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This Week in Apple History
by Owen Linzmayer
& Bryan Chaffin

October 1-9: Apple Pay Beatles, Apple & IBM Partner, BeBox
Published October 31st, 2004

You can find more information on many of the entries below in Owen Linzmayer's excellent Apple Confidential 2.0. The other entries can be found in TMO's archives, and we link to articles whenever we can.1981:

October 01-09

1983: Apple codifies the Mac Product Introduction Plan. To ensure that the forthcoming Macintosh will have plenty of third-party support despite its proprietary design, Apple evangelists Mike Boich and Guy Kawasaki select software publishers and hardware manufacturers "according to their marketing ability, technical expertise, end-user support capabilities, and desirability of application." Of the original 58 official developers, the only ones still creating products for the Mac today are Brøderbund, Microsoft, and Quark.

1991: Apple and IBM hold a press conference at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco, announcing an historic alliance. "We want to be a major player in the computer industry, not a niche player," explains Apple CEO John Sculley. "The only way to do that is to work with another major player." The two former enemies agree to work on computers based upon the PowerPC chip manufactured by Motorola and establish two spin-off companies called Taligent and Kaleida Labs. Taligent will complete Apple's next-generation operating system (code-named Pink) while Kaleida begins working on ScriptX, a brand-new multimedia engine.

In an unrelated event the following week, Apple pays US$26.5 million to settle a lawsuit brought by Apple Corps, the Beatles' record label. In February 1989, Apple Corps had sued Apple Computer in London seeking unspecified damages, charging that Apple violated the terms of their 1981 trademark coexistence agreement by marketing products with music-synthesizing capabilities. Specifically cited in the suit were the Mac Plus, SE, and II; the Apple IIGS and IIGS upgrade kit for the Apple IIe; the AppleCD SC drive; and Apple's MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) device. The Beatles' law firm suggested that Apple change its name to Banana or Peach if it wanted to continue making music products. Although Apple maintains that it has not broken the 1981 agreement, it decides to settle. The whole issue will be revisited more than a decade later when Apple's iPod and iTunes Music Store become an unbeatable product combination and a potential violation of the settlement.

1995: Apple CFO Joe Graziano urges the board of directors to immediately sell the beleaguered company or break it into separate hardware and software units that might be more attractive acquisition candidates. "Graz" lays the blame for Apple's recent troubles at the feet of CEO Michael Spindler, arguing that Spindler's new forecast of 30 percent Mac unit growth was unrealistic in the face of the Microsoft Windows 95 tidal wave. Frustrated and disgusted at the board's backing of Spindler, Graziano resigns.

The following day, former Apple Products president Jean-Louis Gassée presides over the introduction of his company's US$1,600 BeBox. The computer is powered by two 66MHz PowerPC 603 processors and up to 256MB of RAM. It boasts a SCSI II bus, 16-bit CD-quality sound, three PCI slots, four MIDI ports, four serial ports, and five ISA slots. More impressive than the hardware is that the BeBox runs a multithreaded, memory-protected, object-oriented, preemptively multitasking operating system. At the time, Apple's top-of-the-line model is the US$4,000 Power Mac 8500, with a single 120MHz PowerPC 604 running System 7.5.2, an operating system with none of the modern features of the BeOS.

is the author of Apple Confidential 2.0: The Definitive History of the World’s Most Colorful Company, published by No Starch Press earlier this year (US$13.97 - Amazon).

is the editor of The Mac Observer, and was egged on, in-part, in his obsession with the Mac by Owen's first book, The Mac Bathroom Reader.

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