Why Windows has been so popular?

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by You-Are-Pwned, Feb 21, 2012.

  1. You-Are-Pwned macrumors newbie

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    #1
    This question bothers me since long ago. I can't understand it: why IBM compatible machines were more popular than a Mac 20 years ago, and still are? The 1984 Macintosh was more affordable than an IBM back then, according to my sources. Also, Windows 1 released two months after it.

    All this compatibility, etc., people are saying about now. But they didn't do games for the Mac, office applications. I don't understand why not?
     
  2. r.j.s Moderator emeritus

    r.j.s

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    #2
    When IBM clones started coming out, MS whored Windows out to anyone and everyone who would take it. Since then, it has been a matter of maintaining the ground they took back then.
     
  3. dejo Moderator

    dejo

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    #4
    Microsoft Word 1.0 was released for Mac in 1984. Excel 1.0 in 1985, and Powerpoint 1.0 in 1987.
     
  4. roadbloc macrumors G3

    roadbloc

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    #5
    I think the main factors are:

    • Runs on more (and more importantly, cheaper) hardware.
    • Apple began going in the wrong direction when it mattered most. By the time Windows 95 came out, Microsoft had out-advanced Apple's technologies.
    • Both of the above attracted more developers, thus more apps.
     
  5. *LTD* macrumors G4

    *LTD*

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    #6
    1) Universal licensing
    2) Cheap hardware
    3) Runs on anything (see #2.)

    All in, not really impressive. Especially in today's context.

    Flood the market early enough, throw your OS at everyone and their dog, and presto: market share. Google did the same damn thing. And we know what sort of mess Android is.
     
  6. kdarling macrumors demi-god

    kdarling

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    #7
    For one thing, you could buy PC clones and semi-clones everywhere. Even down at your local Radio Shack.

    A major factor was that businesses bought IBM PCs or clones because that's what businesses did. At the time there was a saying: "Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM."

    I remember going to computer shows and the PC clones had tons of software, accessories and cards available. Their graphics display cards were just stunning in comparison to most other machines... especially to the non-color display on the first Macs.

    Finally, while other computer makers were trying to do things correctly with their OS by isolating programs from hardware differences, the PC clone developers were happily bypassing all that and writing directly to video memory... which gave max speed for apps like games.

    --

    Btw, there were $2,000-$4,000 computers (e.g. Mac, PCs) back then, all the way up to over $10,000 loaded... and there were $500-$700 computers (e.g. TRS-80, Atari, Commodores) and even down to $200 later on.

    So my counter question is: why didn't the sub $600 ones outlast the others? :)

    To answer myself, probably because the PC clone prices fell to that level.
     
  7. vrDrew macrumors 65816

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    #8
    I lived through the introduction of the PC.

    You have to remember that, back in 1981, when the first IBM PC showed up, the worldwide market for computers in general was - compared to today - minuscule. Less than 1.5 million computers of all kinds were sold then - half of which were Apple IIs, Ataris, or TRS 80s.

    Back then "business computing" meant one thing: IBM. There used to be a phrase: "Nobody ever got fired for choosing IBM." Which meant that when the accountants and MIS guys who bought computers for businesses made their choice they looked for one thing: "IBM Compatibility" .

    Now, at one time, that phrase meant that the dot-matrix or ball-printer, or disk-drive you bought could work with various IBM System 3X minicomputers. But the IBM guys were smart: They made sure that the IBM PC XT and ATs they shipped came with Model M keyboards and 5151 monitor - the same as those used on the terminals the old System 3X minicomputers used.

    So a couple of million businesses in the US and western Europe ended up buying IBM PCs (or the "100% IBM compatible" clones..) thinking they could just hook these newfangled PCs up to their IBM System/34 or AS/400; and scoop out the sales figures from the RPG or MAPICS programs that were running on their IBM minicomputers. They theoretically could (it took a skilled programmer several hours to write a routine to do so), its just that the IBM PC wasn't really any better at doing this than the Apple II or TRS 80.

    Of course what happened is that IBM PCs (or compatible clones) started showing up in businesses. And once that happened, the next generation of home computer buyers started buying them too, because the usual justification for this purchase was "I need it to do work stuff..."

    The story of how Bill Gates pulled off the deal of the millennium, by getting IBM to let Microsoft retain the rights to sell MS-DOS (which was basically identical to the PC-DOS they'd provided to IBM, after buying it from another company) is well known. Microsoft sold its MS-DOS operating system software to everyone who wanted to sell a "100% IBM compatible" personal computer. Which rapidly started driving down prices - and ultimately led to a) the domination of the PC software business by Microsoft and b) the ultimate exit of IBM from the business they'd helped create.
     
  8. throAU macrumors 601

    throAU

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    #9
    It has / started with Office, and DOS compatibility.
     
  9. juliusaugustus macrumors regular

    juliusaugustus

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    #10
    How is that not impressive? Market dominance is nothing to scoff at. Plain and simple. Doesn't matter what your business model is everyone wants market dominance it enables you to fix prices and make 20x more than what something is worth (remember the price of Windows Vista?). Android is completely different it was created by the industry as a way to make an adaptable open source embedded software stack for mobile devices (ie it is an alternative to Java ME and Windows CE). Android itself is given away for free but google makes money from the market, advertising, and selling google apps. While google does sell the google apps and may sell development hardware like the nexus device, the intention of Android was not to sell a physical product or piece of software but rather to sell services and ads. Google sees hardware and software as irrelevant because those are just gateways to google's ads and services.
     
  10. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #11
    Market share is only impressive to *LTD* if Apple is in the lead.


    Lethal
     
  11. StrudelTurnover, Feb 21, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2012

    StrudelTurnover macrumors regular

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    #12
    Don't mistake popularity for ubiquity. Microsoft made its fortune on corporate clients, and since people would copy software to use at home, it was easier to buy the same system in a lot of cases. Plus all the clone price wars other comments have mentioned. Microsoft got where it is because Compaq got away with reverse engineering IBM BIOSes, etc. It's all interconnected.

    I was relatively fortunate as a child in the 80s to have access to lots of computers, we had everything at some point. But my mum can easily remind me that the money we spent on computers was money not spent on vacations or travel. I was the DOS kid and the gamer, and my older brother hacked Macs.

    I started with a $2500 Apple ][+ kit, which made it easy to transition to MS-DOS. The first school I went to used Commodores, and my first video game console was an 8-bit Atari with a keyboard. Games for the Mac Plus were pretty good, but once EGA hit and Sierra and Lucasfilm Games caught on, that's where my attention went. Stuck with PCs and Windows until I decided to give up building/upgrading them in 2005, but I knew DOS and WFWG311-Win95-98-2000 like the back of my hand. It was useful.

    Never got into OS/2 or anything like that. Loved the commercials tho. "Oh-es-dvie-varp!"

    Once Apple had Intel chips and Bootcamp, it didn't matter what my hardware was. Games run fine, and I prefer OSX for being productive. I no longer need low level access to my boot sector, FAT tables, or interrupt hooks. I like to do things with technology, not to technology. ;)
     
  12. *LTD*, Feb 21, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2012

    *LTD* macrumors G4

    *LTD*

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    #13
    Of course it is.

    What did the consumer actually get in return? Over 20 years of Wintel. 'Nuff said.
     
  13. boss.king, Feb 21, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2012

    boss.king macrumors 68040

    boss.king

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    #14
    Clearly lots of consumer satisfaction else surely they would have chosen the next worthy alternative.
     
  14. AppleScruff1 macrumors G3

    AppleScruff1

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    #15
    It was pure genius for a software only company.

    The consumer gets a great product at a good price. That's only been a recent thing with Apple.
     
  15. throAU macrumors 601

    throAU

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    #16
    What we got in return was a massive PC market, and with it, fierce competition in terms of hardware and economies of scale to reduce the cost of computers to a level where everyone can own one or more.
     
  16. roadbloc macrumors G3

    roadbloc

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    #17
    Whereas I admit there there have been some totally dire versions (1, 2, ME, Vista) the rest are great OSs. The exact same can be said for OS X. OS X wasn't at a decent standard until Panther/Tiger, and now they're causing a lot of controversy with long term consumers by making it iOSesske.

    Basically, you hate everything that isn't Apple. I'm sure there are a small handful of people just like you. There are also a small handful of people who hate everything that isn't Microsoft. The opinions of these small groups of people in the bigger picture are meaningless. What's that word you use? Oh yeah, anecdotal. Thats what your post is.
     
  17. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

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    #18
    ...the #1 mobile operating system by market share? Sometimes I wonder if you can't see the forest for the trees.
     
  18. *LTD* macrumors G4

    *LTD*

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    #19
    I can see the Universal Licensing of a free OS to every OEM and their dog, regardless of quality. Easy market share. Horizontal business models are built for MARKET FLOODING, and not much else. They're a great way to spread around junk. It's the lazy man's way to majority share. All it takes is to do it before everyone else does. This is why Google ate Microsoft's lunch in that area

    Those who respect their product and are interested in quality DO NOT relinquish control of it at a critical stage.

    Yes, I can see the garden for the weeds.
     
  19. interrobang macrumors 6502

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    #20
    Windows became popular because DOS was popular.

    DOS became popular because the IBM PC line was popular.

    The IBM PC line was popular because the IBM mainframe line was popular.

    The IBM mainframe line was popular because IBM had a fantastic sales and support organization.
     
  20. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #21
    So I assume you were one of those Mac users that pitched a fit and felt betrayed when iTunes and the iPod went from Apple exclusive to cross platform and took Jobs' name in vain for taking the lazy man's way to a majority share?

    ;)

    Lethal
     
  21. *LTD* macrumors G4

    *LTD*

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    #22
    Perish the thought.

    iPod/iTunes was actually a quality product that brought up the real-estate value of an otherwise ****** neighbourhood.
     
  22. boss.king macrumors 68040

    boss.king

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    #23
    It was... Now if they only put some time into maintaining it. It's a shoddy piece of bloatware today. I really like iTunes, but I can't stand to use it these days, it just performs too poorly.
     
  23. sysiphus macrumors 6502a

    sysiphus

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    #24
    iTunes for Windows is, and has always been, a total dog. It's pathetic. iTunes for Mac peaked around v.8; it just keeps getting bigger and more bloated now.

    My ideal of iTunes is pretty much what Rhythmbox is--a stripped-down, lightweight database-oriented player with a clean interface, with little more.
     
  24. boss.king macrumors 68040

    boss.king

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    #25
    Not to mention how buggy it is on windows. Every version has presented a new and awful bug. The current one pauses randomly, the last one froze far too often, the one before that delivered hollow sound, etc etc. It's like they add a bug every version just to keep you downloading the new one. It's so bad it's pushed me to Zune for my day-to-day music, even though it requires me to do a lot of meta-data fixing. It's worth it just to be able to listen to songs how I want.

    I wish they would just trim the fat. Let me remove the parts I don't use (or only add them when I need them. Literally, all I want iTunes to do is play music. For anything else I have more suited programs. At this point iTunes is a jack of all trades, and competent with none.

    I implore you Apple, get your crap together.

    (sorry for the rant, it just sorta happened :eek:)
     

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