Monday, October 22, 2012

Apples, Apricots and other fruity computers

Apple is now the most valuable company in history. It is a bit hard to imagine, Apple was in deep decline by 1997 when Steve Jobs returned to the company he founded with Steve Wozniak. Wozniak, now long forgotten by the public, was the engineer in the team, Jobs' contribution was mostly to marketing and design.

In 1997, it was Microsoft, the company spawned by IBM, the old giant in the field was in the ascendent, Apple seemed destined for permanent decline, following the path of Apricot, Acorn and others from that era.

The funny thing is that it is not computers that made Apple's name. Not many users of the Ipod or the Iphone would have even known what an Apple II looked like. Apple's success was to find a 21st century successor to the Sony Walkman.

Like the Ipod, the Walkman was the vision of its founder, Akio Morita and in its day, brought Sony as much fortune as the Ipod to Apple. Incidentally, Sony seems to have lost its way since the loss of its founder, people are beginning to wonder if Apple has now reached its zenith.

For those interested, there seem to be fans of retrocomputing who maintain museums of old computers. Those quirky machines were the toys of our time. The infinitely more powerful PC's we use today are little more than tools.

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