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Bitter Fruit
by Andrew L. McFarlane

I loved the Mac.

Snapshots:

Macintosh IIeDuring my freshman year in college, I helped write a manual for the 15 Apple Computers that comprised our media lab. My computer experience at the time was limited to green and black screened IBMs and these Apple things had color, funny little folders and no C: prompt. I remember the day the 3 Apple IIe's arrived. We spent hours just typing on them, marveling at the smooth manner in which the keys depressed and released as we typed rambling paragraphs.

I loved Apple.

Mac Classic III worked for a paper called the Lake Country Gazette. From copy to ads to printing, the operation was 100% Mac. Even though I used a relatively archaic Mac Classic II, it still seemed to perform far above anything I could find in an increasingly PC world. My style of writing evolved (I believe) in large part as a response to the Mac OS environment. A lot of dragging and dropping, cutting and pasting and an eye as I was writing to what the finished layout would look like.

I loved Macs.

Performa 638Finally, I bought my own, the sturdy and dependable Performa 638. It wasn't a PowerPC, no Intel inside, but it served me well for a year and a half. By my no doubt biased estimates it put out more web pages than any other single computer in northern Michigan. It took whatever I wanted to put into it: photos, PC text, sound and video and put out whatever I asked it to. Yesterday, it left for its new home with my mother.

I still love that computer.

PowerCenter Pro 180Now I've got a new computer, a PowerComputing Mac clone. It is, as we say in our office, "Smokin' Bad". Fast, powerful -- everything I've ever wanted in a computer. Even though the company that made it was swallowed up after a too brief (and too successful) run at the Mac market, I love it anyway.

But I don't love Apple.

Not anymore.

WHAT APPLE HAS TO SAY

Guy Kawasaki:
Excerpted from EvangaList Web Site
Guy Kawasaki"The bottom line on the clone issue is this: our greatest barrier is the public's perception that Apple is going to die, so it is afraid to buy Macintoshes. Short-term profitability has become not simply a financial issue but a marketing one!...

Had we not bought the license back we would have continued to lose money, and therefore the public's confidence that we would survive...

the issue was very complex, and the decision was made with a lot of gnashing of teeth, but it's done, and we're moving on. I hope this provides some clarification. I close with this thought: Doubt is not the opposite of faith. Doubt is part of faith.
"
For the full text

Steve Jobs:
Excerpted from a leaked e-mail
Subject: Apple Acquires Power Computing
Sent: 9/2/97 7:34 AM
From: Steve Jobs, sjobs@apple.com
Reply-To: response@apple.com
To: apple_employees$@group.apple.com

Steve Jobs"Today Apple is acquiring Power Computing for Apple common stock valued at $100 million.

Let me explain why we are doing this:

The primary reason is that the license fee Apple receives from the licensees does not begin to cover their share of the expenses to engineer and market the Mac OS platform. This means that, in essence, Apple is giving a several hundred dollar subsidy with each licensed copy of the Mac OS. Our Board is convinced that if Apple continues this practice the company will never return to profitability, no matter how well Apple performs, and the entire Macintosh "ecosystem" will continue to decline, eventually killing both Apple and the clone manufacturers. This scenario has no winners - and customers end up with no Macintosh choice...
"
For the full text
I stood by Apple through the lean times, when the mere mention of working on a Mac was enough to put a "Let's commit him to the home now" look in the eyes of my PC friends. When Apple licensed clone makers: Motorola, Umax and PowerComputing, I saw a light at the end of the tunnel as MacOS systems began to emerge with more power and lower price tags. Whe Apple bought Steve Jobs' company NeXT and started talking about a modern OS that would run on Macs and PCs, I stopped thinking of my next computer as a Wintel box. When MacOS 8 came out and surprised me (and most everyone else) by emerging a) On time and b) More solid and full-featured than expected, I decided to get a new computer.

Research, pricing and a lot of e-mails to Mac-users all over the country led me to purchase the PowerCenter Pro two weeks ago. The day I got it set up and running, rumors about an Apple buyout of PowerComputing started to fly. Now the rumors are fact and the innovative hardware I bought into looks doomed to extinction. Power will make PC laptops.

Joy.

Apple passes the move off as a confidence builder, saying that Apple's decreasing market share vis a vis Mac clones was eroding consumer and investor confidence.

I had no idea that George Orwell was still around, let alone working in Apple's Public Relations Department...

I also failed to get that promised confidence boost. In fact, for the first time in my computer-using life, I have totally and utterly lost faith in the Mac. It looked as if the Mac platform had a chance of being better, faster and competitive in price and performance with Wintel. That, I fear, will never be. Apple has retreated from redemption, has turned and crouched about its shrinking revenues. It seems as if Apple Computer will learn the hard way that 100% of nothing isn't worth a whole lot.

I used to love the Mac.

Manitou Publishing Company is in no way affiliated with Apple Computer, Inc.. Apple, the Apple logo, and Macintosh are registered trademarks and Mac OS is a trademark of Apple Computer, Inc. Power Computing and PowerCenter are trademarks of Power Computing, Inc.
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