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Top 10 Apple Flops 993

Posted by timothy
from the performa-636 dept.
Kelly McNeill writes "Though Apple computer is known for some of the computing and technology industry's most notable innovations, its not as if the company hasn't also taken its lumps. Thomas Hormby submitted the following editorial contribution to osOpinion/osViews, which supplies us with his top ten list of Apple's (and some of associated partners) most significant flops throughout the company's history."
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Top 10 Apple Flops

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  • Cube? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nathanmace (839928) on Monday January 31, 2005 @10:57PM (#11536261)
    I wonder why the cube isn't on the list. Seems like it should be.
    • Re:Cube? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by punkass (70637)
      The only thing wrong with the cube was the price. The cube should have been what the mini mac is now: a low priced gateway to the platform. Instead it was a really cool piece of hardware the reinforced the "Macs cost more" stereotype...
    • Re:Cube? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by michaeldot (751590) on Monday January 31, 2005 @11:26PM (#11536568)
      The Cube, of which I have one powering my plasma 42" as a "photowall" and DVD player, was more a marketing flop than a technological one.

      Alone, or especially when combined with a still new and pricey LCD flat panel, it was perceived as very expensive for what it was - a miniaturized desktop with no slots.

      Petite computers hadn't been around for long (I think Shuttle actually came after, maybe in fact inspired by the Cube) and in the US market, the Cube was a radical approach going against the "gas guzzling SUV paradigm," where most male computer buyers still equate bigger with better.

      It also had a significant number of detractors in the press, who all gleefully reported the "cracks" (scratches on the lucite moulding for the first batch) as if the thing was going to split open like a lizard egg.

      Still, they sold 100,000, created a loyal following of uber-elite modders, contributed R&D to the iMac G4 and Mac mini, and were responsible for the coolest (pun intended) press release signaling its termination: "Apple is putting the Cube on ice."

      Not a total flop.

  • by bobetov (448774) on Monday January 31, 2005 @10:57PM (#11536267) Homepage
    I love it. As perfect a description of a slashdotting as I've ever seen.

    Do you want to play a game?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 31, 2005 @11:03PM (#11536340)
      Article text, karma whore free:

      "Though Apple computer is known for some of the computing and technology industry's most notable innovations, its not as if the company hasn't also taken its lumps. Thomas Hormby submitted the following editorial contribution to osOpinion/osViews, which supplies us with his top ten list of Apple's (and some of associated partners) most significant flops throughout the company's history."
      --

      Apple and its compatriots have been highly innovative. These companies have proven that even if their ideas are well implemented, they cannot always promote them correctly. Other times, a good idea is implemented poorly, and despite their best marketing effort, the product fails. I have compiled 10 of the most notable products released by Apple or its comrades that have failed.

      Apple Pippin

      Introduced under Spindler's rule as CEO, the Pippin should have won Apple a position in the console market, one Apple had yet to penetrate. Apple's goal was to make the Pippin a multimedia machine, capable of reading CD ROMs, surfing the internet and to play games.

      Apple had decided to share the Pippin's source code with developers for a licensing fee. The developers had a lot more flexibility, and would be able to redesign the Pippin's software to make it attractive for any number of markets. However, Apple was able to recruit only 4500 developers willing to pay the licensing fee.

      The operating system of the Pippin was based on the MacOS and with a PowerPC 603 running at 66 MHZ, the Pippin used a similar processor to desktop macs at that time. Being a multimedia machine, the Pippin was capable of producing CD quality sound, and displaying up to thousands of colors. With the powerful Power PC processor, Apple thrashed Nintendo and Sega consoles performance wise, but never won a sizable portion of the market.

      OpenDoc

      The concept behind OpenDoc is an intuitive one. Many elements of applications are redundant (calculators, multimedia players, spreadsheets). Why not 'cut them up' and use different modules interchangeably. Each file would then make calls on these different modules as needed. With OpenDoc, if a user wished to create a word processor document that includes a spreadsheet, the user would not have to copy it over as a table, or use a gimped up version included with the word processor. Instead, they could call up the ClarisWorks for OpenDoc Spreadsheet module and have a full-blown spreadsheet in the middle of a word processing document.

      OpenDoc development started in 1995 in collaboration with Novell, IBM and Apple. In 1997, Apple integrated OpenDoc into its core strategy, releasing several OpenDoc apps, and including the technology in Mac OS 7.6. At the same time, the technology was being developed for Windows and UNIX. The companies created the Ci Labs which would authorize OpenDoc components that proved to be compatible as "Live Objects".

      In accordance to Apple's vision, it became possible with the OpenDoc compatible version of ClarisWorks to create a document that integrated various OpenDoc modules. The example below has an integrated Video Conferencing session with QuickTime, a browser frame from CyberDog and a graph from another OpenDoc module.

      Since 1996, Novell has ceased Windows development of OpenDoc, forcing IBM to take on responsibilities for the platform at the same time they continued development on their AIX (UNIX from IBM). The two versions both evolved and were mature commercial products in 1997. There were problems for OpenDoc, however. At the same time, Microsoft released ann updated version of OLE, and released ActiveX, that closely mimicked the OpenDoc principles. OpenDoc was embraced by major OS developers, but it had failed to attract third party developers. Mac OS 8 was the last release from Apple to include OpenDoc, and it was quietly killed at the hands of Gil Amelio.

      Mac TV

      Apple was the first major personal computer manufacturer to release a machine with a bundled TV tun
      • by Zoop (59907) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @01:25AM (#11537298)
        I was on eWorld! I remember it being fairly empty, but the interface was very cool--much like what the Cleveland FreeNet was trying to do, but all GUIlicious. I also had my first experience with live chat, which was some 16-year-old kid who assumed my androgynous name was the opposite sex and wanted me to go into a private room.

        I've pretty much hated chat ever since, and from what I can see of IRC and AIM spam, things haven't much improved.

        It was eerie, though, how much it felt like AOL, which I was also on (being a refugee from the craptastic Prodigy).

        The frightening thing is, I still have an AOL account. Never set your parents' sites up on a non-portable system.
    • by Tackhead (54550) on Monday January 31, 2005 @11:03PM (#11536344)
      > I love it. As perfect a description of a slashdotting as I've ever seen.
      >
      >Do you want to play a game?

      Ahem. That's "Shall we play a game?" to you, sir.

      Turn in your geek card. As mistakes go, that's a WOPR. (Slashdot is a strange game. The only winning move is not to play.)

      • by servognome (738846) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @01:24AM (#11537294)
        Slashdot is a strange game. The only winning move is not to play
        Shall we play a game?
        Love to. How about Slashdot Fanboy Flame War
        Wouldn't you prefer a nice game of chess?
        Later. Right now let's play Slashdot Fanboy Flame War
        Fine.
        Apple First Strike - WINNER NONE
        Microsoft First Strike - WINNER NONE
        Apple vs. IBM Hardware Scenario - WINNER NONE
        OSX vs Windows Software Scenario - WINNER NONE
        APPLE-AMD Alliance Scenario - WINNER NONE
        European Amiga Uprising - WINNER NONE
        Transmeta offensive - WINNER NONE
        MS-AMD Pact - WINNER NONE
        Opensource theater wide uprising - WINNER NONE
        Grammar Nazi hostility escalation - WINNER NONE
        IBM-SCO counterstrike - WINNER NONE
        Sun product announcement surprise - WINNER NONE
        Amazon One-Click Conflict - WINNER NONE
        DRM limited war - WINNER NONE
        Internet Explorer quick strike - WINNER NONE
        P2P crackdown - WINNER NONE
        Worm assault on Firefox - WINNER NONE
        Swedish viral attack on Windows - WINNER NONE
        China-India Outsource Pact - WINNER NONE
        Torvalds-Gates peace accords - WINNER NONE
        ATI Graphics card Domination - WINNER NONE
        BSD survival - WINNER NONE
        All out format war - WINNER NONE
        Programming Language Preference Battle - WINNER NONE
        Browser standards confrontation - WINNER NONE
        OpenOffice GPL dissention - WINNER NONE
        Missing Poll Option Discord - WINNER NONE
        Off-topic political rivalry - WINNER NONE
      • by DarthWiggle (537589) <sckiwi@gm a i l .com> on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @01:25AM (#11537300) Journal
        Congratulations, you beat the Internet. Three - three?! - WarGames references in a two-line comment... that's fantastic.
  • by all your mwbassguy a (720029) on Monday January 31, 2005 @10:57PM (#11536273) Homepage
    did they host this on a newton, a pippin, or an apple ///?
  • Microsoft Word 6? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by eweu (213081) * on Monday January 31, 2005 @10:58PM (#11536281)
    This is a fairly good list of notable Apple flubs, but why include Microsoft Word 6? It sure was a dog, but that wasn't Apple's fault.

    In it's place, I'd like to nominate the Apple ///. It was such a failure that perhaps the list's originator doesn't even know about it.
    • Actually, the Apple /// was a fairly successful small business computer in the early 80s. Visicalc sold a lot of machines for Apple -- including Apple ///'s.

      Now, Apple SOS (Sophisticated Operating System) for the Apple /// -- that was the problem.

      -Mark, who's having SOS coding flashbacks now, thankyouverymuch
      • I'd personally like to find a list of SOS system calls so I can compare them to the ProDOS MLI calls I know and love. Too bad the web kinda fails at letting me have this info. Maybe it really doesn't exist!

        Anyway, if SOS is anything like ProDOS from an assembly language point, I can't possibly see it being all -that- bad. After experiencing the hell that was programming to the File Manager for DOS 3.3, ProDOS (and perhaps SOS, since ProDOS was based on SOS) is a dream.

        From what little I've used of the
      • by ScrewMaster (602015) on Monday January 31, 2005 @11:54PM (#11536781)
        Actually, the Apple /// was a fairly unsuccessful small business computer system. Remarkably so, although by rights it should have been a runaway success as it addressed all the business-related issues that had been plaguing the Apple ][ series from the beginning. Improved keyboard, cool enclosure, decent display, faster CPU .. pretty slick actually. Honestly, the Apple /// should have eclipsed the IBM PC ... it was there first, had the applications, an actual Business BASIC and backwards compatibility with the older Apple ][ software. What killed it was the initial (and well-deserved) bad rap it got for being unreliable (as well as pricey.) At the time (1980) I was working as a service tech for a local computer store, and the early units I serviced were flaky as hell. Hardly suitable for a home machine much less a business system. Furthermore, initial production runs had a defective real-time clock (great idea, Apple was again ahead of its time) chip. It wasn't until the IBM AT came out that IBM had a built-in hardware RTC. Anyway, Apple did eventually fix the problems with the Apple ///+, but by then it was too late ... it was considered a flop. A few months later the original IBM PC was released (I was sent to IBM sales/service school in Boca Raton the week before the official unveiling) and that sounded the death knell for the Apple ///.

        But, yeah. SOS was kinda weird.
    • Re:Microsoft Word 6? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dissy (172727)
      > In it's place, I'd like to nominate the Apple ///. It was such a failure that
      > perhaps the list's originator doesn't even know about it.

      As stated in the ///'s user manual, just pick it up a few inches off your desk and drop it back down... That will stop it from failing! /still amazed at that chip reseating 'fix' ;}

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 31, 2005 @10:58PM (#11536283)
    According to the first one in TFA:

    Problem in database connection

    You'd think they'd be a little more specific.
  • Most recent blunder (Score:5, Interesting)

    by amichalo (132545) on Monday January 31, 2005 @10:58PM (#11536284)
    I think a recent blunder many remember but will soon be forgotten is the whole iMac G5 blunder.

    Apple misjudged product availability and actually ran out of iMac G4's for two months before they released the iMac G5.

    Yeah, the iMac G5 has relaly been making sales records at Apple, but how much of that is due to there being nothing in the iMac line for people to buy for two months?
    • by ozric99 (162412) on Monday January 31, 2005 @11:05PM (#11536367) Journal
      Apple starve the market of "old tech" just before releasing "new tech", thus creating massive demand and huge sales figures, and you describe this as a blunder? I'll have two of whatever you're having!
      • This is the genius of Apple's marketing. Not only do they make their products desired, they make you believe you HAVE to get one right away. Look at what they did with the Mini - denied its existence for months, released it and blew everyone's mind. THEN comes the really smart part, they let all the rabid fans snatch one up for a week, then change their pricing scheme to sweeten the deal a bit for the people who are still on the fence. Some people claim Apple were a bunch of idiots for setting the price
  • At least... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ikn (712788) <rsmith29@nOspAM.alumni.nd.edu> on Monday January 31, 2005 @10:58PM (#11536289) Homepage
    At least one of the flops isn't the OS the entire company is based on. Just sayin'.
  • Apple ///, anyone? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Faust7 (314817) on Monday January 31, 2005 @10:59PM (#11536304) Homepage
    Why the heck isn't the Apple /// in there? They made it for three whole years, less than 100,000 units (something around 75,000 I believe?).

    The first models were plagued by quality control problems - a clock chip from National Semiconductor that wouldn't work, inadequate ventilation resulting in the unseating of chips (which was rectified by lifting the computer a few inches and dropping it), too-short keyboard cables, and very little software.

    The Apple ///'s reputation was ruined almost right after it was out of the gate, despite the advanced SOS. Production stopped in '83 I believe, and it's a damn good thing Apple had the Mac coming out right afterwards.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      http://www.mynewoffice.com/pcmuseum/AppleIII_336.j pg [mynewoffice.com]

      You have to admit that it is cool looking. Weird-ass keyboard (why make a numerical keyboard with just subtraction?!), but cool looking.
    • by mveloso (325617) on Monday January 31, 2005 @11:15PM (#11536465)
      What's amazing to me is the Apple ][ series lifespan was from 1977 to 1993. Unbelievable! That's 16 years from the original Apple ][ to the last gs EOL.

      • You can take a program for the original Apple ][, pop it into a 5.25" drive on a GS, and run it without a hitch. A program for a 1977 computer running on a 1993 computer.

        That's the kind of backwards compatibility Microsoft, Sony, etc. can only dream of. ;)
      • by artemis67 (93453)
        Chalk that one up to the educational market, and the huge investment they had in Apple ][ hardware and software. There was too much money at stake for Apple to just walk away from it.

        Apple's final solution was to sell the Mac LC with the entire Apple ][ chipset on a daughtercard. IIRC, that didn't sell too well and most schools just bought Macs or PC's.
      • 1993 was only the official date when the //e was finally dropped from the back of the catalog. Apple hadn't done anything to support the platform for years prior.

        (And the long lifespan wasn't that strange. www.ibm.com had PCjr parts listed well into the late 90s.)
    • by Anonymous Writer (746272) on Monday January 31, 2005 @11:33PM (#11536623)

      Why the heck isn't the Apple /// in there?

      I heard it was such a flop that Apple became kind of superstitious about their naming conventions and refused to name any subsequent products beyond "][". They had [apple-history.com] the Apple I, Apple ][, and Apple ][+ before the Apple ///. After the Apple /// flopped, they went back to "][" and had the Apple //e, Apple //c, and Apple //gs. For the Macintosh line, they had the Mac //, Mac //x, Mac //cx, Mac //ci, Mac //si, Mac //fx, Mac //vi, and Mac //vx. They never used "///" again, or any roman numeral above it.

      Even now, they have dumped numbering their product lines altogether, despite the constant upgrades in hardware configurations. The only exception is the processor suffix (G4 or G5), which doesn't really indicate the product generation anyway. This applies to iPods as well.

    • Actually, I'm thankful for the Apple ///'s chip-unseating problem. I never had an Apple ///, but I heard about the problem, and its solution, at the time. Years later when my '486 Packard Bell stopped working, I tried the 'drop' method, and it worked. It had to be reapplied every few months, however.

      Finally, about 2 weeks before my PhD thesis was due, the 'drop' method didn't resurrect my computer. After about half an hour of poking at chips, attempting restarts etc, it eventually came back, but although L
  • by Dancin_Santa (265275) <DancinSanta@gmail.com> on Monday January 31, 2005 @10:59PM (#11536305) Journal
    Apple has always had significant trouble when Steve Jobs is not at the helm. Gil Amelio and his drive to gain business credibility really put a huge pain on the company.

    It has always been about Steve Jobs. The man has insight and what could almost be considered clairvoyance when it comes to building things that people crave. God knows that I'm one of those at his feet, weeping and bathing him in frankincense.
    • "It has always been about Steve Jobs. The man has insight and what could almost be considered clairvoyance when it comes to building things that people crave. God knows that I'm one of those at his feet, weeping and bathing him in frankincense."

      Unfortunately, this also represents a huge problem for Apple down the road. As much as Jobs has dictated that which is desirable, genius tends to have a shelf life. A time will come when he just can't produce the same way- I hope to hell that he is grooming some m
    • by ScrewMaster (602015) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @12:19AM (#11536944)
      Apple has also had significant trouble with Jobs at the helm. It's hard to say whether they've been better off with, or without the man. Let's not forget that he was responsible for bringing Markkula and Sculley on board. That worked out real well, didn't it (rhetorical question.)

      I started out in 1977 on a first-run Apple ][ Standard (Integer ROMs and casette tape.) I eventually upgraded to an Applesoft BASIC card, 4 Mhz. turbo card, Corvus hard drive, the works. I still have all that stuff, actually, except the Corvus which died long ago. I was one of the early crowd of Apple hackers: in 1978 I was selling a simple speech synthesizer that plugged into the game paddle port ... those were great times. It'll never be like that again, that's for sure.

      Now, his decision to unceremoniously drop the Apple // series and the millions of loyal Apple // users may be be an example of Jobs' insight. But from my perspective, as a member of that once-loyal class, I will never trust that company ever again. I invested several years of my career developing software for those machines, only to be told, in the end, "We recommend you buy a MacIntosh." Screw you, Jobs, and the horse you rode in on.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Now, his decision to unceremoniously drop the Apple // series and the millions of loyal Apple // users may be be an example of Jobs' insight.

        Wow, you need help with reality.

        The Apple II had an incredible run ... from 1977 until 1993... almost 9 years after the Mac's release! And well after Jobs was out of Apple.

        Now I'm a pretty huge Apple II fan ("call -151" and "PR#6" always come to mind...) but I completely understand why Apple gave up the Apple II after so many years.

        It was a great machine. But it
    • John Scully gets very little respect from Mac fans (becuase he fired Jobs). He might have lost the marketshare war, but he put the Mac on a sound technical foundation and turned Apple into the strong mid-sized company it is today.

      Furthermore it was Scully who turned Apple into something more than just a computer company, the whole "brand icon" thing was his idea. In that sense, the Jobs II era is really just walking in Scully's footsteps.
  • by richcoder (539438) on Monday January 31, 2005 @11:00PM (#11536313)
    What a bad place for this notice on this website. I know where to go if I want a server that can't stand the heat.

    -rich
  • by SamSeaborn (724276) on Monday January 31, 2005 @11:01PM (#11536324)
    I don't know what's on the list (site's slashdotted), but many people derided the Tangerine [princeton.edu](orange) colored iMac.

    Personally, I always loved that color and thought it was the most stylish one of the lot.

    "she comes in colors everywhere..."

    Sam

    • by linuxbert (78156) on Monday January 31, 2005 @11:16PM (#11536478) Homepage Journal
      I was once an admin for a mac only company. they ran Eudora mail sever on a tangerine imac. they ran it on a tangerine imac beacuse nobody in the office wanted that color on their desk.

      I also once worked for a Mac retailer. 2 guys walked off with a tangerine ibook. the one question i had for my co-workers working at the time was how did you not notice them stealing a bright orange laptop. anyway, i doubt they were able to resell it :)
  • Flops, big deal! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mOoZik (698544) on Monday January 31, 2005 @11:02PM (#11536332) Homepage
    Any company that challenges the state of technology at any given time has to have flops. Hell, ANY business that strives to push the boundary has to have flops. Has MS had flops? Yep. Has GE? Yep. But the underlying strength of any company is how it deals with those flops, how it changes direction, how it survives, and how it kicks ass in the long run. However, the list would be interesting to see...though it's not loading for me.

  • Two words... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tattoi.nobori (687297) on Monday January 31, 2005 @11:04PM (#11536355)
    Microsoft Bob.

    (For every Cube Apple produces, Microsoft is happy to come back with a Windows ME or MS Passport. At least with Apple, the flagship OS doesn't kick you in the jewels every time you sit down to use it. ^_^)

  • by jockm (233372) on Monday January 31, 2005 @11:05PM (#11536363) Homepage
    Because the only way you can innovate and try and make better is by getting out there and trying risky things and learning from your mistakes. I applaud any company willing go out and try these things.
  • Cube "Cracks" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by UserChrisCanter4 (464072) on Monday January 31, 2005 @11:08PM (#11536387)
    I dunno, I honestly thought the cube "cracks" could take the place of something as lame as the asinine iMac colors.

    For those who don't remember, the Cubes would occasionally develop these "cracks," for lack of a better term. IIRC, owners started to see hairline fissures slowly appear underneath the ploycarbonate surface. Apple played it off by saying it added to the "personality" of the cubes, since each set of cracks was unique.

    Heck, I love the cubes and I'd probably put them in that blunder list; if Apple could've figured out a way to make them a bit more powerful or a bit cheaper, they may have been succesful. As it was, their exorbitant pricing simply reinforced the notion that "macs are too expensive."
    • For those who don't remember, the Cubes would occasionally develop these "cracks," for lack of a better term. IIRC, owners started to see hairline fissures slowly appear underneath the ploycarbonate surface.

      I don't know whether you're serious or not?! You've used "IIRC" (which you don't) so I actually think you are being serious!

      As a cube owner, I've described what the cracks actually were in a post above [slashdot.org].

      I have to say, it's very funny what some people can be made to believe.

    • Re:Cube "Cracks" (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ztirffritz (754606) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @12:57AM (#11537171)
      I'm a Plastic Engineer. Those cracks are not so easy to eliminate. On a molded 2 cm thick piece of PolyCarbonate, it is very difficult eliminate internal stresses. It can be done, but the cycle times on the molding process probably would be measured in hours instead of minutes or seconds. If they had introduced a heavily "cracked" model of the Cube they probably could have gotten away with saying it was "character marks". All that they would have to do is spead up the cycle time and build in some more internal stresses. Pop a piping hot piece of plastic into a tank of ice water and then build a computer in it! I think that it would have looked cool.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 31, 2005 @11:10PM (#11536414)

    Posted anonymously to avoid whoring karma!!

    --

    Top 10 Apple Flops

    Though Apple computer is known for some of the computing and technology industry's most notable innovations, its not as if the company hasn't also taken its lumps. Thomas Hormby submitted the following editorial contribution to osOpinion/osViews, which supplies us with his top ten list of Apple's (and some of associated partners) most significant flops throughout the company's history.

    [Image] [osviews.com] Apple and its compatriots have been highly innovative. These companies have proven that even if their ideas are well implemented, they cannot always promote them correctly. Other times, a good idea is implemented poorly, and despite their best marketing effort, the product fails. I have compiled 10 of the most notable products released by Apple or its comrades that have failed.

    Apple Pippin

    [Image] [osviews.com] Introduced under Spindler's rule as CEO, the Pippin should have won Apple a position in the console market, one Apple had yet to penetrate. Apple's goal was to make the Pippin a multimedia machine, capable of reading CD ROMs, surfing the internet and to play games.

    Apple had decided to share the Pippin's source code with developers for a licensing fee. The developers had a lot more flexibility, and would be able to redesign the Pippin's software to make it attractive for any number of markets. However, Apple was able to recruit only 4500 developers willing to pay the licensing fee.

    The operating system of the Pippin was based on the MacOS and with a PowerPC 603 running at 66 MHZ, the Pippin used a similar processor to desktop macs at that time. Being a multimedia machine, the Pippin was capable of producing CD quality sound, and displaying up to thousands of colors. With the powerful Power PC processor, Apple thrashed Nintendo and Sega consoles performance wise, but never won a sizable portion of the market.

    OpenDoc

    [Image] [osviews.com] The concept behind OpenDoc is an intuitive one. Many elements of applications are redundant (calculators, multimedia players, spreadsheets). Why not 'cut them up' and use different modules interchangeably. Each file would then make calls on these different modules as needed. With OpenDoc, if a user wished to create a word processor document that includes a spreadsheet, the user would not have to copy it over as a table, or use a gimped up version included with the word processor. Instead, they could call up the ClarisWorks for OpenDoc Spreadsheet module and have a full-blown spreadsheet in the middle of a word processing document.

    OpenDoc development started in 1995 in collaboration with Novell, IBM and Apple. In 1997, Apple integrated OpenDoc into its core strategy, releasing several OpenDoc apps, and including the technology in Mac OS 7.6. At the same time, the technology was being developed for Windows and UNIX. The companies created the Ci Labs which would authorize OpenDoc components that proved to be compatible as Live Objects.

    In accordance to Apple's vision, it became possible with the OpenDoc compatible version of ClarisWorks to create a document that integrated various OpenDoc modules. The example below has an integrated Video Conferencing session with QuickTime, a browser frame from CyberDog and a graph from another OpenDoc module.

    Since 1996, Novell has ceased Windows development of OpenDoc, forcing IBM to take on responsibilities for the platform at the same time they continued development on their AIX (UNIX from IBM). The two versions both evolved and were mature commercial products in 1997. There were problems for OpenDoc, however. At the same time, Microsoft released ann updated version of OLE, and released ActiveX, that closely mimicked the OpenDoc principles. OpenDoc was embraced by major OS developers, but it had

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @12:13AM (#11536903)
      Thanks for the article text, but damn, you are distrubing to be including a hidden "Kill Michael" message there! (For those that didn't notice, look up all the random italicized bits.)
    • by Latent Heat (558884) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @12:50AM (#11537137)
      Gee, what about the Newton? Was that such a big flop that people don't even remember it to make the list?

      The Newton was a Palm Pilot before there was a Palm Pilot, and it was supposed to have handwriting recognition, but it didn't live up to expectations. The breakthrough of the Palm was that you had to relearn your handwriting in this gestures thing the computer could understand.

  • Question... (Score:5, Funny)

    by physicsphairy (720718) on Monday January 31, 2005 @11:11PM (#11536415) Homepage
    Just how many floating point operations is an Apple flop?

    I'll need to know this information before I can top one, much less ten of them!

  • An overlooked flop (Score:5, Insightful)

    by overbyj (696078) on Monday January 31, 2005 @11:13PM (#11536434)
    was really the whole Performa line of computers. At the time the Performa's were aimed at the home user and overall they were a decent computer. But the flop part was the fact that there were something like 8,000 different versions! (Of course, I am exaggerating, but only by a little bit.)

    I remember going to OfficeDepot and looking at the Performas and they along had like six different models with six different model numbers. Something like 6510, 6511, 6512, 6514, 6515, etc. (I know the actual numbers were different. These are to illustrate my point.) There were just very subtle differences between the models but for whatever reason, it warranted a different number. Basically it was a nightmare trying to remember what was the difference between any two numbers. That whole scheme of trying to provide a range of configurations was a flop. Fortunately, Steve undid that and cut down the product line into four basic models. I, for one, welcomed that.
  • by mgkimsal2 (200677) on Monday January 31, 2005 @11:16PM (#11536480) Homepage
    http://mlagazine.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=N ews&file=article&sid=137&mode=thread&order=0&thold =0 [mlagazine.com]

    This one is probably the original that osviews.com is referencing.

  • Mirror (Score:5, Informative)

    by Goalie_Ca (584234) on Monday January 31, 2005 @11:20PM (#11536507)
    Macreate.net [macreate.net]
    This may be /.'d fast, but it's here as well!
  • 10 flops? (Score:5, Funny)

    by slavemowgli (585321) * on Monday January 31, 2005 @11:22PM (#11536540) Homepage
    10 FLOPS? Come on, guys, even my pocket calculator does more than that. :)
  • by ktakki (64573) on Monday January 31, 2005 @11:48PM (#11536739) Homepage Journal
    The osviews.com site is a smoking hole in the ground, so I have no idea what Thomas Hormby's list looks like. But I have my own list. It's been twenty years since I bought my first Mac (512K), and I'm probably going to order a Mac Mini this week; in between I've owned over a dozen different models. I love Apple, but I'd be the first to admit that they haven't been without problems over the years. So, here's my list of fuckups that came out of 1 Infinte Loop, Cupertino, CA:

    1. 128K in the original Mac - Even in a world where an operating system, a couple of applications, and all of your documents could fit on a 400K floppy, 128KB of RAM was still not enough. Fortunately, the Mac shipped with 512KB less than a year after its introduction.
    2. Service problems in the early '90s - Quality problems, particularly with LaserWriters, were endemic for a while, and Apple's support during this period was less than stellar. It took years before Apple even began to shake off its reputation for poor customer service.
    3. LCII - I didn't really want to single out one model, but the LCII was the only Mac I absolutely hated. It barely had enough power to run the Finder.
    4. System 7.6 - A System that stayed around long past its sell-by date. All the dithering about Copeland as a potential replacement didn't help things much, and its replacement (System 8) was little more than a stop-gap measure (like Windows ME).
    5. Holding on to ADB/NuBus too long - I never really saw what advantage ADB had over the PS/2 mouse/keyboard interface other than vendor lock-in (I think only one other peripheral - a modem - used this interface). NuBus did have advantages over ISA, but the move to PCI could have happened a year or two earlier.
    6. Some outrageous prices during the '90s - This was where the Mac got its "overpriced" reputation. I recall that the list price for a Quadra 950 was close to $10,000. It wasn't always like this: I bought my first Mac 512K because it was nearly $1,000 less than the equivalent PC/XT clone (and the peripheral I needed, a MIDI interface, was less than $100, less than half what an MPU-401 for a PC cost).
    7. Begun the Clone Wars Have. - Now you see 'em, now you don't. The conventional wisdom was that Apple wanted the clonemakers to stake out the low end of the market, leaving the high-margin high end market to Apple. But Radius and Power Computing had other ideas.
    8. John Scully - 'nuff said.
    9. Mutant Macs (Cube, 20th Anniversary Mac, Color Classic, Portable) - Not everything that emerges from 1 Infinite Loop is to die for. Well, some are to die for (Cube) but stink up the marketplace. I think every manufacturer is allowed to make an Edsel now and again.
    10. Copeland - All that work for what?


    What, you were expecting one button mouse to be here?

    k.
  • by donnz (135658) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @12:32AM (#11537033) Homepage Journal
    If you plugged the pins in out of line at the next power up they went BANG and dislodged your boss' toupee. Mind you, once bitten...
  • Word 6 (Score:4, Informative)

    by steveha (103154) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @12:43AM (#11537099) Homepage
    From the article:

    The new manager decided to just use WinWord 2.0's code-base on the Mac.

    Not quite correct. I worked there around that time.

    The decision was to use the same source code to build both Windows and Mac versions.

    With Pyramid, the goal was to make a word processor that would be carefully designed: back end universal, front end specific to each supported OS (which would be Windows, MacOS, and possibly OS/2 PM). When Pyramid didn't work out as well as they hoped, they decided to take the Windows source code and build it for MacOS.

    Rather than running wild with #ifdef statements and trying to make a native Mac interface, they used a compatibility library. IIRC this was called WLM (Windows Layer for Macintosh). It was not unlike the "winelib" library.

    Because both Windows Word and Mac Word were compiled from the same source code, the two products became fully compatible. This was a major leap in features for the Mac Word product. Previous versions of Mac Word had been much smaller and faster, but they were also missing features compared to Windows Word, which meant that file compatibility was not 100%. (You can't import a file, and then export that file with edits, if your word processor does not support all the features that file uses!)

    Business users were much happier with Mac Word 6 because of the file compatibility. Home users, students, and magazine reporters tended to be annoyed about the slower speed of Word 6 compared to the older versions. There was a bug that made the "word count" feature particularly slow, and Microsoft caught a lot of heat from the press because magazine reporters tend to care a lot about word counts.

    As for it being a top 10 flop, I disagree. I don't think you can reasonably call it a failure. From Mac Word 6 onward, every version of Word for the Mac has had good feature compatibility with Windows Word, and of course Macs got faster and got more RAM. And Microsoft wasn't making enough money on the Mac version to continue to support a complete extra development team with its own code base.

    And by the way, the Mac developers I knew at Microsoft all really loved the Mac and wanted to make good software for it. You can accuse Microsoft of not caring about the Mac, or grudgingly writing code for it, but it's not true.

    steveha
  • by sakusha (441986) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @01:03AM (#11537203)
    OK, here's a REAL flop that is so obscure, I bet that 99.9% of Macheads never heard of it, even if they were Mac users at the time it shipped:

    A/UX, the first Unix OS for Mac.

    A/UX included special battery support for the Macintosh Portable (yeah, the first portable, the flop, the really heavy one that used lead-acid batteries) and also had sleep support, which was totally unheard of at that time.

    I took a certification class in A/UX, and the Apple guys told me they didn't seriously expect to sell many units, the product only existed to fulfill requirements for government sales that specified a Unix OS must be available for any personal computer CPU being requisitioned. Nevermind that the users never intended to USE Unix, the bids were rigged against Macs by specifying Unix must be available, and it wasn't, so that meant Macs were disqualified from bids and only PCs would be considered. But Apple won back some major government business by meeting this petty requirement. Cost em a bundle though.
  • by Shannon Love (705240) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @01:34AM (#11537344) Homepage
    A list of Apple's greatest mistakes must include the company wide product quality failure that occurred under Michael Spindler (*spit*).

    Every major product shipped in late 95-early 96 under Spindler (*spit*) had a major flaw requiring recall or replacement.

    System 7.5, the 6200 logic board, the plastics on the Powerbook 5300, flaming batteries on powerbooks, video cables on several all-in-one models, and many other flaws. I worked in Apple Tech support at the time and it was hell.

    These were not failures of design but they were severe failures in execution, specifically Spindler's (*spit*) dismantling of all quality control groups and procedures within the company. The "Great Quality Implosion", as veterans call it, would have killed any normal company. Only Apple's near fanatical consumer base saved the company.
  • by NeuroManson (214835) on Tuesday February 01, 2005 @05:01AM (#11538161) Homepage
    The @world Pippin. Basically a PPC 603 Mac, custom designed as a videogame console with net capabilities. in conjunction with Bandai. Barely sold enough in Japan, barely registered a blip in America. Considering it was released in 1995 and surpassed the Playstation in computing and graphical capabilities, it was definately ahead of its time, but miles behind decent marketing.

    http://assembler.roarvgm.com/Apple_Bandai_pippin /a pple_bandai_pippin.html

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