RetroMacCast

Where great old Macs live again!

Why did Macs spend so long being seen as not valid for "business" users?

As I sat at my Pismo the other day, reviewing artwork for a multinational web campaign, the thought suddenly struck me that a lot of businesses are now moving towards using Macs, because the Intel processor lets them use Windows for the "office" style things and the creatives can get on with doing the pretty stuff on Apples as they always have done. I remember, not so long ago, that the great resistance to switching was always based around the argument "well, Macintoshes are great if you're creative, but you can't run business software on them", or words to that effect. I don't buy it, though.

Think about it - back in the days of the Mac SE, The Macintosh Classic, the LC and so on, you had a relatively cheap machine, that was reliable, stable, easy to use (thus more productive) and which had business software to cover all aspects of the "business" market. You had Word, Write!, ClarisWorks, Mac Write, FoxPro, Quicken, Excel, Powerpoint, Claris Mac Project (in fact, having used this myself, albeit only V1.0, I can confirm it is more than capable of running large projects today), even MS Project. That's without looking at the MYOB series for accountancy in small businesses, etc. So, with Word Processing, Database work, Spreadsheets, Presentations, Book-Keeping and Project Management all covered early on in the Macintosh lifetime, why was taht argument ever allowed to become part of the dogma? We are all guilty of it - we all labelled Macs as creative and PCs as business-orientated, whereas the truth is rather different - Macs are great for creatives and for business usage, whereas PCs are always unreliable and unhelpful and are no good for creative work. I think that a large part of Gil Amelio's worries were down to the Apple faithful buying into the idea that whilst PCs might cross the divide and let you make pretty pictures, Macintosh was incapable or unsuitable for doing prosaic accounting work.

Think about it - what can you do with a brand new Vista PC and a Windows-based handheld that couldn't actually be acheived with even something like a Mac LC and a Newton? Maintain your diary? Create a letter? Create a spreadsheet for accounts?

The obvious truth is that most of us could easily do our day-to-day business work on out-dated Apple/Macintosh hardware with far more ease and stability than we could on a brand new Windows machine. I have the horrible feeling that we, the so-called Apple fanbase are responsible for a large proportion of the problems Apple faced in the 1990s, based primarliy on our willingness to want to be part of the artistic elite - we didn't want our beloved Macs sullied with Project Management or accountants, so we resisted it at all costs in order to maintain the facade of being "Pirates". Let's be honest, the hardware was fine, the software was there and it was only down to negative rumours started mainly by people like us that hurt the image of the brand and made sure that companies that might have adopted stayed clear.

I know it's a contraversial viewpoint, but I do have a horrible feeling it might well be the case...

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