Conventional wisdom states that Apple made an error of Armageddon proportions twenty years ago by not licensing the Mac OS.
Is Apple making the same mistake with the iPod that they made with the Macintosh? Daring Fireball offers an opinion.
Incidentally, John Gruber's fine writing always makes me happy that I decided to support his personal journalism efforts by becoming a member and buying a t-shirt.
My reason for writing “The Art of the Parlay” — revisiting the conventional wisdom surrounding Apple’s mid-’80s decision not to license the Macintosh — is that current events have made the topic relevant.
Those current events, of course, are related to the Apple music platform: the iPod, iTunes, and iTMS.
The relevance to Apple’s 20-year-old licensing decisions is that nearly every mainstream media pundit who opens his mouth about the iPod — especially in the wake of RealNetworks’ Harmony announcement — has decided that Apple is, all together now, making the same mistake with the iPod that they made with the Macintosh.
I.e., that Apple didn’t license the Macintosh, Microsoft did license their operating systems, and that’s why Microsoft won and Apple lost. And now Apple is doing the same thing with the iPod and the iTMS.
I’m here to tell you this is utter bunk. Apple’s position with the iPod is significantly different — and much stronger — than their position with Macintosh 20 years ago. There are admittedly a few similarities, first and foremost of which is that both products are much better designed than any competing product. Second, uh, they both use 12-point Chicago as the system font. (Except for the Mini, which uses Espy Sans, the Newton’s system font.)