which makes their product stand out.

I've said this multiple times that the future of the PC relies on either being the hardware manufacturing side operation of Microsoft except being owned by its own shareholders or PC vendors waking up and realising that the only way to protect and improve their margins is developing their own operating system. There are the raw ingredients out there using FreeBSD and other technologies but it seems to me that the vast majority of OEM's don't have the stomach for a long term investment hence they go back to the 'race to the bottom' that has seen HP and IBM leave (or contemplate) leaving the PC industry.

Edited 2011-08-25 23:31 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 7

RE[2]: It's a good point
by unclefester on Fri 26th Aug 2011 07:35 in reply to "RE: It's a good point"
unclefester Member since:

The reality is that Jobs was a crazy hippy and Gates was the greatest businessman in the world. That is why MS won.

In fact Jobs probably would have bankrupted Apple if he wasn't forced to leave in 1985. The Lisa was a total fiasco and the Mac was a commercial failure until people discovered desktop publishing.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: It's a good point
by phoehne on Mon 29th Aug 2011 04:28 in reply to "RE: It's a good point"
phoehne Member since:

There's only one word that matters and that's 'execution.' Microsoft was really running well in the 1980's and 1990's. Maybe they didn't come to market with the best product, but they were well positioned and marketed. They exploited network effects and synergies where they could, keeping other companies from building a viable alternative for third party developers. They weren't above using a little muscle to keep their licensees and third party developers in line, either. Apple, by comparison, may have been putting out a better product, but as a company they weren't executing at the same caliber. Every company makes mistakes but Microsoft wasn't making as many or at least making more manageable mistakes.

As a concrete example, Apple's product lineup was a disaster. Before Jobs came back you couldn't tell if one machine was a better deal because it had a faster CPU, or the other one with slightly better graphics and bundled software. Wordperfect, another example, botched the Windows transition with some pretty shoddy products. I was actually part of a rollback from WordPerfect 6.0 back to 5.1 because it was so bug ridden. (And on Windows 3.1 that was a time consuming process done at the user's PC). Not that users who had spent time with the DOS version were that happy with 5.1 for Windows, either. Coming from DOS the world belonged to Novell, Lotus 123 and WordPerfect. It was theirs to lose and they lost it.

Now we have a Microsoft that's fumbling product launch after product launch and tearing themselves up from the inside with infighting. Apple, by contrast, is executing well. Maybe not everything they do smells like roses, but the are staking out a profitable turf. They are now among the top purchasers of semi-conductors (if not the top). They are at P/E of about 15 which means (relative to their earnings) they are not over-priced. (By comparison: IBM P/E about 14, Oracle 15, SAP 23, Microsoft < 10, HP about 6, which might mean the market does not have great confidence in Microsoft or HP.) At the end of the day it's mostly about how you run your business. If it were only about quality, the world would look very different than it does today.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: It's a good point
by Delgarde on Fri 26th Aug 2011 00:20 in reply to "It's a good point"
Delgarde Member since:

I can't help wondering now, if Microsoft hadn't stolen from Apple... Then we might still have our Amigas, Ataris, Archimedies and even OS/2 machines... ;)

And the interesting question is - would that be a good thing?

What would the industry look like if the Microsoft desktop monopoly hadn't provided a defacto standard, where developers had to produce apps for all the individual platforms, instead of just one that would work on 99% of all desktop computers?

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: It's a good point
by Icaria on Fri 26th Aug 2011 05:23 in reply to "RE: It's a good point"
Icaria Member since:

Arguably, MS' desktop monopoly created further monopolies. It's unlikely that MS or Adobe would have ported their products to the myriad platforms out there, leaving room for competition.

Hell, it might have even avoided the standards mess. Imagine if Office had to market itself as interoperable in order to compete.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: It's a good point
by ricegf on Fri 26th Aug 2011 11:01 in reply to "RE: It's a good point"
ricegf Member since:

The smartphone industry today?

While Adobe may not have ported to every platform, WordPerfect did - and provided excellent service for them all to boot. Their murder by Microsoft's questionable business tactics* was a sad chapter in computing history.

Just saying.

(*I'm referring both to their use of undocumented APIs in Windows to prevent Office competitors from achieving feature parity plus the entire OS/2 / Windows bait-and-switch scam, for example.)

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE: It's a good point
by Carewolf on Fri 26th Aug 2011 07:42 in reply to "It's a good point"
Carewolf Member since:

The thing Microsoft 'copied without consent' from Apple was Video-for-windows, the video-decoding system, nothing critical to the OS.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: It's a good point
by JeffS on Fri 26th Aug 2011 18:19 in reply to "It's a good point"
JeffS Member since:

I think the article has a bit of revisionist history going on. If not that, the author is viewing the case with apple covered glasses.

The big thing that originally made Macs so great, and Microsoft later copied, was the GUI, driven by mouse clicks.

But guess what. Apple didn't invent the GUI. They stole it from Kodak, who had developed it in their labs.

But when Apple implemented it, they did so on the high end of pricing. Then IBM turned around and licensed PC technology to OEMs, which initially used DOS (from MS - actually MS acquired DOS for cheap from someone else), and MS and third party OEMs made "good enough", and cheap, PCs. Then they implemented GUI (Windows) on top of DOS (again, good enough for the times), and did so cheaply, and made it accessible for the majority of consumers.

Yup, Microsoft has most definitely made "good enough" copies of other people's products for most of it's history.

But Apple has never innovated in a vacuum. They've always copied other people's ideas, but took more of the premium, highly refined, higher priced route. Macs, iPods, iPhones - none were first to market. Heck, they didn't even invent multi-touch. They just made it better/slicker/sexier/easier.

And look at this whole iPad tablet design patent blocking Samsung in EU. What a joke. There's an article running at ZDnet today, showing the tablets in the original Star Trek (1960's folks), looking strikingly similar to iPads.

Kudos to Apple for making highly refined, desirable products that are extremely well marketed, and people are willing to pay a premium to get.

But they have never been original innovators.

So they can stuff it when they act like they're great innovators and deserve complete ownership of markets.

And I'm saying that as an iPhone and iPod owner.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: It's a good point
by olefiver on Sat 27th Aug 2011 23:52 in reply to "RE: It's a good point"
olefiver Member since:

But guess what. Apple didn't invent the GUI. They stole it from Kodak, who had developed it in their labs.
Think you're thinking about Xerox PARC...

Reply Parent Score: 1