From 2000: what if Apple was the largest company in the world?  SEP 27 2012

So this is fun. Back in February 2000, I wrote a post about Amazon being awarded a patent for their affiliates program. In it, I wondered about a world where Apple was the largest company in the world:

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.

Nailed it! Or not. That third paragraph is pretty wrong...one of the things that contributed greatly to Apple's rise is their commitment to pricing their products competitively. And software is cheap.

As for Apple being the underdog, I've always thought one of the interesting things about Daring Fireball, even from the beginning, is that John Gruber never treated Apple as an underdog. In his esteem, Apple was the best company making the best software and hardware, and the DF attitude with respect to Microsoft was very much like that of Jon Lovitz's Michael Dukakis in a debate with Dana Carvey's George H.W. Bush on SNL: "I can't believe I'm losing to this guy". Gruber proved correct...what looked like an underdog proved to be a powerhouse in the making. (thx, greg & andy)

Read more posts on kottke.org about:
Apple   Jason Kottke   John Gruber   Microsoft

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