24 Gennaio 2002: il Mac e’ maggiorenne

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Sono trascorsi 18 anni dal giorno della presentazione ufficiale del computer e dell’idea che ha cambiato la storia del personal computer e dell’informatica.

Un percorso di crescita e di maturazione che ha portato il calcolatore da mastodontico apparato professionale ad un ricercatissimo e delicato oggetto di design tecnologico, “hub digitale” della quotidianità  di tutti noi.
Macitynet per ricordare quell’evento pubblica uno stralcio del libro “Infinite Loop” di M. S. Malone che ricorda come si arrivo’ a quel giorno e riporta la cronaca dell’annuncio.
Curioso notare come 18 anni dopo il Mac sia diventato Maggiorenne e il produttore suo concorrente di quei giorni, IBM abbia deciso di abbandonare il mercato del personal computer dopo i bilanci negativi riportati in un settore minato dalla concorrenza selvaggia.

Il testo e’ ovviamente in inglese…

“It is 1958. IBM passes up the chance to buy a young, fledgling company that has iust invented a new technology called xerography. Two years later, Xerox is born, and IBM has been kicking itself ever since.
It is ten years later, the late 1960s. Digital Equipment Corporation and others invent the minicomputer. IBM dismisses the minicomputer as too small to do serious computing and, therefore, unimportant to its business. DEC grows to become a multi-hundred-million dollar corporation before IBM finally enters the minicomputer market.
It is now ten years later, the late 1970s. In 1977, Apple, a young fledgling company on the West Coast, invents the Apple II, the first personal computer as we know it today. IBM dismisses the personal computer as too small to do serious computing and therefore unimportant to its business.

“The early 1980s-1981. Apple Il bas become the world’s most popular computer, and Apple has grown to a $300 million corporation, becoming the fastest-growing company in American business history. With over fifty companies vying for a share, IBM enters the personal computer market in November of 1981 with the IBM PC.

1983. Apple and IBM emerge as the industry’s strongest competitors, each selling approximately $1 billion worth of personal computers in 1983.

“… The shakeout is in full swing. The first major firm goes bankrupt, with others teetering ori the brink. Total industry losses for 1983 overshadoweven the- combined profits of Apple and IBM for personal computers.
It is now 1984. It appears IBM wants it all. Apple is perceived to be the only hope to offer IBM a run for its money. Dealers, initially welcoming IBM with open arms, now fear an IBM-dominated and controlled future. They are increasingly turning back to Apple as the only force that can ensure their future freedom .

Jobs paused, as if steeling himself for the enormity of the task ahead. He looked out at the audience, as if asking them to join him at the battlements of computing freedom. Then his voice dropped a half octave, as if at the sheer magnitude of corporate evil. Oh the humanity . . .

IBM wants it all and is aiming its guns on its last obstacle to industry control, Apple. Will Big Blue dominate the entire computer industry, the entire à­nformation age? Was George Orwell right?”

“No!” shouted the audience. “No!” shouted the first five rows, filled with the Apple team. “No!” shouted the other Apple employees and the analysts and the distributors and dealers and retailers and shareholders. No! said the assembled journalìsts secretly to themselves. Steve Jobs smiled. Enough with that Zen bullshit about the “journey being the reward.” Thà­s was the reward.
He walked over to a table bearing an ominous-looking bag. With a flourish, Jobs unzipped it . . . and there, the color of brown stone, like a little primitive totem, a friendly phallus, was the Macintosh.
An appreciative murmur went up from the crowd. It was instantly drowned out by the amplified theme from the movie Charà­ots of Fà­re. It was comy, but nevertheless spinetingling. ‘Today,” intoned Steve Jobs, “for the first time ever, I’d like to let Macintosh speak for itself.” That couldn’t be true: Apple had never actually tested speech synthesis on the Mac until this moment.
But what the hell, go with the flow. It was all too exciting to quibble. Jobs touched a key, and in a quivering little voice-its very crudeness perfect in its antithesis to Big Brother-the Mac announced:

“Hello, I am Macintosh. It sure is great to get out of that bag. Unaccustomed as I am to public speaking, I’d like to share with you a thought that occurred to me the first time I met an IBM mainframe. Never trust a computer you can’t lift. But right now I’d like to sit back and listen. So it is with considerable pride that I introduce a man who has been like a father to me, Steve Jobs.”