Apple chooses the path

First steps Apple under the management of Steve jobs was similar to the panic of throwing from one extreme to the other. They reminded me of…drafts of Pushkin. It is very difficult to find exactly the sound that only.

No wonder: Steve dropouts poet. And the likelihood of saving Apple was close to zero. Compares the sharp maneuvers of a dying company with panic throwing rats under the influence of ultrasound, most likely, believed that the company had to apply some strategy, and stupidly, just to bring it to the end.

Steve contradicted himself. In may 1997, probably already having decided to get involved in an almost hopeless venture, he said one thing (for example, about the clones: the idea is great and needed, but implemented it badly), and in August of the same year he made the clones a death sentence.

In August 1997, he talked about the strategies of the two operating systems classic Mac OS and Rhapsody, comparing them to Windows 95 and Windows NT from Microsoft. Mac OS had, step by step to become a “modern operating system”, maintaining as far as possible, compatibility with the old software and its strengths. Rhapsody, a direct descendant of NEXTSTEP/OPENSTEP was meant for workstations and servers.

ProjectBuilder, the development environment Rhapsody, aroused the interest in professionals. Especially attracted by the opportunity to compile the same source code for different platforms (Windows NT, Linux s, Sun Solaris and others). ProjectBuilder already knew how to do it, and very good – and if you spend time honing this skill, with him hardly anyone would be able to compete in the next ten years. By the way, Mac OS in this list were not, but to add its support was relatively easy.

Apple inherited the partnership with HP and Sun Microsystems, the agreements with Microsoft and the feds (military-U.S. Navy, NASA, Department of agriculture and others) made the official announcement about the successful projects involving NeXT, and the fact that these projects will continue, regardless of the name of the partner company.

Planned new projects. State funding was guaranteed. And it is very big money to do incredibly difficult (bureaucratic structures are slow on the uptake), but to stop is not easy (these structures are inertial).

The feds lifted the thick veil of secrecy, sharing interesting statistics about their use of WebObjects: the number of web applications written using this technology, year after year, growing exponentially, this brought the NeXT Software 3/4 of its revenues in 1996. It was a signal Apple is about the state’s willingness to continue to share with the producers of OPENSTEP and WebObjects their income. Of course, on the conditions of the sponsor.

Judging by what happened then, Apple, these conditions are not agreed.

This is the second part of the series about the transformation of Apple in the NeXT Apple. Previous parts:

  1. NeXT Apple.

Rhapsody needs your effort!

Paradoxically, the fact: with one of the world’s best development environments, assuring all its amazing capabilities (development time is reduced by 5-10 times), Apple, as well as NeXT a couple of years before the described events do not inspire confidence among professionals due to the lack of “core” software products from major developers n/a.

These key products have become the industry gold standard, was developed for both Windows and Mac OS – enabling the specialists (designers, typesetters, clerks and everyone else) is easy enough to move from platform to platform, as any serious software product being developed is not for one or two days.

Development environment, in combination with good object-oriented libraries that really facilitate software development, and it would seem that the obstacles to the little-known company wrote his own “answer to Chamberlain” was not. Moreover, the NeXT Apple’97, called on young companies to create a miracle.

Steve even once said: “I haven’t heard that 2 or 3 people gathered in the garage to create the next great something.” Probably not the only one of me, after these words, there was a desire to create such a “great something” in the shed at someone’s house or in the back of any enterprise. But…

To open some new direction “in the garage”, but to create a product that could compete with “leading developers”, alas, most likely no longer available. Time is not what it was.

Especially the “not so” it was for Apple. The company squeezed a profit out of revenues from steadily declining sales. The share of Macs in the market fell. Slower than the year before, but inevitable. Skeptics and haters were jubilant: a little bit more, and this arrogant company will not.

Time is not what it was. More precisely, time has not been.

What is the value of “standard” products

The value of “standard” software products is determined not so much by the millions of hours of labor good programmers, and not even their art. And not even modern processes in software development (in the late 90s they were already available to all).

In addition to programmers, testers and technical managers, companies create a “key” software is a valuable experience in their field (which the son of errors difficult), ate the dog in the required subject area, whole layers of “secret knowledge” accumulated over the years, and stolen from competitors.

There are also commercial issues – but if much interest a company the size of Apple its conception, promotion and distribution of the product is guaranteed.

The creation of a competitor any in the world operating system not to mention software like Adobe Photoshop or Microsoft Office, of course, not impossible. It’s just very difficult, costly and risky. And the potential “victim” is not obliged to sit idly by: it will resist. No, of course no one will send the killer, in most countries it is illegal and is severely punished.

During the existence of the personal computer industry, has accumulated an Arsenal of methods of legal effect on the unwanted newcomers. I’ll write about them in one of the following parts of the series – they operate smoothly. And, again, they are legal.

Software products necessary for success platforms-level written over the years, and difficult, and the probability of their inglorious premature termination is too high.

In 1997-98, the Apple Computer was neither the time nor the money for such experiments. No matter how attractive the dream of his very own answer to Microsoft Office or Adobe Photoshop, regardless of the effectiveness of the development tools, without reputable programs on the market of “fat” producers was not enough.

But the “main players” in the market of software to spend time and money porting its software to the operating system whose survival is no guarantee, I did not. Moreover, in such as Rhapsody, very different from the other platforms of the time.

Of course, they knew that without their help we would have no chance to survive, but to help her not going.

Another radical change of strategy

In late 1997 and early 1998, none of the statements of representatives of Apple about it not a word was said. Not a word was leaked to the press. Outwardly, everything looked as if a huge company stupidly continued to converge with a vertical wall, not even trying to maneuver.

Programmers continued to provoke writing programs that will kill those snickering and lazy rulers of the fate of the platform. But Steve is not as easy as thought about it.

In August 1997, and don’t ask me “where’s the firewood,” Apple thought of something else… And that something else, in General, has been similar to what happened in may 1998.

Read about it in the sequel.

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