PDA

View Full Version : Apple III chaos: What happened when Apple tried to enter the...


MacBytes
Sep 1, 2006, 06:24 PM
http://www.macbytes.com/images/bytessig.gif (http://www.macbytes.com)

Category: History
Link: Apple III chaos: What happened when Apple tried to enter the business market (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20060901192401)
Description:: Apple had known nothing but success with its Apple II product line, but when it tried to enter the business world with the Apple III, they learned the cost of failure.

Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)
Approved by Mudbug

zwida
Sep 1, 2006, 07:11 PM
That's a pretty good overview, it seems. I wasn't old enough to be impacted by all these shenanigans, although we did have an Apple ][+ at home when I was 7 or 8.

Good read, in any case.

falcon99
Sep 1, 2006, 09:05 PM
Good article, but the Apple III was not the only one. The Apple IIc had big issues as well including significant incompatibilities with the II+ and IIe.

I wrote a lot of Apple II software back then and the IIc gave me nothing but headaches!

montex
Sep 1, 2006, 10:28 PM
There was a movie back in the eighties where three kids used an Apple IIc to turn a pile of garbage into a spaceship. I had to laugh when they included the clacking of the floppy drive during boot-up. Wasn't that River Pheonix as the troubled genius/nerd?

I can't remember the name of the movie... anyone?

California
Sep 2, 2006, 12:50 AM
There was a movie back in the eighties where three kids used an Apple IIc to turn a pile of garbage into a spaceship. I had to laugh when they included the clacking of the floppy drive during boot-up. Wasn't that River Pheonix as the troubled genius/nerd?

I can't remember the name of the movie... anyone?

I think it was the movie that was the name of the red wagon that kids used to pull around? IMDB is my friend when I'm not too lazy.

IJ Reilly
Sep 2, 2006, 11:34 AM
Good article about an almost forgotten episode in Apple's history. The Apple III probably damaged Apple's reputation more than any product they ever made, and it came at such a bad time -- right before the release of the IBM-PC. Then, business people had a "real" desktop computer from a company they already trusted. Corporations were always suspicious of Apple anyway, and the Apple III fiasco only confirmed their worst opinions.

I'm not sure what the author was driving at with this statement, though.

For the past few years, IBM had been hard at work designing a personal computer targeted at the business market to compete head-on with Apple.

"Project Chess" (the code name for the IBM-PC project) was on a very tight one year timeline from design to release. This was no small matter for IBM, which was notoriously plodding in moving products through the pipeline. (It was said that IBM would take three years to design an empty box.) The PC had to be completed much more quickly, which is why they used nearly 100% off-the-shelf components, and farmed the OS out to Microsoft. The impact of IBM's haste has been felt ever since -- so this is not just some nit-picky point about the history of the industry.

revdon
Sep 2, 2006, 12:16 PM
I think it was the movie that was the name of the red wagon that kids used to pull around? IMDB is my friend when I'm not too lazy.

Nah. The red wagon movie was Radio Flyer (http://imdb.com/title/tt0105211/). The Apple 2c movie was Explorers (http://imdb.com/title/tt0089114/) with River Phoenix (http://imdb.com/name/nm0000203/) and Ethan Hawke (http://imdb.com/name/nm0000160/).

Also, Roy Scheider (http://imdb.com/name/nm0001702/) uses on in 2010 (http://imdb.com/title/tt0086837/) with a portable LCD screen that was never actually released.

shamino
Sep 7, 2006, 05:13 PM
Good article, but the Apple III was not the only one. The Apple IIc had big issues as well including significant incompatibilities with the II+ and IIe.
Interesting. I used a //c for five years, back in grade school and high school. I can only think of one II+ program that wasn't compatible.

What kind of software were you writing where it was giving you "nothing but headaches"?

Admittedly, I wrote my programs in BASIC and Pascal, so perhaps the compilers were good enough at hiding the differences. The 65C02 in the //c was not 100% compatible with the 6502 of the II+ - several of the undocumented instructions changed. If you were coding in assembly language, then perhaps that was the cause of your problem?

Did you also have problems with the enhanced //e? That also used the 65C02 and had similar compatibility issues.

steve_hill4
Sep 8, 2006, 01:28 PM
"Project Chess" (the code name for the IBM-PC project) was on a very tight one year timeline from design to release. This was no small matter for IBM, which was notoriously plodding in moving products through the pipeline. (It was said that IBM would take three years to design an empty box.) The PC had to be completed much more quickly, which is why they used nearly 100% off-the-shelf components, and farmed the OS out to Microsoft. The impact of IBM's haste has been felt ever since -- so this is not just some nit-picky point about the history of the industry.
I confirm the one year timeframe. IBM realised they couldn't take their time over this project and rushed it to the market to grab share.

Of course the interesting point to history with getting Microsoft to produce MS-DOS was that if IBM had have produced their own OS, (and followed that up with it's own GUI OS), Microsoft would probably still be an applications company today, IBM and/or another manufacturers of PC compatibles, (producing their own PC though, with own OS, not a clone), would have probably joined Apple in a 2-3 way share of the market and Apple may have ended up the major player. One or all would have started clone programs and we may have seen increased software and hardware compatibility problems.

IJ Reilly
Sep 8, 2006, 01:58 PM
I confirm the one year timeframe. IBM realised they couldn't take their time over this project and rushed it to the market to grab share.

Of course the interesting point to history with getting Microsoft to produce MS-DOS was that if IBM had have produced their own OS, (and followed that up with it's own GUI OS), Microsoft would probably still be an applications company today, IBM and/or another manufacturers of PC compatibles, (producing their own PC though, with own OS, not a clone), would have probably joined Apple in a 2-3 way share of the market and Apple may have ended up the major player. One or all would have started clone programs and we may have seen increased software and hardware compatibility problems.

IBM was more or less forced to respond to the desktop PC market that Apple and to a lesser extent Commodore had pioneered. Ironically, the PC was intended as little more than a rear-guard action to protect their mainframe business. Institutionally, IBM didn't take small computers seriously, but they were finding them progressively more difficult to completely ignore. The PC was conceived essentially as a throw-away project. As a result, it's difficult to say how the market would have developed without Microsoft's involvement, and especially without the completely unintended clone business. Microsoft was before the clones a very small software company and most of their really major successes with software came as a result of their ability to leverage their dominant position in operating systems. Without that, I don't take Microsoft's prosperity or even survival for granted. This is all hypothetical of course.