“Hi, I’m a Mac, and Now I’m Also a PC.” Does the Apple/IBM Partnership Signify the End of the Mac vs. PC Debate?

For over 30 years, consumers have been asked to choose between a Mac or a PC.

For 30 years, consumers have been asked to choose between a Mac or a PC.

When Apple unveiled their first Macintosh computer 30 years ago, they also released a notorious commercial that depicted IBM as “Big Brother” from George Orwell’s novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four. In the book, the year 1984 is a dystopian civilization where an omnipresent government punishes individualism and independent thinking. In the commercial, civilians march in unison as Big Brother (IBM) broadcasts a speech on telescreens where they are declaring they “shall prevail” in creating a pure ideology. But as soon as the speech is over, a runner (Apple) hurls a brass-headed hammer at the talking screen, smashing it into a million pieces. Subtlety was not Apple’s strong suit.

“Today, we celebrate the first glorious anniversary of the Information Purification Directives. We have created, for the first time in all history, a garden of pure ideology—where each worker may bloom, secure from the pests purveying contradictory truths. Our Unification of Thoughts is more powerful a weapon than any fleet or army on earth. We are one people, with one will, one resolve, one cause. Our enemies shall talk themselves to death, and we will bury them with their own confusion. We shall prevail!”

– Big Brother in Apple’s “1984” commercial

According to the 1984 United States Census, only 8.2% of households reported they had a computer while 21.1% declared they used a computer in some direct way. These numbers pale in comparison to today’s figures, but 1984 is considered to be the beginning of the “computer revolution.” Computers in 1984 were so popular that TIME magazine even gave its coveted “Man of the Year” award to the computer instead of a man. For the first time in our lives, computers were available at work, school and in our home – and most of them were manufactured by IBM.

The year prior to the “1984” commercial, Steve Jobs acknowledged IBM’s dominance in his Apple keynote address.

“It is now 1984. It appears IBM wants it all. Apple is perceived to be the only hope to offer IBM a run for its money. Dealers initially welcoming IBM with open arms now fear an IBM dominated and controlled future. They are increasingly turning back to Apple as the only force that can ensure their future freedom. IBM wants it all and is aiming its guns on its last obstacle to industry control: Apple. Will Big Blue dominate the entire computer industry? The entire information age? Was George Orwell right about 1984?”

–Steve Jobs in his 1983 Apple keynote address

 

Steve Jobs was not a fan of IBM in 1984.

Steve Jobs was not a fan of IBM in 1984.

For 30 years, consumers have been asked to choose between a Mac and a PC. Users of each respective type argue endlessly as to why their machine is better than the other and neither can agree that both are good at what they do. If you use a Mac, you’re perceived to be a “fan boy” who simply wants to spend a lot of money to look cool. If you use a PC, you’re considered an uptight fuddy-duddy who only thinks they know better. There is no winning when it comes to which side you choose because the other side will always have an opinion about you. But this tireless debate could be coming to an end soon.

Yesterday, Apple and IBM announced a joint venture to develop more than 100 business software programs for the iOS operating system. While these applications won’t be available on Mac’s or PC’s, the merger is expected to strengthen both companies’ positions in the corporate world. The retail, health care, transportation, banking, insurance and telecommunications industries could soon be dominated by both Apple and IBM.

This alliance is significant because computing has been migrating toward a mobile world in recent years. Smartphones are used for shopping, making doctor’s appointments, hailing a cab, paying bills, checking bank statements and keeping in touch with everyone you know through emails, text messaging and – very rarely – phone calls. Today, 22% of the global population owns a smartphone while 20% own a computer. The “computer revolution” is no more; we are now in the “mobile age”.

Apple and IBM putting aside their differences to create a unified method of computing is eerily similar to the first step of the “Information Purification Directives”. And because more people own mobile devices than computers, it’s not far-fetched to predict our mobile devices will eventually replace desktop computers for everything we do. “1984” could soon be a reality, but is freedom of choice something mankind is willing to sacrifice for the sake of convenience? Maybe we should rename the book 2014.

“The choice for mankind lies between freedom and happiness and for the great bulk of mankind, happiness is better.”

–George Orwell in “Nineteen Eighty-Four

Do you think the Apple/IBM partnership ends the Mac vs. PC debate? Or does this signal the beginning of a new era of unification like “1984?”

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13 Responses to “Hi, I’m a Mac, and Now I’m Also a PC.” Does the Apple/IBM Partnership Signify the End of the Mac vs. PC Debate?

  1. James Horner July 16, 2014 at 2:48 pm #

    “Today, we celebrate the first glorious anniversary of the Information Purification Directives. We have created, for the first time in all history, a garden of pure ideology—where each worker may bloom, secure from the pests purveying contradictory truths. Our Unification of Thoughts is more powerful a weapon than any fleet or army on earth. We are one people, with one will, one resolve, one cause. Our enemies shall talk themselves to death, and we will bury them with their own confusion. We shall prevail!”

    Ironically, this sounds more like present day Apple.

  2. Nick July 16, 2014 at 2:56 pm #

    What about all the PowerPC Macs from years past? They have had a partnership for a really long time.

    • Michelle Klein-Hass July 16, 2014 at 4:14 pm #

      Yes they did. Look up Taligent. Also, Big Blue made chips for Apple for years. They dumped IBM over the side when G5 proved not to scale to laptops, and embraced Intel chips. Even after this, IBM and Apple have worked together on smaller initiatives, mostly having to do with cross-platform Free and Open Source Software like CUPS and WebKit.

  3. Blammer J Wammer July 16, 2014 at 3:04 pm #

    Steve Jobs would be rolling over in his grave

    • there at work July 16, 2014 at 4:05 pm #

      he’d have to claw out of hell first.

    • Michelle Klein-Hass July 16, 2014 at 4:16 pm #

      Uh nope. The Steve presided over several Apple/IBM joint ventures.

  4. Mark B July 16, 2014 at 3:54 pm #

    I’m sorry, but mobile devices are great, but they’re no substitute for a desktop if you’re a gamer. I love my rig and no mobile device will replace it any time soon. As long as there are PC gamers, there will be PCs.

    • Mike K July 17, 2014 at 1:28 am #

      As long as there are developers, there will be PCs. As long as there are graphics artists, there will be PCs. There is a limit to what a mobile chip can do.

    • John DeBrino July 17, 2014 at 6:36 am #

      Keep in mind, you and I are in a small demographic. For most people, they could chuck their PCs in the thrash and get along just fine with a phone or tablet.

  5. Jkc135r July 17, 2014 at 6:40 am #

    I Agree with mark B! I pcs game too and no tablet can support some of the high quality games that require massive servers!

  6. Pyro July 17, 2014 at 9:16 am #

    Apple’s success is typically short-lived, and even current trends reflect that. The iPhone was cool and unique when it released. Now it’s just about as bland as Apple computers became in the 90s. Luckily for Apple, they’ve gained a cult of blind Generation Y hipsters at just the right time that gave them enough cash reserves to keep them afloat throughout their slow business points. Such fans have made Apple’s business so easy by being so caught up in their hipster ways. Hopefully as they mature they will realize that Apple is just another business; nothing amazing to see here.

  7. Dandledorff July 17, 2014 at 1:42 pm #

    Is PC just meaning anything that isn’t an apple operating system? Furthermore as far as mobile operating systems go iOS works, android works better, microsoft …

  8. The Average Joe July 17, 2014 at 4:55 pm #

    PC’s are dead, Tablets are very good. In corporate America we have virtualized all our servers and are going after the desktops. So that means no more desktops as they are vdesktops and that is not the same. All developers are focusing on the projected +1 billion Android phone and tablet users that are expected to buy software at teh end of 2015… Game over Microsoft and the PC

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