Reaction: Chinese Household
Thursday, November 3, 1994 by Dave Winer.
Predictably, I've gotten a lot of mail on the Platform is Chinese household piece that went out early Saturday morning.
I really hope we hear from Apple before the cursor moves off the Macintosh and onto something else.
Here are comments from Danny Goodman, Dan Farber, Jerry Michalski, an anonymous former platform vendor and Marc Canter.
Danny Goodman, author, email@example.com
Windows users don't realize how important the Mac OS is to their well-being. If it weren't for the Mac and its modest success, 50 million personal computer users would still be staring at a C> prompt every morning, because there would have been little incentive for Microsoft to go any further in usability design.
One element missing from your discussion so far is the creativity that the Mac OS unleashed in its developers prior to Win 3.1, when the Mac OS had clearly superior possibilities. The Mac OS's unique technologies (even if they need a bit of goosing up, such as telephony) might again attract the best and brightest developers to make these boxes do great things they haven't done before.
Dan Farber, PC WEEK, firstname.lastname@example.org
Spindler is very sharp, but Apple is isolated from the world. Who from Apple, like a Bill from Microsoft, is engaging in this discussion?
I don't believe [Bill Gates] would be terribly hurt if Mac sales were converted to Windows. But he also understands that he needs a competitor for better or worse.
The world is worse of because Apple hasn't been able to leverage its technology and establish a more viable alternative to MS.
What must be going on in [Markkula]'s head?
Jerry Michalski, RELease 1.0, email@example.com
Based on some of our earlier conversations, I've been bringing up the question of developer support with any relevant people I run into. DOS and Windows may be crapola development environments, but Microsoft more than makes up for that in other ways. And you know my theory: fielding a deeply flawed OS is a way to spawn a frothy third-party software community.
In mid-1989, as VP-Marketing at XXX, I was given responsibility for the developer program. What a mess. Most of the few remaining active developers were on their last legs, no major developers were coming on board, ship rates were sinking fast, etc. etc.
We came up with a plan to turn things around within 18 months. We really, really listened to developers.
But after years of neglect, they were too weak to survive is the story of why XXX is no longer in the computer business. In the period from 1985-1989, too much faith was lost by the developers in the commitment of the company to them. When things changed for the better, it was too late.
The moral may be that you have to keep your developers happy, do win-win deals, & make them your partners. Once you lose the development momentum, you lose the market share war.
You have to keep your developers or else this could happen to you:
FY 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993
Revs $452 $424 $411 $258 $127 $ 29
Marc Canter, Canter Technology, D0010@applelink.apple.com
Truth, loyalty and friendhsip is what counts.
A few random notes... In the Chinese Household piece, I forgot to thank Mike Boich, Apple's first evangelist. In 1983, when the Mac 128 was in beta, we had a problem getting something working (actually a lot of things!). I called Mike. He got in his car, drove over to our offices at Living Videotext, sat down at our Lisa, and found the bug for us. Amazing! How far we've come (or gone!).
If there's any kindred spirit left at Apple, I'd love to get an adaptation of MacTCP to work with UserLand's IAC Tools library. It should be a small job for someone who knows TCP well. Other developers are using this library. Source code available. Any Apple person with the engineering experience, and the will to help out a developer, please send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Add to the list of developers who made major contributions to the success of the Macintosh -- the Knoll brothers, developers of Adobe PhotoShop; Laurent Ribardiere, lead developer of Fourth Dimension; and Reese Jones who gave us PhoneNet. I must have missed others.
Re the Software Bar, the closest thing we've got right now are Fred and Sylvia's Berkeley CyberSalons. They're great! A chance to discuss a media/software related topic with intelligent and accomplished people. Lots of great schmoozes and software demos. If you're in the Bay Area this weekend, you're invited. This month's topic is "Computers and Women: the Second Sex?" Saturday November 5, 4PM - midnight. For directions and details, send email to email@example.com.