Bright lights shining upwards obscures the stars...

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Microsoft didn't "save us" from anything. They made a lacklustre product that people settled for. If IBM hadn't taken their product, we'd probably have had a risc-based 801 cpu in the first IBM PC, and a much better OS. Besides that, Macs or Amigas might have become the defacto standard instead of PCs. The world would be MUCH better without microsoft, almost whichever way it panned out. Certainly much better without their criminal activities.

I think Apple is a worse disaster than Microsoft, hindered only by the fact that Jobs doesn't have the ability to teach a second in command. Luckily, when he dies from his cancer, Apple will go back to tanking like it did the first time without him.

Certainly their criminal activities over the last 10 years have led the industry to almost complete disaster, but those same activities also pushed us out of our complacency, leading to mass recognition of Linux and other Free and Open Source software.

There's also no reason to believe that IBM would've behaved any different, with the exception that they didn't have the drive to push mass-market adoption of their machines. IBM in the early days showed more signs of wanting to control than Microsoft did (Look at the original lawsuits and such around Compaq versus IBM)

I've never understood why Commodore products managed to get ousted. I didn't grow up with the C=64, but my school certainly had them, as did many of my friends. With that type of reach, they should've been able to be at least as successful as Apple was. Looking at the wikipedia article, it seems like the management mistakes would've crippled them regardless of their competition.

Agreed on Commodore; they seemed to have almost no marketing skill at all with the Amiga.

With the VIC-20, C64, etc., it's very strange that they didn't carry on the brand, too. In a sense, I like that they didn't though, as they're not compatible, and it would have been a lie.

The C128 was their big attempt at bringing forward the C64's legacy. Those failed miserably, though. They were a little complex, with different modes, and not compatible ENOUGH with the C64. I'm not sure if they actually did 80 columns without a monitor, and I think the world was holding out for 16-bit by then, even if no one put it in those terms.

Recovering from that by buying the Amiga was undoubtedly a great decision. They could have easily revolutionised (founded?) the PC market with Amigas and I think we'd all have been better off if they had. This is the same reason I'd have much preferred to see Macs win the PC war (if it can be called a war) -- PCs spent years catching up (and STILL aren't fully caught up in some respects) with things that Amigas and Macs did years ago.

But maybe the point is that Commodore, Apple, IBM (both with PCs and OS/2) all made contributions to our expectations, and so something of that innovation lives on, even if only in the fact that we're not entirely happy with current offerings ;)

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