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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Ignores too much...
by galvanash on Fri 26th Aug 2011 00:40 UTC
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The fact that Windows was a conceptual ripoff of Macintosh completely ignores the real reasons that the PC platform became dominant - Windows had virtually nothing to do with it.

Windows 3.0 did not ship until 1990... That is 6 years after Macintosh first shipped. In those 6 years the sales of previous versions of Windows (which were all considered universally useless) were nil. Yes, it was bundled with a lot of systems, but about 98% of users just completely ignored it and used DOS (I know, I was one of them). So Apple had at least a 6 year window of opportunity to sell users on GUIs...

So how did PCs become so popular when there was such a better option available? Two reasons:

1. Because PCs were cheap, and they kept getting cheaper! They were not cheap because of Windows, they were cheap because of clones. This "Robin Hood" effect you speak of exists, but credit should go to Compaq for reverse engineering the IBM BIOS and defending it in court. Microsoft was simply pulled along for the ride and had nothing at all to do with it.

2. Users were NOT ready for ONLY a GUI yet... No one seems to acknowledge this, but at the time it was absolutely true. Experienced computer users knew how to deal with a command line, and they saw a GUI as nothing more than window dressing for dumb users. GUIs were neat and all, but it simply took time for them to development to the point that using one was actually BETTER - for a long time (and yes, even with Macintosh) it wasn't better, it was just different. The problem with Macs was that there was no fallback, it was all or nothing - you did everything in a GUI, or you did nothing. PCs had the advantage (for a VERY long time) of having DOS as a functional fallback.

There are certainly other credible reasons too, a multitude of component vendors that could make hardware without licensing costs, Business users and the success of programs like Word Perfect and Lotus 123 for DOS, etc. All of these things would rank WAY above Windows for being a reason PCs became successfull, frankly Windows did not matter AT ALL until at least 1992, when 3.1 shipped.

ps. To back up my claim about GUIS... I frankly attribute a large part of OSX's success relative to the original Mac OS to the fact that it actually HAS a functional CLI - if it didn't there is a rather large portion of it's userbase that would simply consider it unusable. And that almost 30 years later...

Edited 2011-08-26 00:52 UTC

Reply Score: 9

RE: Ignores too much...
by M.Onty on Fri 26th Aug 2011 11:47 in reply to "Ignores too much..."
M.Onty Member since:

This article, for all that it seems to have been scantly researched, has shown what OSNews is best at---intelligent debate around an issue.* And your comment is the best thus far. I say flesh it out a bit, make the language a bit more neutral, and submit as a counter article. We could do with more historical articles, topicality be damned.


*Plus standard issue Internet unpleasantness from time to time of course.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: Ignores too much...
by unclefester on Fri 26th Aug 2011 14:25 in reply to "Ignores too much..."
unclefester Member since:

I used computers extensively for over 10 years before I used Windows 3.1. I initially found the GUI really weird and quite unproductive compared with DOS.

Reply Parent Score: 2