Open and closed

Source: Terry Tufts, "Comment Without Quote" Cider Press (July 1985), 14; Don Scellato, "Open and Closed (A Response to Comment without Quote)," Cider Press (July 1985), 5.
Location: M1007, Apple Computer Inc. Papers, Series 12, Box 18.

Comment Without Quote:

The Macintosh is not the most powerful computer in the Apple world. The II is. Because of its closed architecture, the Mac draws much less support from the entrepreneurs of the world. Apple's general attitude to outside developers is one of selective cooperation. Many potential ventures with Apple are headed off at the gulch. While Apple is large enough to survive with this attitude, it is giving up valuable markets to others and causing loyal users to desert it. There are signs that this strategy is going to backfire on Apple unless they open up their architecture to the user world. This thinking is what made Apple successful in the first place.

Open and Closed:

These are interesting observations. However, they ignore at least two types of users-- the new user and the user with a limited budget. Open architecture carries with it two burdens. The first burden is the ever present need to ensure compatibility of the expansion product to the computer and to the software used by the computer. The adventurous among us (muself included) manage to deal with the stress of getting a new video expansion card or a new memory card to work with a particular piece of software or with another piece of hardware. Many new users and even some experienced users don't have the patience, skill, or contacts to deal with these sorts of problems.

The second burden that accompanies open architecture is the willingness to spend more money to convert a basic 48k, 64k, or 128k computer to something bigger. Money must also be spent to connect a printer, install a modem, expand a video display beyond a basic 40 or 80 column display, and so on. Which is worse, accepting a very complete basic computer system such as the Macintosh which would allow software developers to partially avoid the issue of hardware incompatibility and allows the user to save some money on hardware expansion cards and devices that bring the basic system up to an acceptable standard?

Although I would personally like to see an open architecture Macintosh that allowed me to tinker and expand as far as my pocketbook allowed, I'm really happy with the current version of the Macintosh because it allowed me to be more creative than the IBM PC and Apple II ever allowed.

With the Macintosh and the Apple Iic, Apple freed the software developer to work in a defined environment. The Apple II and the IBM PC are focused more toward hardware expansion than the Macintosh and the Apple Iic.

Document created on 4 April 2000;