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MacBytes
Jan 29, 2006, 10:54 AM
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Category: Opinion/Interviews
Link: January 29, 1994: IBM Goes Mac? (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20060129115447)
Description:: Michael Spindler was strongly opposed to the notion of licensing Macs. Well, at least he was opposed to the idea until he announced that Apple expected to line up a major PC manufacturer to produce Mac clones...

Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)
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Analog Kid
Jan 30, 2006, 12:39 AM
"10 years too late"... I still disagree with the assertion that earlier and broader licensing Mac OS would have made any difference in Apple's current position.

tpatricks
Jan 30, 2006, 11:01 AM
Cloning was a bad idea and Steve killed it for good reasons. Apple was losing money on each clone sold (because customers were not buying Macs from Apple), and clone sales were not increasing overall Mac OS market share. Duh. Did Compaq clone their PCs? Did HP clone their PCs? Microsoft provided an OS for all comers but did not produce a PC box. Apple produces both machine and OS, so that whole cloning licensing issue is not an accurate apples to Apple comparison (sorry). The cloning that finally took place wasn't 10 years too late. It was a bad idea whose time had come and gone. Let's kill the myth, already. Cloning was a bad idea. It died for good reasons.

Tera Patricks

ahunter3
Jan 30, 2006, 11:18 AM
Agreed.

Many people have this notion that there was IBM with the PC and a huge crew of other clone-makers making computer that also ran MS-DOS (presumably with IBM consent if not active licensing / help ??), and along comes Apple and it goes off on its own odd direction, making an incompatible computer running a different OS and refusing to license it.

a) If Apple had been inclined to produce a computer that would run the most mainstream OS of the time that the Mac was being developed, the resultant machine would not have been a PC-clone running DOS but rather a Commodore C64 clone. (Apple's own Apple II would have been a possible second choice; the IBM / MS-DOS platform didn't explode in a big way until after the Mac was effectively developed)

b) IBM didn't "permit", "license", or in any other way encourage Compaq or any other manufacturer to copy what they were doing and thereby cut into their market share with clones. Microsoft didn't do anything to make this happen, either, although they didn't do anything to stop it. IBM set themselves up by using off-the-shelf, well-understood hardware.

c) 22 years later, IBM has given up on the PC, sold it off to someone else to muck with; Apple is doing quite well with the Mac, though. IBM is the reason MS-DOS succeeded so well, and MS-DOS & installed base is why Windows succeeded so well, but clones is the reason IBM got marginalized in the game they once strode into as the proverbial 600 pound gorilla.

IJ Reilly
Jan 30, 2006, 11:29 AM
Licensing of the MacOS to other PC manufacturers might have made sense if Apple had started with it in 1985 or so, when Mac sales were in the toilet and Apple had nothing left to lose. They'd have had to build their entire model around selling the Mac as software, not software + hardware. What the cloning experiment proved is that licensing can't be a tacked-on afterthought, or you'll just be creating competitors for yourself. This is bound to be a disaster.

Most of these articles about cloning neglect the very important fact that IBM never licensed cloning of the PC hardware to anyone. Funny the reference in the post above to Compaq, since they were the first company to figure out how to clone the IBM-PC without violating IBM's copyrights. They made Bill Gates a very, very wealthy man.