Not just another Apple Hating post.

So over the past few weeks I have been abusing myself reading Palm Pre news, and reading all of the iPhone-loving responses. This made me ponder how close to the edge Apple was from going under, and how Microsoft’s investment in Apple changed the landscape. When I did some digging, I discovered that this all happened 12 years ago. I’m willing to bet that most of the current batch of Apple fanatics hadn’t even hit puberty when this happened, so are blissfully unaware of how close Apple came to fading into obscurity.

Huh, Java was Microsoft’s real nemesis.

Dwight Davis, editor of the Windows Watcher newsletter, said the real benefit for Microsoft is that it gains an ally against Sun Microsystems’ Java programming language. “Apple has not been the bogeyman to Microsoft in a long time. They are more than happy to have a legitimate threat to their business, and it’s called Java.”

The thing I find hilarious about this, in light of the Mac/PC commercials, is that 12 years ago, Apple wasn’t even considered a threat. Apple was irrelevant. Apple didn’t matter. Java was the main threat, although for the life of me I never understood why (whether or I give enough of a damn to look into later depends on how bored I am at work.)

Let me repeat myself: 12 years ago, Apple was irrelevant. Gods, I love saying that. Unfortunately, it didn’t stay that way, so now I have to hear about how great the iPhone is, yada, yada, yada, ad nauseum. I know I shouldn’t complain, because things change, and I will admit that the iPhone has changed the “smartphone” landscape for the better… I’ll even go as far as to admit that MS’s investment in Apple was a good thing, because Apple stopped being irrelevant, and in the process forced MS to improve the Windows experience. It just hit me, when that article was written, Windows 98 didn’t even exist yet… Damn, I’m getting old.

This trip into the past is a reminder that things never stay the same. Even conglomerations (defined as any political, religious, or economic entity) that survive for long periods of time never stay the same. Apple is a great example; I dare someone to try to convince me Apple is the same company as it was 12 years ago. Small changes can have lasting consequences.

But I thought Apple wasn’t a PC… Yes, I’m nitpicking those fucking commercials again. I hate those commercials, although I find it funny that Apple will take advantage of the “PC” tag when it suits them, yet bashes the entire PC continuum with their marketing (yes, I know they mean Windows, so why the fuck don’t they put their dicks on the table and say “Windows”? I think the answer is that they love taking advantage of user ignorance. Can’t blame them; snake oil salesmen have been making money off ignorance for centuries.)

But any ways, one of the responses made me stop and go, “What the Hell?”

Myth 1: Without Microsoft’s investment, Apple was doomed.
Reality: Apple had lost over $1 billion in the 18 months before the investment, but in August 1997, they still had $1.2 million in cash on-hand and annual sales of around $7 billion. The $150 million investment did not “save” Apple, though arguably the positive publicity did.

Part of me goes, “Hey, wait!” and the other part goes “Err, he might have a point.” Moneywise, $150 million is a drop in the bucket for a company that lost $1 billion over 18 months, but I’m willing to bet that without the Microsoft deal, Apple would have sunk in obscurity.

Like I said, not just another Apple hating post. Microsoft’s investment in Apple made the computing world a better place. I’m hoping that the Palm Pre gives Apple a run for its money; competition fights back stagnation, and stagnation leads to death. Long live Apple! (I don’t know what I’d do without hating that conglomeration; probably find better hobbies.)

4 Responses to “Not just another Apple Hating post.”

  1. Giftmacher Says:

    Well I’ll do soe apple hating if you won’t. My new boss has insisted that my work laptop is a mac book. I’m typing this very post with it (as I’m spending the weekend trying to install software/normalise OS X to my needs).

    Anyhoo, let me first say any one who thinks this heap doesn’t have it’s fair share of crashes… you’re wrong. I’ve already had FF fall over a few times. It’s probably not OS X’s fault, a program is only as stable as its code, but as the Mac adverts make so much of “PCs” hanging I can’t help but recall them with irritation every time something collapses. BTW, a quick tangent here, note to Apple: the way things bounce on the dock bar… REALLY F***ING irritating; give me a way to switch it off!

    As for “it just works”, I want to smack whoever came up with that bollox in the face. I spent half of yesterday trying to get iChat to talk to gtalk. Not happening. Even though gtalk is jabbar standard, and therefore should be easy to set up OS X keeps whining about SSL certs and stopping it working. I understand the OS doesn’t like gtalk’s default port… WTF? Ok, thinks I, I’ll do a bit of port forwarding… er no. IT at work, in their wisdom, haven’t given me access to an account with sufficient privileges to do that. So here I am trying my level best to feel my way around a new OS, without the means to make it do what I want…

    On the plus side I have managed to get gtalk to work with an OS X client called Adium. I don’t know why it works but iChat, pidgin, psi et al. won’t but so long as I’ve got something working, I’m past giving a toss.

    Indeed, I was so frustrated with trying to get stuff done, I even attempted to use a persistent USB flavour Linux. After all Mac books are intel set up now, how difficult could it be right? Mistake! Oh sure LiveCDs will boot just fine, LiveUSB? Forget it. Less than a second into boot the graphics go mental and it’s all over for you. Could this be a file system issue I wonder? Undaunted I think: perhaps a Mac formatted disk would work? Well Again, forget it. I need root privileges to burn an ISO to USB (thanks for that work!).

    ARRRGGGGGGAAAHHHHHHH.

    I could go on and on, about why I hate this shiny paperweight, but I’ve said enough already. Admittedly a large portion is the lack of root access, but the majority of my annoyance is the shear inability of the hardware and OS to live up to its corporate hype. Why do people love these damn things so much?

    So to conclude one amusing, and incomprehensible bit of info, and a bit of Mac praise to redress the balance.

    1. IT have seen fit to install Norton AV on my Mac… WTF? Really, no one bothers making OS X viruses, what am I being protected from? Surely it’s not to protect work’s Win PCs; they already have AV software…

    2. I do like the magnetic power plug for Mac books. It is rather clever and sensible.

    Gift.

  2. brenatevi Says:

    “1. IT have seen fit to install Norton AV on my Mac… WTF? Really, no one bothers making OS X viruses, what am I being protected from? Surely it’s not to protect work’s Win PCs; they already have AV software…”

    Maybe it’s to make the Windows machines feel less insecure. 😛

    Beyond that, I don’t have much more to say; only idiots really think Macs are any different than Windows or Linux. Each has their purpose and problems.

  3. Well I view OS rabid advocates the same way I view cold callers, irritations and when you get right down to it rude. (Interrupt me in my own home will you! *shakes fist*)

    Anyhoo, I’m just annoyed that I’ve had to bend to the whims of one such advocate…

    Well that and the corporate bollox Apple put out. I actually had a hard lock today, on a PC less than a week old! I just opened an X-terminal (not the most demanding of tasks) and it was all over. I did manage to get the apple equivalent of task manager open, only to have it crash on me as well. All I could think of was those damn adverts, so much so I had to go get a coffee lest I do physical violence to the laptop in question.

    Another thing, which I’m hoping I’ve dealt with now, Macbooks don’t have a VGA/DVI port. Not really a problem as there’s an attachment to give you one or other. Except in this case the video out doesn’t work properly. IT gave me a VGA version of the adapter (monitor can take VGA or DVI), presumably because I need to do presentations and most projectors still use VGA. Anyway, my screen keeps moving off centre (just by a fraction of a mm) and then popping back again. The problem is intermittent but the optical effect is such a distraction, and likely to produce a headache that the monitor simply isn’t usable for long periods of time. Now I’ve procured a DVI link instead, and I’m hoping this fixes the issue but why do I mention what sounds like a simple hardware fault?

    Well because another new-starter in my office has just got exactly the laptop, at the same time, hooked up to the same monitor and guess what? She’s got the issue too. Hmmmm “It just works” my arse it does!

    Gift.

  4. Hmm must remember to punctuate in my rage… 😛

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