It’s April Fools’ Day, and I’m not joking. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun, by comparing and contrasting Apple old with Apple new. 🙂 Last night I posted to Betanews: “What 1984 Macintosh marketing reveals about iPad,” which is based in part on my April 2006 post “When Magazines Mattered,” about Apple buying all the ad pages—39 of them—in the Newsweek 1984 election issue. Magazines mattered to Apple for promoting Macintosh during its launch year. Now iPad matters to magazines, for which some publishers hope to turnaround sagging readership (and ad revenues). Ha, who’s paying whom now?
In 1984, Apple’s Macintosh introduced the world to the graphical user interface, eventually changing how people interact with computers. The GUI may not have been Apple’s idea—great credit there goes to the folks at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center—but the company did deliver the first meaningful, commercial product.
Later in June, lawyers rallying for and against Microsoft will present closing arguments in a proceeding that has the potential to radically change how the technology giant sells software. A federal judge would then deliberate about what sanctions she should impose against Microsoft in an attempt to prevent future anticompetitive business and technological practices that violate U.S. antitrust law.
No matter what she does, nothing will likely undo the stupidity that got Microsoft into trouble in the first place. The company insists it has the right to integrate whatever technology it wants into Windows. That practice led to two trials, one still ongoing after—count `em—four years. But the practice Microsoft fiercely defends—almost as a God granted, religious right—is stupid. Microsoft has been busy integrating technologies into Windows that make no sense being there from a business perspective—and they actually make new PCs harder to sell and use. The right Microsoft defends and the way it has been used is just plan dumb—unless of course the objective is to protect the monopoly and not benefit consumers. That latter point is one reason why this case never seems to end.