Macintosh Babble
My Mac Magazine #29, Sept. ’97

Where were you when you heard the news? I was sitting in the dining room reading a magazine, having just come in from a refreshing dip in the pool. I was content with life, unknowing that soon my life would forever be changed. No, I’m not talking about the JFK assassination… I’m talking about the Apple-Microsoft deal!

I heard the news through ABC-TV, and was immediately frozen with shock. After the initial bewilderment, I must admit I felt some slight anger and betrayal. How can Apple, the heart of the Macintosh universe, make such a deal with Microsoft, the king of all things bloated? How can Apple betray this loyalty? I mean, Microsoft was the center of all our bad jokes…

Face it, friend, the Apple-Microsoft deal is a good thing, in many ways. Let’s take an look at the deal, from both sides…

Microsoft invested $150 million in Apple, and paid an “undisclosed” amount to have the old “Windows is a Mac Rip-off” scandal settled once and for all. While we might not ever know what this “undisclosed” amount adds up to, we know that Apple got money out of this, and that comes in handy when you are losing millions every quarter. Basically, from Apple’s point of view, the old dispute was settled in a very positive way… Lots of cash.

Secondly, Apple has the backing of a major software producer, Microsoft. Finally, it seems like the old “There’s not enough software for the Mac” argument may die. Microsoft has set a grand example to the other software companies. Seeing that Microsoft backs the Mac with software, other companies will be far more likely to produce software for the Mac. Those companies that waved the Macintosh away the first time might take a second look at this “dying platform.” And this renewed interest in the Mac means more jobs for Mac-savvy programmers and engineers.

The publicity of the act itself is good news. For the past few years, the only news you heard about Apple from television came in the form of a three-minute long segment that told you how Apple was headed for a painful end. Now, the news seems optimistic, although a tad tainted. Whether the media focuses on the right aspects of the deal or not doesn’t matter. The fact is, there’s a renewed interest in the Macintosh platform from every angle.

Of course, Microsoft gets something out of this as well. Aside from the even shinier public image, Microsoft settles many old disputes with Apple, and if you ask me, it’s about time we lay those to rest. Additionally, Microsoft saves itself from truly becoming an empire. Microsoft was already being investigated for controlling a “monopoly” on the computer industry, with an almost 100% hold on the market. If, just if, Apple would have crumbled, Microsoft would have virtually no competition… a full monopoly. And while that’s not fully illegal, it would put the company in a very uncomfortable position. So, by helping Apple out a bit, Microsoft makes itself look wonderful while protecting itself from further trouble.

Now, I’ve heard Microsoft described as a savior coming to the aid of a dying company. That’s not the way it is. Apple did not “join up” with Microsoft, Bill Gates does not have any position at Apple, and we are not going to have to start using Windows. Microsoft does not even have any plans to incorporate Apple technologies into its platform. The new board of directors includes both Steve Jobs and Larry Ellison, both of whom have had a rough past with Microsoft. They, of all people, are not going to let this “partnership” go anywhere that it shouldn’t.

Apple is still steering its own ship. Microsoft is still a separate entity. The two are just a little closer than before. Apple’s future seems brighter than ever.They have the strongest board of directors that we’ve seen in years, and with a great CEO, Apple can work wonders. Apple’s benefits from this deal are among the best news the Mac community has heard in a very long time, and we have every right to be optimistic. Plus, the younger generation of Mac users have something they can say to their kids… “I was there.”


Shay's Smashing SitesMacNN (– One of the best places on the internet to find a quick listing of the day’s Mac news… With a small description. Point, click, and away you go! (– Better than! News, News News… And the best Pathfinder coverage you can get.


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