PC World: Mac at 20, what has Apple taught – and learned from the PC?

“It was insanely great, the computer for the rest of us, and out to change the world. The Apple Macintosh marks its twentieth birthday this week, and–hubris and hype aside–the Mac has made an acknowledged impact on personal computing,”Peggy Watt writes for PC World.

“A graphical user interface manipulated via mouse, new usability standards, still-evolving multimedia support, and simply cool design are among the Mac’s credits, say industry observers, PC users, and Apple pioneers. PC World asked many longtime industry players, including some involved in the Mac’s early days, what the Macintosh has taught the PC–and, essentially, the computing industry. And, on the flip side, what has the PC taught the Macintosh,” asks Watt?

“‘Obviously, the PC got two key components from the Mac: the graphical user interface and introduction of a mouse for navigating information,’ Tim Bajarin, president of the consultancy Creative Strategies says. ‘Until that point, everything around the PC was driven by a very text-based architecture.’ Bajarin also credits the Macintosh with introducing desktop publishing and multimedia computing, ‘which is the Macintosh not only handling drawing and pictures, but true imaging and sound and video,’ he says,” Watt writes. “…Credit the Macintosh with helping push Microsoft to greater power, several industry veterans suggest.”

“So what has the Mac, in turn, learned from the PC? Jobs would say nothing, Bajarin says, ‘but in reality, it helped Apple understand the much greater importance of retail, helped Apple hone in its marketing strategies.’ Consultant Rob Enderle says Apple may finally be learning the lesson of the PC’s example of standards and licensing. The companyrecently licensed IPod technology to Hewlett-Packard, which will release its own version of the music player. ‘I think the real story is what both sides didn’t learn from the other,’ says Enderle, managing partner of The Enderle Group. ‘Apple showcased over and over again what marketing-driven products could do, most recently with the IPod, and the PC industry still doesn’t get it. On the other hand, if there was ever a stronger example that the power is in standards and the ability to take those standards across manufacturers than Microsoft and the PC industry demonstrate, I don’t know of it–and Apple didn’t get that.'” Watt reports.

Full article here.


  1. Once again, calls for Apple to have “standards across manufacturers” – which really means, “license your operating system and let it run on everybody’s hardware – even if the hardware is cheap or thrown together.”

    Although the Mac’s operating system and interface are far more intuitive than Windows – the Mac’s real strength is that IT WORKS. As a PC Windows user, I lost weeks every year due to system instability and flaws. I lost reports, databases, photographs and time time time.

    Since switching to an iMac 2 years ago, I’ve not lost even one hour to system flaws. I’ve never lost data.

    All this is possible not only because the Mac is based upon stable Unix – but also because Apple retains tight control of hardware. If Apple licenses clone manufacturers, the Mac’s stability will be undermined.

    I can share and receive practically any data with Windows users now… I don’t need Mac clones to undermine the Mac cache and Mac reliability.

    Besides… the Windows users are adopting Mac cross-platform data standards…. QuickTime, iTunes.

    Let the better machines win!

    1) Monopolistic activity.
    2) Cartel organization and behavior.
    3) Restraint of trade.
    4) Theft of intellectual property,
    5) Vulnerability to virus/worm attack.
    6) System instability.

  3. Man that Enderle is bozo.

    What standard is he even talking about? Hmmm Rob? TCP/IP? HTTP? SSL? CIFS? HFS? Want me to continue Rob.

    Get educated before you say Mac isn’t following standards. At lease when the do, they don’ abortionize RFC’s like Microsoft. Check out how Microsoft implements X.500 or DNS if you want a good laugh Rob.

    Man…I have been using a Mac since 1993, and on the Internet since 1994. I have NEVER had a virus. Can you say the same on your Windoze box Rob?



  4. Apple designing hardware and OS TOGETHER is what makes the Mac platform as great as it is. If that contributed to low marketshare, I’m still glad that’s their strategy! If I wanted broadly-adopted mediocrity I’d take Windows.

    (And yes, my first “Mac” was a clone!)

  5. Totally unrelated but I don’t care: my iPod will not sync with my Mac!! Yesterday, I just plugged it in to update a few new songs, and iTunes froze up, followed by the Finder. I left it for a few hours, came back and the spinning ball was still merrily on its job.

    Forced restart at the power button, as my poor little iMac would not respond. When rebooted (took 15 minutes), all my icons where missing and apps would not open, just continuously bounce.

    Left it off until today, turned it on: OS X seemed back to normal. Trashed iTunes and iPod preferences in my Library, restarted, and opened up iTunes, attached iPod. Tried to sync again (my iPod was completely erased… all my backed up data gone, but still on my hard drive), but no, after 109 of 987 songs, froze up my whole system! Crash proof OS X my ass! ( I know, technically it didn’t crash.. once again, too pissed off to care.) After looking around the Apple support site, I am clearly not the only one with this issue. So frustrating!! Please, someone help me out here.

    Also I did the Apple hardware test, found no problems. 7 after 3rd failed attempt, I “restored” the iPod with iPod Software Updater. Nothing changed.

  6. And maybe the lesson of the future is that if you want true functionality, you license both the hardware and the software (ie iPod and HP). Maybe soon we’ll be seeing HP branded clients running OSX, built by Apple, but encased in the HP blue plastic boxes connecting to Xserves?

  7. This was beginning to be an interesting article until it suddenly came to the word “Enderle”.
    Everyone is wondering why Apple does’nt support the WMA format, but no one is asking why Micro$in is not supporting the AAC format, when it kicked everyones buttooskis last year.
    How can Apple innovate if they spend all their time trying to make their stuff halfway function on multiple cheap third party hardware. With 5 billion in the bank, why should they even care? No one is saying Rolls Royce is going out of business.

  8. I agree, the article was interesting until Enderle’s name came up. Maybe instead of (or in addition to commercial plot warnings) MDN should always put an Enderle warning in the headlines. That way everyone could keep their breakfast down.

  9. Aggravated:

    Calmly take your Mac and iPod down to the nearest Apple Store, and go right to the Genius Bar. They don’t charge a single cent if they can solve the problem right there. It sounds like they might be able to easily help you. Only once in 10 years, has and of my friends and family had to pay for an Apple tech to fix their old iMac. But it was worth the $65 for them to completely analyze and fix the aps on the hard drive. When he got it home, the early G3 acted like an all new Mac.

    About twice per month (of heavy use, 3D graphics, always on), I find a need to restart my iMac. I don’t know of any sane person that would claim that the Mac is “crash-proof”. It just seems that way when compared to anything running Microsoft’s Windows.

    Upon a restart, the Mac does a Disk Doctor routine, other housekeeping, and resets some prefs, and is not a bad idea.

    More on topic…
    It seems that no one in the PC-biased community/media can saying anything good about Apple’s products without putting some sort of dig in there. It’s all PC politics.

    I don’t think that Apple learned anything about retail or “standards” from Microsoft. If the PC world really had any amount of innovation, there would be Dell OS and HP OS. But, that would require huge amounts R&D and a significant amount of imagination and intelligence.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with a company making the entire product to help insure a more stable platform. But, since open public jealousy isn’t “cool” for any corporation to display, they resort to bitterness and petty fault-finding; not unlike a disgruntled ex-lover.

  10. Enderle is a paid tool who usually masquerades as an actual journalist or worse, an anal-yst. He is neither. There are 60 year-old Bourbon Street whores who haven’t been bought and paid for as many times as Enderle.

  11. Well, I learn one thing about some PC users:
    They are hypocrates and ingrates. The same people calling Macs toys are using their WinXP now. What happens to their beloved DOS? What’s more they use their Windows for playing games (yeah, that is some werious work, guys)!! At the same time, these people just can’t acknowledge that without Apple, they won’t have their Windows, FireWire, USB, Plug ‘n’ Play, etc.. They should thank Apple for inventing or popularizing these technologies.

    And they have the nerve to call us zealots!

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.