More on those 15 years

As a followup to my earlier post about the 15th anniversary of Apple’s acquisition of NeXT, I offer you RoughlyDrafted’s excellent look back (and forward) at this piece of computing history…

Just fifteen years ago, Apple couldn’t say no, couldn’t say yes, couldn’t deliver upon its plans, and couldn’t convince investors that it was worth believing in. It’s been a remarkable decade and a half for the company that rediscovered its founder and reshaped the industry to fit his vision.

The only disturbing bit (to me) which is probably true is this:

Apple has learned that quitting when you’re in the wrong place is as important to success as pushing ahead when you’re on the right track. Apple has similarly scaled back its Pro Apps to deliver powerful functionality for the mainstream, rather than trying to cater to tiny minorities of pro users that can be better served by specialist developers. And its executives regularly repeat the idea that Apple knows what not to do.

Microsoft’s time to shine?

David Talley from The Motley Fool has a mostly positive outlook for Microsoft in 2012:

Remember Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), that great growth company that created enormous wealth for its shareholders in the 90’s? Remember the innovations that came from that company? Fortunately for you (because it creates an investing opportunity), most people have forgotten that Microsoft, instead focusing on a company that has struggled to innovate and whose stock price has reflected that fact. However, there is much to get excited about for Microsoft.

I suppose the “innovations” Talley is referring to include Windows 95 and Internet Explorer, but his point about crazy profits and value to the shareholder is valid.  I agree that Microsoft’s stock price has been in the dumps for the last decade, despite the fact that they still rake in piles of cash with Windows and Office.  The real action and growth potential is in the mobile market, so their deal to partner with Nokia could be seen as a brilliant move to inject Windows Phone into a market pretty much locked up by Apple and Google.

15 years

On December 20, 1996 Apple Computer, Inc. purchased NeXT.  TUAW:

According to CNET’s coverage on that day, the company was shopping for an operating system to replace the aging Mac OS. It had recently abandoned the Copland system project and was negotiating with Be and other companies. With the purchase of NeXT, Apple bought the core of what is now Mac OS X. It also gained WebObjects, the powerful Web app development tool that had been licensed to 275 corporate customers by the time of the sale to Apple.

 15 years is an astonishingly short period of time to go from near bankruptcy to one of the most valuable companies in the world.

HTC Android phones banned in U.S. next year


Whoa. Apple just won a big court victory against HTC that could force HTC to stop selling its Android phones in the United States. The United States International Trade Commission ruled that HTC was infringing on an Apple patent that effects HTC Android devices running Android 1.6 to 2.2.

 The patent in question involves the ability for a device to recognize a phone number or an address and convert it into a clickable link.  Smartphone users appreciate the benefit of tapping a phone number in an email and placing a call, or having an address turn into a link that takes you to a map view.  HTC has already claimed that they will fix (ahem, remove) this feature to avoid the ban.  I find it interesting that Apple has chosen to go after the smartphone vendors instead of Google on these patent fights.

The real story behind Apple’s ‘Think Different’ campaign

Rob Siltanen, writing for Forbes:

How do I know what took place? I was there—right in the thick of it. I was the creative director and managing partner atTBWA/Chiat/Day working on the Apple pitch alongside CEO and Chief Creative Officer Lee Clow. Together, Lee and I headed up and actively participated in all of the work done for the pitch.

It’s a fascinating read, and the kind of information that should have been included in the Water Isaacson biography of Jobs.  Case in point:

While I’ve seen a few inaccurate articles and comments floating around the Internet about how the legendary “Think Different” campaign was conceived, what prompted me to share this inside account was Walter Isaacson’s recent,best-selling biography on Steve Jobs. In his book, Isaacson incorrectly suggests Jobs created and wrote much of the “To the crazy ones” launch commercial. To me, this is a case of revisionist history.

Isaacson got so much wrong, and with stories like this the list grows longer by the day.  Read Siltanen’s article for a genuine first-hand account of Jobs and Apple at a pivotal time in the history of technology.

(Thanks to David Wilder and Eric Yeater for passing this along)

Can a Mac mini replace an Xserve?

Sort of.  Macworld UK:

So how does the latest Mac mini Server measure up, and can it be considered an enterprise-level replacement for the now-defunct Xserve, Apple’s rack-mount server?

In answer to the latter, Apple stresses the ‘personal server’ aspect of the Mac mini, describing potential uses in small businesses, classrooms, design studios, and so on. After all (for the time being, at any rate) for the bigger players there’s still the Mac Pro Server which, at a basic price of £2,450, comes in at almost three times the Mac mini’s £849.

I still lament the cancellation of the Xserve hardware.  Rack mounting a giant Mac Pro server seems like overkill.