Friday, June 11, 2004

Macintosh Product Introduction Plan

I've been reading the Macintosh Product Introduction Plan that Michael linked today. These two passages made me smile:

"Our objective is to understand our competition (IBM)...."


"Due to a close working relationship with Microsoft..."

But of course, in 1983, who would have known what the latter was about to do to the former? When IBM and Microsoft were drawing up their licensing agreement, IBM gave away something that appeared to have no value: the right for Microsoft to license their software to other PC makers. At the time there were no other PC makers. But it may have been Apple that opened up the door to those manufacturers by introducing a new product that was successful in competition with IBM, and opening up the competitive field. In their Competitive Analysis on this Product Introduction Plan, they anticipate that one of the ways IBM will challenge the Mac is this:

IBM Attack: Apple once again has come out with a non-standard operating system and no connections to the large base of software already written for MS-DOS and CP/M. It will take quite some time, if ever, for to complete all the required software for Macintosh and right now it has only three applications.

It's interesting how the first sentence has inside it an inkling of how Microsoft will overtake IBM. IBM's "attack" is based on the legacy of MS-DOS, software they did not own. In 1983 were there IBM PC Clone startups? I'd guess that there were, but not big enough to be on Apple's radar. If they had seen them coming that sentence would have read differently. Of course, hindsight is 20/20, and this Product Introduction Plan is nonetheless Kickass with a capital K.