Macintosh vs IBM

Macintosh vs IBM

Macintosh vs IBM

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Home Page > Computers > Operating Systems > Macintosh vs IBM

Macintosh vs IBM

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Posted: Nov 21, 2010 |Comments: 0

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 ,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 0 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 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 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 ,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 ,495.  The

advertisements for it cost around 0,000 and more than .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

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