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Essay/Term paper: Macintosh vs. ibm

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Information Technology

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Macintosh vs. IBM

The IBM and Macintosh computers have been in competition with each other for
years, and each of them have their strong points. They both had their own ideas
about where they should go in the personal computer market. They also had many
developments, which propelled themselves over the other.

It all started when Thomas John Watson became president of Computing Tabulating
Recording in 1914, and in 1924 he renamed it to International Business Machines
Corporation. He eventually widened the company lines to include electronic
computers, which was extremely new in those days. In 1975 IBM introduced their
first personal computer (PC) which was called the Model 5100. It carried a
price tag of about $9,000 which caused it to be out of the main stream of
personal computers, even though their first computer did not get off to as big
as a start they had hoped it did not stop them from continuing on. Later on IBM
teamed up with Microsoft to create an operating system to run their new
computers, because their software division was not able to meet a deadline.
They also teamed up with Intel to supply its chips for the first IBM personal
computer. When the personal computer hit the market it was a major hit and IBM
became a strong power in electronic computers. Phoenix Technologies went
through published documentation to figure out the internal operating system
(BIOS) in the IBM. In turn, they designed a BIOS of their own which could be
used with IBM computers. It stood up in courts and now with a non IBM BIOS, the
clone was created. Many manufacturers jumped in and started making their own
IBM Compatible computers, and IBM eventually lost a big share in the desktop

While IBM was just getting started in the personal computer market, Apple was
also just getting on its feet. It was founded by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak
in 1976. They were both college drop outs, Steve Jobs out of Reed College in
Oregon and Steve Wozniak from the University of Colorado. They ended up in
Silicon Valley, which is located in northern California near San Francisco.
Wozniak was the person with the brains and Jobs was the one who put it all
together. For about $700 someone could buy a computer that they put together,
which was called the Apple I. They hired a multimillionaire, Armas Clifford
Markkula, a 33 year old as the chief executive in 1977. In the mean time
Wozniak was working at Hewlett Packard until Markkula encouraged him to quit his
job with them, and to focus his attention on Apple. Apple went public in 1977,
for about $25 a share. In 1977 the Apple II was introduced which set the
standard for many of the microcomputers to follow, including the IBM PC.

The Macintosh and IBM computer have been in competition ever since they put out
their first personal computers. In 1980, the personal computer world was
dominated by two types of computer systems. One was the Apple II, which had a
huge group of loyal users, and they also had a large group of people developing
software for the Apple II. The other system was the IBM-Compatible, which for
the most part all used the same software and plug in hardware. In 1983 Apple
sold over $1 billion in computers and hardware. Now Apple was trying to appeal
more to the business world so they designed the Lisa computer that was a
prototype for the Macintosh and it cost around $10,000. It featured a never
before seen graphical interface and the mouse, which are as common as any other
component on the computer today. IBM introduced a spreadsheet program called
Lotus 1-2-3, which caused anticipated sales of the Lisa computer to drop to
nearly half.

In order for Apple to compete with the IBM-Compatible they had to change some
things around. Jobs headed the development of the Macintosh, with the goal in
mind of a "computer for the rest of us." He wanted it to be easily set up out
of the box and up in running in 15 minutes. The developers of the Macintosh
made it so that you could not upgrade it for they did not think that you needed
to open your computer. In 1984, they launched the Macintosh for $2,495. The
advertisements for it cost around $500,000 and more than $1.5 million to play it
on Super Bowl Sunday in 1984. They decided later that if they wanted to keep up
with IBM they would have to make the Macintosh cheaper and easier to upgrade in
order to appeal to the business market. In 1991 Apple's desktop computing
business was going down hill, and Motorola, who was their chip manufacturer, was
being known as the company that was always one step behind Intel. So Apple lost
developers for their personal computer.

This is the label on many of the current chips that are being shipped today. One
thing that is different between the IBM and Macintosh is the type of CPU
architecture they are using. The IBM computers have been using the same chip
design as it did when it first created the personal computer. They created
their systems around a CPU design Intel created, which used an architecture
called CISC (Complex Instruction Set Computing). This also allowed the IBM
computer to be compatible through out the years with the older systems. For
instance if you had some sort of typing programming that was on an IBM-
Compatible computer that had a 286-12 CPU, you could run that same exact
software on one of your newest Pentiums today. So even after 10 years the same
software could be used. This also has it down sides, because that means we have
been using an internal CPU architecture that is at least 20 years old. One
thing that IBM users can look forward to is the advancements that Intel is
making with it's CPUs. One of the latest things that has hit the market is MMX,
which allows programs that are more graphically inclined to run faster, as well
as programs that use sound. They already have chips in the making going by the
code name Klamath. These will be a cross form of the current Pentium Pro chips
and the Pentium MMX chips. They should be coming out in 1998, and will have a
MHz rating up to 400. Right now the MMX chips are shipping at 200 MHz and will
soon have one at 233 MHz. Intel is moving very swiftly in bringing us the top
of the line technology. Apple decided to go with a different CPU architecture.
IBM created a RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computing) CPU that could run faster
than the CISC model of the same MHz rating, so a RISC chip with a MHz rating of
100 could run just as fast as a CISC chip with MHz rating of 133. Now with the
definitions of CISC and RISC you would think that the RISC chip has fewer
instructions, and actually in fact it is just the opposite, but since it started
out with fewer instructions then the CISC chip it kept that name. Now IBM did
not want to put it into their own personal computers because of the
compatibility issues. The computer would not be able to use the current
hardware or software, that was being made for the IBM-Compatible computers. So
IBM sought out a company that would be willing to buy their RISC chip, and Apple
was the company they found. Motorola had previously been designing the chips
for Apple, but they were not as fast as IBM so the Macintosh development slowed
down in comparison to IBM. IBM could design RISC chips for Apple with no
problem. With this Apple needed to get developers to make applications made to
run specifically for the RISC chip. IBM decided to team up with Motorola
because they were not equipped to put out chips in high volume like Apple needed.
Apple had already been creating a mother board based on the Motorola chip
design, so with IBM and Motorola teaming up they did not have to redesign their
mother boards. So now an Apple computer could run faster than an IBM, in a
certain sense. A Macintosh Quadra 40 MHz using Motorola 68040 chip would be
faster than most 486DX-66 MHz CPUs. The reason being is that the Macintosh
computer was totally design to run with each other. So the Operating System in
the Macintosh would take advantage of the hardware's capabilities as well as the
hardware taking advantage of the Operating System. So with this interconnected
system it would be faster than a system not made to take advantage of every
little thing in a piece of hardware.

Apple Macintosh Mouse

With the both companies in heated competition, the pressure was on for them to
come out with things that the other did not have. Apple came through very
strongly in this area. They created many devices that are used in many
computers today. In 1984 Apple created the first GUI (Graphical User Interface)
this also brought about folders or directories, long file names, drag and drop,
and the trash can. All these devices are used in the more popular operating
system for the IBM-Compatible computer called Windows 95. Apple also created
the mouse, which is as common as the keyboard. One thing that helps the IBM-
Compatible in the hardware area, is all the third party developers. With the
Apple computer, only Apple had the rights to develop hardware for their
computers. With IBM-Compatibles anyone can develop hardware for it, thus we
have many innovative accessories and hardware for the IBM-compatibles. One of
the more interesting devices for the IBM-compatible computers, that was featured
at the 1997 Comdex show in Vegas was a speaker system. It looks like a giant
plastic dome that is placed above your head pointing down towards you, and
allows stereo sound to be heard only by the person directly underneath it. One
company that was showing it in action was Creative Labs, which is a maker of
Sound Cards and usually sets the standard for them. They had many computers
networked together and were running a popular game of 1996 called Quake, which
is a first person action game. They had put the dome shaped speakers above each
computer station and it allowed each player to hear what was going on around
them, but it would not make any outside noise or interfere with the person
playing right next to them.

Installing a card can be very easy

One of the latest things with computers these days is Plug "n' Play. It was
meant to alleviate the fear of people upgrading their computer themselves, even
though some people will always pay someone big time money to do it. If you are
afraid of opening your computer it is strongly suggested that you have a
professional do it, for they have been doing that sort of thing for years, and
they know exactly what they are doing as well as what to do if they encounter
any problems that are uncommon to the regular consumer. The deal with Plug "n'
Play is that it would allow you to install a new sound card or some other plug
in card and then just turn on your computer with out you having to change any
jumpers or configure it in any way. The Macintosh computer and the Windows 95
operating system both have this feature built into it as well as some of the
newer IBM-Compatible BIOS. There have been draw backs to it, for some of the
people that prefer to configure it themselves for the software used to configure
the card might not be able to use a configuration you wish to use.

Apple computers have many things that already come with it, that the IBM-
Compatibles do not always have. For instance they come with a 16-bit sound card,
that has voice recognition built into it. With the voice recognition the
operating system was designed to use it in every way you could think of, you
could do anything without typing or clicking on a thing. For instance you could
tell it to "Shut Down" and it will go through and turn off the computer, or you
could write a letter to a long lost relative just by speaking. The Macintosh
computer was designed so that everything you did was made as easy as possible,
so that is why all the software has to be redone when they add new hardware. If
you wanted to eject a disk you stuck into it, you went up into the pull down
menus and told it to "eject disk." You could also shut off the computer from
the pull down menus. This is basically the total opposite of the IBM-Compatible
computers. To eject the disk you just plainly press the little button on the
disk drive, and if you wanted to turn off the computer you just press the power
button. The Macintosh computer could run into problems, say if you had a disk
in there and somehow the computer locked up or the power was off, you would not
be able to get that disk out of there. Some of the other things that the latest
Macintosh computers have been coming with are networking cards built into it
already. If you wanted to play a game or transfer files with a friend, you just
grabbed a cord and plugged the two computers together and then you are off. You
could also do video conferencing and send email over the network, as well.

With the way the Macintosh computer was designed you cannot upgrade the sound
card for everything is built into the system, but with an IBM-Compatible
computer you could easily take out one card and put in another. Anything that
you add on to the Macintosh has to be put on the outside, like CD-ROMs and
Modems. Also because the Operating System of the Macintosh relies on the
computer's hardware and was designed for that particular hardware, if you ever
upgrade it you have to upgrade the operating system as well as many hardware
components and software that were made for that particular model. That is one
reason many of the big time business users would not want to buy a Macintosh for
they would want their investment to last awhile and if they needed to they would
want to upgrade their systems as cheaply as possible and the IBM-Compatible made
it cheap for them to do so. The Macintosh computer itself usually costs about
two times as much as a comparable IBM computer. They also tend to confuse their
customers by bringing out many new models out all the time. For instance in
1993 alone, Apple introduced 17 different models of their Macintosh computer.

Software for the Apple computers is harder to come by then for the IBM-
compatible computer. Apple controls all the software for their computers and
will not license it to any other developer. So you do not have the variety you
do with the IBM computers. A big thing that has become very popular in the last
few years is something called the Internet. Almost everyone has experienced the
internet in some form or the other. You can almost do anything you wanted over
the internet. From writing a message to some distant relative and have it
arrive to that person in minutes, or playing a chess game with someone from
Russia. You can also get any program you are looking for over the internet, and
many of these programs are usually only for the IBM-compatible computer for
there is more people with an IBM computer and thus more people making
applications and games for the IBM computer. So basically there is just a ton
of software out there for people who own an IBM-compatible computer.

With the IBM-compatible computer you can continue to upgrade it, even someone
who bought a computer five years ago could have upgraded it so that it is just
as fast as any computer of today, but with the Macintosh you basically would
have to buy a new system. Also since IBM had used a third-party for its
operating system other companies could license the operating system to make
their own compatible operating systems, as well as any other software for it.
Compatible hardware could easily be assembled. As well as peripherals and
components that will improve the IBM compatible computer. From some of the
common components, like CD-ROMs, Modems, Sound Cards, and Printers. You even
have a choice from about 20 different styles of mice that you could use on your
system, from three basic groups: Roller, Track balls, and Touch Pads. They have
some other ones, like one that clips onto your monitor and shoots infrared beams
across the screen to detect movements by your finger, and so it basically turns
your monitor into a touch screen. As well as hand held ones that move the
cursor based on the position of your hand.

The Apple computer has usually always appealed to the school systems. With the
IBM-compatible computers going more towards businesses and personal use. The
main reasons behind this are that the Apple had many types of software directed
towards children and helping them learn. They were also easier to use so that
appealed to the school system, for they would be able to have children that are
five years old be able to use a computer with no problem. The IBM computer went
more with businesses, because of its ability to be upgraded and they would be
able to get longer use out of it. They could more easily adapt an IBM-
compatible computer to their way of doing things, just because of the many
different software out there as well as its ease of adding or upgrading it
capabilities. The IBM-compatible computers have been becoming increasingly more
popular with the school systems, because of Apple going down hill and having
less and less software available for it.

The IBM and Macintosh computers have been in competition with each other for
years, and each of them have their strong points. Apple dominated in the
personal computer market when it first started, but when the IBM clone was
created that started its downfall. Some of Apple's earlier decisions caused it
to lose in the battle with IBM as well. Motorola as its chip manufacturer,
caused them to be one step behind the Intel based IBM-compatibles. Not
licensing out its software so that third parties could create software for it,
was also a down fall for it. Now, that the IBM-compatible computer has a strong
support it is very unlikely that Apple will be able to bring back a large user
group for its personal computer, even though their computers are faster.


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