Steve will ruin Apple! Bankruptcy imminent!

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by treblah, Jun 20, 2006.

  1. treblah macrumors 65816


    Oct 28, 2003
    Thank gods no one actually listens to Dave Winer. I know hindsight is 20/20 but it is still fun rub it in since Winer is such a tool. :D

    Some choice quotes:

    Emphasis mine.
  2. XNine macrumors 68040


    Apr 7, 2005
    Why are you wearing that stupid man suit?
    If I were an employer, and this guy walked into my office, I'd tell him to sodomize himself with a coat hanger.

    What a moron.
  3. im_to_hyper macrumors 65816


    Aug 25, 2004
    Glendale, California, USA
    Keep in mind, this article was written nearly 9 years ago in 1997 -- at the time, Jobs was just coming back and who really knew what was going to be happening to Apple.

    If this guy walked into your office today he wouldn't be spewing about the end of Apple :cool:
  4. RacerX macrumors 65832

    Aug 2, 2004
    It is hard to believe this was written when it was... this was 7 months after acquiring NeXT and he is saying:
    "Sales of Rhapsody are $0."
    The first developer version of Rhapsody was still almost two months away at this, what was he expecting?

    More importantly, Apple was making money from NeXT software. Apple had released OPENSTEP 4.2 in January of 1997 and would continue to sell OPENSTEP, and NeXT versions of Enterprise Objects and WebObjects until 2001. While sales of Rhapsody (which didn't exist as a stand alone OS yet) were $0... sales of WebObjects at the time were a completely different story. WebObjects was (back in 1997) the only software of it's kind for the internet at the beginning of the net bubble. While I don't think Apple managed WebObjects that well after the .com burst, they were making good money with WebObjects leading up to that point.

    Plus, this person seems to be unaware that Sun would have been willing to pay as much as Apple did (most likely more) to get NeXT. The thing is, NeXT wasn't for sale until Apple bought them. And Sun was throwing money around at anything back then (people even thought they might buy Apple), so had they been able to buy NeXT to secure their plans, they would have (they had just bought Lighthouse Design so that they would have a native office suite for OpenStep Solaris).

    It is pretty bad when people make claims like they have some type of inside knowledge when they really don't. Had something like this been written today, I would have bet that Dvorak had written it to boost his numbers.
  5. ham_man macrumors 68020


    Jan 21, 2005
    I think we can all admit that Apple wasn't in a very good financial position when Winer wrote this, and his viewpoint was probably not unique, at that time.

    But, like the OP said, hindsight is 20/20...
  6. XNine macrumors 68040


    Apr 7, 2005
    Why are you wearing that stupid man suit?
    I've seen you make several posts about NeXT in the past. Just curious, because I never had used it, but were you an avid user of it or are you a guru when it comes to tech history? (or both?)
  7. Timepass macrumors 65816

    Jan 4, 2005

    oh yeah apple was on the edge of death at that point in time. It was a very risky move on their part to do it. It paid off but there was a long string of things that could of gone either way for apple and apple would of been screwed.

    It not about apple products being better than others. It was about the timing of the release of some of them. the iPod was released at just the right time. Earily or later it would of flopped. They got it out right when the market started to come into play and it grew from there.

    Most of there stuff just happen to be at the right time. there was a huge ammount of luck involved with apple. They had to take big chances if they wanted to stay alive. It was make it or break it for them. When you are on the edge of colasp is when you take the greatest risk
  8. Phobophobia macrumors 6502

    Dec 1, 2003
    The only 'risk' they were taking by bringing back Jobs was the risk of actually having a successful company.

    Change is not risky. Not changing is what's risky.
  9. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Jul 16, 2002
    Don't count on it. Winer has been complaining about Apple ever since the early '90s, when he started marketing UserLand Frontier, a scripting environment for the Mac, just before Apple started bundling AppleScript with the OS. I think he must have felt betrayed, and he's not the type to take feelings of betrayal lightly.
  10. RacerX macrumors 65832

    Aug 2, 2004
    I used them a lot back then... but at first I used them more like a Mac rather than learning what they could actually do.

    I first really started picking apart NEXTSTEP/OPENSTEP when Apple bought NeXT. That was when I realized what I had been overlooking for the previous 4 years.

    As it happens, I ended up making a lot of friends in the NeXT community, all of whom helped me out a ton when it came to answering questions about the software and history. I thought it was fascinating to see all the twists and turns that brought us to where we are now.

    So yeah, I became a much better NeXT user after NeXT became part of Apple.

    I really started spending a lot of time on the history end of things when I started noticing information disappearing from the net around 2000. I collected together as much info as I could and (like those who helped me) try to provide that information for others (which was why I started both my Rhapsody and NeXT sites).

    It should be noted that beyond being a Mac user who used NeXT systems like Macs, I wasn't all that interested in computers back then either. I was majoring in mathematics and there really isn't much that a computer can do for you in the area I was studying. While working at the Geometry Center I had access to 15 SGIs, 10 Suns, 25 NeXTs and 20 Macs... and I was spending all my time in a back room on a white board. I considered that a missed opportunity which is why I have many of those systems today.

    Plus I found that research is addicting. The more challenging the subject, the more addictive it is for me. Finding answers in the SGI community is much harder than finding answers in the Mac community. Finding answers in the NeXT community is much harder than finding answers in the SGI community. And finding answers to Rhapsody questions is about as hard as it gets, which is what I love about Rhapsody (that and having a platform all to myself :D ).
  11. AlBDamned macrumors 68030


    Mar 14, 2005
    Er no - not exactly. Jobs was actually surviving on Pixar money and NeXT was going down the toilet - it was just the software that saved it. Jobs spent pretty much his entire first fortune on keeping those two companies (Pixar and NeXT) alive.

    He had failure after failure with things like the NeXT cube and workstation, despite them being great pieces of kit.

    If Disney hadn't stepped in to fund Toy Story then it could have been a completely different story for Jobs, NeXT and Apple (though I reckon he would have surfaced somewhere else if that had all collapsed).
  12. CorvusCamenarum macrumors 65816


    Dec 16, 2004
    Birmingham, AL
    Who is this fruitcake? I've never heard of him. Is he one of those people who likes to make noise badmouthing Apple or something (like that other guy..Thurmond or something)?
  13. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Jul 16, 2002
    I tried to explain some of this in post #9, but if you want to know more about Dave Winer, then Google him. You'll find lots of information. He's actually quite accomplished, but he's also a notorious grouch.
  14. RacerX macrumors 65832

    Aug 2, 2004
    It seems that this part of history will continuously be overlooked... no matter how many time I point it out.

    The seeds of NeXT's failure were sewn in the first couple months of NeXT. Nothing, and I mean nothing, that NeXT would do after that would have made any difference.

    When Jobs started NeXT he took quite a few people with him from Apple (including many people from the Macintosh development team and the developers of WriteNow). When Apple found out about this they sued Jobs and NeXT. After about six months the suit was settled, and it was that settlement that crippled NeXT.

    At the time the most notable part of the settlement was that NeXT couldn't hire anyone else from Apple for a period of around 18 months. But that wasn't the killer clause...what killed NeXT was that NeXT would not be allowed to compete in Apple's core market, the desktop.

    Why was that so bad?

    This forced NeXT into the workstation market. They were joining (late) a competitive market which was shrinking do to the increasing power of desktop systems. Even when NeXT was pricing their systems equal to or lower than Apple's, they couldn't point them at the desktop market.

    And even after dropping hardware, NeXT couldn't take on Windows with NEXTSTEP because Windows was a desktop operating system. The only system NeXT could attack of Microsoft's was Windows NT.

    Basically, had NeXT not been forced out of the desktop market by the settlement, NeXT's fortunes would have been much different.

    Sadly, people look back at these restrictions that NeXT was forced to work under and (without knowing about the restrictions) blame NeXT management for the companies failures.

    If the people at the head of NeXT were the reason for NeXT's failures, then how in the world did these same people save Apple (most everyone in a position of power at NeXT had replace people at Apple in those positions within 2 years of Apple acquiring NeXT).

    Further, the restriction was on the operating system and hardware. NeXT had dropped the hardware (on Black Tuesday back in 1993) and was planning on dropping the operating system next. They had just spent a few years (1994-1996) helping to make Solaris into a NEXTSTEP replacement and were planning on dropping the OS after OPENSTEP 4.x.

    One way to see that NeXT was getting ready to take this step was in the fact that OpenStep Solaris had been made to look and feel just like NEXTSTEP 3.x. NeXT had been reworking NEXTSTEP 4 with a completely new user interface (see below). But when they finally released (the renamed) OPENSTEP 4.0, it looked exactly like NEXTSTEP 3.3... and OpenStep Solaris.

    What NeXT was planning was to drop OPENSTEP (letting their NEXTSTEP/OPENSTEP users move to Sun, who was not restricted by the Apple settlement) and concentrate on Enterprise Objects and WebObjects.

    Apple knew that the only reason that NEXTSTEP hadn't been successful was because they wouldn't let it. And they most likely also knew that if Sun was allowed to finish it's transition to OpenStep Solaris that they would be forced to compete directly against what was basically going to be an unrestricted version of NEXTSTEP (that could be sold in the desktop market).

    Buying NeXT gave them the OS beginning they needed and stopped Sun from completing the move to OpenStep Solaris*.

    So yes, NeXT may have been going down the toilet, but it was Apple who's hand was on the handle.

    * Sun did release both OpenStep Solaris 1.0 and 1.1 (which can be run on Solaris 2.4 and 2.5 systems). And Sun has kept documentation on their site about their version of OpenStep (Quick Start to Using the OpenStep Desktop, Using the OpenStep Desktop, OpenStep Development Tools, OpenStep User Interface Guidelines, and Porting NEXTSTEP 3.2/3.3 Applications to OpenStep on Solaris)
  15. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Jul 16, 2002
    Interesting history. Thanks for providing it.

    The site seems to be out of commission, though.
  16. RacerX macrumors 65832

    Aug 2, 2004
    Yeah, I'm trying to figure out what is up with that... hopefully I'll have it fixed soon.
  17. AlBDamned macrumors 68030


    Mar 14, 2005
    That's not exactly what I read but I've only read one perspective so here I'm just going to relay that:

    According to the book iCon Jobs/NeXT was prevented from hiring any more Apple employees for a period of just six months. However, Jobs had already cherry picked the best people before this statement and those that wanted to go from Apple following Jobs' exit left of their own accord pretty soon after.

    The lawsuit you mention appears to relate to NeXT stealing ideas from Apple (Apple was worried Jobs and the people he took with him to start NeXT would just rip all of their current and future plans) was officially dropped not settled some six months after Jobs left, because the suit had degenerated into petty legal squabbling.

    However, the notion of the lawsuit being dropped is, in itself, contradicted in the book by the subsequent mention of an "agreement" with Apple, that gave the company the right to look at pre-release NeXT hardware and software so they could decide if it did indeed steal any intellectual assets (ideas, technology etc.).

    The book says the real reason NeXT was a failure, was not because it couldn't compete with Apple's core market as such, but the market the whole company had been dreamed up to serve - that of educational institutions and the like - never eventually wanted to buy NeXT hardware and software because it was completely overpriced and years late: The first NeXT hardware was released in 1989 and it should have been 1988 at the latest and, when it was launched, the package was $10k when the budget for many institutions per terminal was $3k (which was the original ideal price for the NeXT package).

    Jobs success on his return to Apple actually seems to owe more to his learning from the mistakes of Apple and NeXT and also because his ability to master style and imagine certain trends in the future actually paid off.

    I bet few people with their iPods actually know that the basis of that product wasn't designed by Apple, they merely took an operating system and hardware from PortalPlayer (a company they've now shunned in part). Apple merely wrapped the technology in a nice package and made everything more user friendly.

    This no way takes anything away from Jobs. The guy is a Sillicon Valley legend and throughout his life he has influenced some of biggest global trends ever. But he did get it wrong - actually better would be to say only half right - a fair bit and according to history, he screwed up a lot before he got it really right.

    Of course, being a self-made millionaire by the age of 24, worth $250 million by the age of 25 and now turning a $10 million purchase of Pixar into a $4 billion share of Disney some 18 years later (not counting the money he poured in in the interim), means there's a great deal of difference in him getting something half right than most people. :)

    As said, this is just from what I've read recently, but it sure makes amazing reading.
  18. Les Kern macrumors 68040

    Les Kern

    Apr 26, 2002
    I remember UF... it was an INCREDIBLY bad piece of SW... one of the few that actually affected the entire OS negatively.
  19. RacerX macrumors 65832

    Aug 2, 2004
    First, most of these books are written by people out side the community and done quickly to make a buck on the Steve Jobs name.

    The six months was correct as I couldn't remember the exact period off hand. But there was a settlement, and there was a non-compete clause for NeXT. And it was that non-compete that forced NeXT out of the desktop market... permanently.

    The idea of targeting education users first was to build a core base of users that would have a higher chance of staying with NeXT rather than older users who would be willing to switch between platforms on a whim.

    Anyone who doubts the soundness of that idea has missed the fact that many dedicated Mac fans of today started their usage of the systems when they were in school.

    As for pricing, but the beginning of 1991 NeXT was providing better hardware than apple at the same prices, and not being sold within the desktop market. I've posted these prices before, but I'll do it again so we have them on hand:
    • NeXTstation (68040 at 25 MHz, 8 MB of RAM, 105 MB hard drive, 2 bit (black & white) 17" display, Ethernet) $4,995.00
    • Macintosh IIsi (68030 at 20 MHz, 5 MB of RAM, 80 MB hard drive, 8 bit 12" display, LocalTalk) $5,097.00
    • NeXTstation Color (68040 at 25 MHz, 12 MB of RAM, 105 MB hard drive, 16 bit (color) 17" display, Ethernet) $7,995.00
    • Macintosh IIci (68030 at 20 MHz, 4 MB of RAM, 80 MB hard drive, 8 bit 13" display, LocalTalk) $7,897.00
    • NeXTcube (68040 with 25 MHz, 16 MB of RAM, 340 MB hard drive, 2 bit (black & white) 17" display, Ethernet) $11,495.00
    • Macintosh IIfx (68030 with 40 MHz, 4 MB of RAM, 160 MB hard drive, 8 bit 12" display, LocalTalk) $11,497.00
    • NeXTcube with NeXTdimension graphics board (68040 at 25 MHz, 24 MB of RAM, 340 MB hard drive, i860 DSP at 33 MHz, 32 bit (color) 17" display, Ethernet) $17,615.00
    • Macintosh IIfx (68030 at 40 MHz, 8 MB of RAM, 160 MB hard drive, 8 bit (color) 19" display, LocalTalk) $17,196.00
    And by this point NeXT had quite a bit of software from the major developers. WordPerfect, FrameMaker, Illustrator, Lotus Notes, plus many of the features you take for granted in Mac OS X today.

    And it was designed as a desktop publishing system... the use of Display Postscript was to insure that you had true WYSIWYG. In fact the same rendering engine that produced images on the display was what produced images on paper from NeXT laser printers. Unlike Apple's LaserWriter which had a ton of computing power in them dedicated to Postscript out put, NeXT's laser printers ran on the computer' Display Postscript engine. So what you saw on screen was what you were going to get on the page because they were both being rendered by the same software.

    You don't need that for a workstation. You don't need that for students. That was there because NeXT wanted the desktop publishing market.

    And as you are reading books on Jobs rather than investigating the history of the industry... NeXT wasn't the only company attempting to move this market into their area. Both Sun and Silicon Graphics attempted to get the desktop publishing business looking at their workstations too. Silicon Graphics named their efforts MOM (Move Over Macintosh) and aimed their low end IRIS Indigos right at the same people the Quadra 900/950 series was targeting (for about the same price). Sun brought the price of some of their workstations down to the same level as Apple and NeXT, and later adopted Display Postscript (Silicon Graphics also followed suit in adopting Display Postscript).

    The idea that NeXT only targeted education is false. They wanted a foot hold there as a way to jump into other markets. And with the non-compete agreement with Apple, that drastically limited which markets they could jump into. The desktop was left to Apple/Microsoft/IBM to fight out while NeXT was pushed into the workstation market with Sun/Silicon Graphics/HP/IBM/Microsoft, all of whom were starting to see that the desktop market was eating away at their market. Which, in turn, made this the worst market to not only be in, but also to come late to. NeXT was arriving at the workstation party as it was winding down.

    But if you want to believe what you read else where... that is your choice. It makes a better story to say NeXT/Jobs got it all wrong, learned from their mistakes and got it all right at Apple... but unfortunately that just isn't how it happened.

    Apple was just as guilty of suppressing the great things at NeXT back in those days as Microsoft has been of doing the same to countless technologies that they considered a threat. It may seem like it turned out okay in the end, but what if we could have all been using something like Mac OS X more than 10 years earlier (before Microsoft was able to do anything with their OS/2 technology that became NT and later XP). Most of what we have now in Mac OS X was in NEXTSTEP/OPENSTEP at the same time Apple was pushing System 7 and Microsoft was pushing Windows 3 in the desktop market. Imagine where we would be today if we could have had all that back then!
  20. Phobophobia macrumors 6502

    Dec 1, 2003
    Right. But it still wasn't risky to reappoint Jobs as CEO. Changes are often viewed as risky, even when change is the only real way to survive.
  21. wmmk macrumors 68020


    Mar 28, 2006
    The Library.
    very true, but you've already stated this.
  22. Timepass macrumors 65816

    Jan 4, 2005

    it was a huge risk. Change is good but the changes Jobs did was radical and easily could of finish off the company.

    Apple was on the edge of dieing any how and radical was it only hope. It was a last ditch effort. Huge gamble but when you dont have much to lose going big is worth it. They had to take a huge risk if they want to survice. It paid off for them. They went from a company bearly holding on to a very stable and strong one.
  23. Phobophobia macrumors 6502

    Dec 1, 2003
    If nothing changed, the company would've died. Radical change was needed.
  24. AlBDamned macrumors 68030


    Mar 14, 2005
    So before the deep breath of answering, it’s worth stating that I’m not up for a slanging match here, but I do find this topic really interesting and it would be good to get a clarified, multi-perspective build of the story :)….

    This book was co-written by the co-founder of MacWorld so I think you could probably say he was “in the community” when the NeXT story was unfolding.

    Ok, but this article says that the non-compete clause stated all NeXT computers had only (a big only of course but nevertheless) to be more powerful than the similar Apple product so it wouldn’t compete?

    I don’t quite understand that (there has to be more to it) but it would link with the prices and specs you give above that make each NeXT system more powerful and better specced than anything Apple had.

    I can’t find anything that says NeXT targeted the education market as a first step to anything else. Pretty much everything I’ve now read (not just the book ;) )says that the education market was the core market for the machine. After all, “Jobs thought of NeXT after talking with an academic and asking why he didn’t run lab simulations on a computer.”

    Furthermore, according to wikipedia one of the main connotations for the emphasized “e” in NeXT is supposedly “education”.

    However, because the NeXT cube was shunned by its core market, it then had to try and break into the workstation market because:


    Ok that’s cool but they did want the education market first, but it all points to Jobs switching the core intention of NeXT once he realized things weren’t going to happen in education. I.e. the change in market was never planned originally. The strategy was switched, was never got right and the company dived - but it did have a great OS and maybe this is why OS X is OS "X" and not OS 10?

    Is it not necessarily that they got it all wrong and all right, just that the pieces came together better the second time round at Apple and Steve had learnt from his experiences and applied a better ethic?

    Just one book (finished now) and I’m trying to find a good one on NeXT as a result of all this. There seems to be a more NeXT focused Jobs one (but it's still a JObs one) called Steve Jobs: The journey is the reward but it’s written by the same author of iCon!

    Is there any recommended reading on the subject?!

    Also, there's no substitute for being involved at the time so as said, all this is just from reading up on the subject and trying to fit it all together!
  25. Timepass macrumors 65816

    Jan 4, 2005

    yeah I said that. Radical was it only hope. It also shows how desprate apple was at that time.

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