“Apple Computer’s famous ‘1984’ commercial, which introduced the Macintosh, wasn’t the only computer ad that aired then. It’s just the only one that changed people’s lives – particularly people who already loved technology,” Kevin Maney reports for USA Today.
“‘It was like I had discovered gold,’ says Jon Staenberg, another venture capitalist. He was so pumped by the Mac back then, he went to work at Microsoft, which would try to replicate the heart of the Mac’s magic: its graphical user interface, known as a GUI (and pronounced ‘gooey’). That effort became Windows,’ Maney reports.
“Twenty Super Bowls later, many tech industry leaders say the ad and the first Mac played an inspiring role in their career paths. It was one of those rare bolts of lightning that can mobilize a generation in a particular field – the way John F. Kennedy’s call for a man on the moon motivated the aerospace crowd, or Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein rallied young journalists with their Watergate investigation,” Maney reports. “The Mac was definitely a breakthrough. It made computing simple for non-techies. Several Mac aficionados told me it compares with the first jet airliner, the Boeing 707, which revolutionized air transport and influenced the entire range of jets we fly today.”
Maney writes, “Makes sense, but somehow the scale seems too large. The Mac made computing truly personal. It made an inaccessible process human. It was, perhaps, more like the arrival of the telephone in an era when communications happened by Morse Code tapped over telegraph lines. Or the first Kodak camera in 1888, bringing photography to the masses at a time when the art required fragile equipment and harsh chemicals.”
“But Apple famously blew its chance to dominate computing. ‘Ironically, it’s now a niche machine for graphics snobs, and Windows is what ‘the rest of us’ use,’ says Tom Evslin, who developed software for the first Macs and now runs telecom company ITXC,’ Maney reports. “There are whole books and business school studies about why that happened. But Jeff Hawkins – whose wife worked at Apple in 1984, and who was influenced by the Mac when he created the Palm computer – traces the seed of the problem to that ‘1984’ ad.”
“‘The drones in the ‘1984’ ad (symbolize) the very business people that would soon determine the future of the PC industry,’ Hawkins says. ‘From the start, Apple alienated them,’ Maney reports.
Full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: “Ironically, [the Mac is] now a niche machine for graphics snobs, and Windows is what ‘the rest of us’ use,” according to Tom Evslin who now runs telecom company ITXC. Tom’s bio page at ITXC’s website is here. Unfortunately, his email address seems to be unavailable. Perhaps you’d like to send him one of our T-shirts that is especially apropos for Tom, instead?