How Times Have Changed: Jason Kottke on Apple and Microsoft, Back in 2000

What will the 2019 picture look like?

Dare “Carnage4Life” Obasanjo pointed to some food for thought from an old entry in Jason Kottke’s blog, dated February 27, 2000 — which was after the iMac and iBook, but before the really big hits:

  • a year before OS X (March 2001),
  • a year and a half before the iPod (October 2001),
  • 7 years before the iPhone (June 2007), and
  • a full ten years before the iPad (April 2010)

Here’s the key excerpt:

And that brings us to Microsoft and Apple. Microsoft is perhaps the largest target of this sort of “boycott”, organized or otherwise. People hate Microsoft. Companies hate Microsoft. It’s the company you love to hate. Apple, on the other hand, is one of the most beloved companies in the world. People love Apple.

But what if Apple were Microsoft? What if Apple had won the battle of the PC and was the largest company in the world? People would hate them. Why? Because they would be using the same tactics as Microsoft to stay ahead and keep every bit of that advantage in anyway that they could. Apple is the way it is because they are the underdog.

I’ll even argue that life would be worse under Apple’s rein. Apple controls the OS *and* the hardware: if we were under Apple’s boot instead of Microsoft’s, we’d be paying too much for hardware as well as the software.

It’s been over a dozen years since Kottke wrote that article, and his “What if?” has effectively come true. Apple is “the largest company in the world” if you go by its market cap — according to Forbes, it’s now “The Most Valuable Company in History”. Android may have the larger market share, but when it comes to the platform that people line up for, makes the news, is considered to be the reference platform, has the developer love and makes them the most money, it’s iOS.

Here’s the question, which I’ll leave up to you to answer: now that we’re “under Apple’s rein”, is life worse, as Kottke speculated it would be? 

2 replies on “How Times Have Changed: Jason Kottke on Apple and Microsoft, Back in 2000”

To be honest I feel as if my only worries these days come from the platforms I’m on. That would include: iTunes, Facebook, Twitter.

iTunes because I buy stuff, but I don’t really own anything, and the other two because their changes effect me a ton (as a person who uses them a lot). Facebook more so of course because it’s where I’ve resulted to keeping my photos.

I use Apple hardware and software every day, but I can still change platforms and move all my data with me for the most part. The stuff that’s locked in places and the platforms I’m reliant on I’m a bit more worried about.

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