15 years of OS X: How Apple’s big gamble paid off big time

“Although OS X is now an integral part of the Mac experience, it represented a big gamble for Apple when the first general release version — code-named Cheetah — arrived on March 24, 2001,” Ryan Faas writes for Computerworld.

“It was also a gamble that Apple had little choice in making — and one that has paid off in the 15 years since, becoming, directly and indirectly, one of the critical factors in Apple’s success,” Faas writes. “Still, there were many points at which things could have gone awry and decimated the company.”

“Apple faced three major challenges in transitioning its core product line to a completely new OS, whether it was developed internally or by acquisition. The first was getting the new OS out the door quickly. Apple was in dire straits in the mid-’90s and was losing market share to Microsoft. It needed a quick win,” Fass writes. “That led to the second challenge: Keeping developers engaged enough to write or rewrite apps for a new platform, something made more challenging by Copland’s delays and cancellation. Finally, Apple needed to convince its user base to adopt the new OS.”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Happy Birthday, OS X!


  1. Here is the most amazing thing about OS X. If you used the first public version and then fell asleep for 15 years, you could wake up and use El Capitan without missing a beat. The interface is the same. I think that is the beauty of OS X, along with the fact it is so robust that it is still fast and efficient after 15 years.

    Microsoft simply can’t say the same. Every version of Windows requires users to learn a new interface. It is as if folks in Redmond have no vision of the future. Oh, that’s right, they don’t.

    1. Except you would have to ask yourself…
      -Why are things popping up, bouncing and jiggling.
      -Why is my memory usage so high and I’m not doing anything
      -What happened to Disk Utility

      I love OS X, but 10.6 remains my fav.

  2. I seem to remember a public beta, 10.0.0, that had no Apple menu. And also there was Mac OS X Server and WebObjects. My research group had great fun setting up and testing the toys, to the chagrin and envy of the main I.T. guys at the time. And the GUI was said to be “lickable!”

    1. Me too. I knew then that Apple were on to something. The next set of releases were lots of fun. Getting hold of dev builds and seeing how the next versions was evolving was fantastic.

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