The Mac Night Owl
by Gene Steinberg
The Mac Hardware Report: 400,000 Windows Users Can t Be Wrong
It seems whenever I want to make a point, I have to offer a little history lesson. I ve you ve been
around the Mac universe for very long, this little refresher course may seem familiar to you, but I
have a point to make and, as usual, I ll take my time getting there. Just bear with me.
In the mid 1990s, it went the other way. Mac users began to desert the platform in droves.
Doesn t seem possible? Well, some technology pundits seem to think it was the result of the
switch from the original 680x0 processor to the PowerPC. How come? Well, I suppose they
believe that the near seamless transition from one processor family to another must have been
confusing and frustrating. But the real reason was, in large part, the arrival of the first almost
usable version of Windows, and that was Windows 95.
Maybe it was that infamous Rolling Stones spot, using their hit song, "Start Me Up." It s hard to
believe now, but when Windows 95 hit the store shelves, folks were lining up to subject
themselves to punishment, or rather buy copies. Microsoft becoming hip? Not quite, but
Windows 95 was good enough to convey the impression to many users that it had reached parity
with the Mac OS. Of course that huge advertising campaign didn t hurt.
Now to be fair, it is true that some software companies who were probably on the fence about
continuing to build Mac software decided that updating their products for the PowerPC wasn t
worth the time and effort. But these publishers would have probably ditched their Mac products
eventually; they just used this as an excuse. At the same time, Apple seemed to lose its way,
which only compounded the problem. Rather than amaze us with new products, they came up
with wrong headed designs that made such simple acts as adding RAM a major chore. Do you
remember the Quadra 800 and its successors? You had to remove a logic board just to get to the
The Mac OS? Well, development seemed to have stalled, while Microsoft worked furiously to
deliver a better product. The best some Mac users could offer was that the Mac OS "sucked less."
This "lesser of two evils" argument just didn t fly. In all fairness, I stuck with the Mac, although I
also had to acquire a PC box because I was offered some Windows oriented book assignments
that I had to accept to pay the bills.
MPN, LLC 2005 macCompanion
August 2005, Volume 3 Issue 8