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by Bryan Chaffin

John Dvorak: Isn't It Time The Macintosh Was Put Down Like An Old Dog?
June 20th, 2002

John Dvorak is a master at rabble rousing, or, as he put it in a comment to his own most recent article: "Like shooting fish in a barrel. :)" (His smiley). In that article, titled "E-Mac, i-Mac, No Mac," Mr. Dvorak starts off with this gem of a phrase:

Isn't it about time the Macintosh was simply discontinued—put down like an old dog? Why, exactly, does Apple maintain this line of machines instead of starting fresh or at least introducing something new with fresh legs. The Mac has become the AS/400 of desktop computing, except for the fact that it's prettier.

He follows that with a single placating comment, calling Windows a "copy-cat OS," but the bulk of the article talks about how Apple hasn't innovated since 1984, and that even then the company was copying what Xerox was doing.


What is it that Mr. Dvorak hates so much about Apple and the Mac OS? More specifically, what is it he could possibly like so much about Microsoft and Windows? Mr. Dvorak is an intelligent man. I have enjoyed listening to most of his opinions, with the exception of his vitriolic, gratuitous, and bizarre attacks on Apple, and he seems to know what he's talking about. So how can he take Apple to task for not being innovative, laying all of the ills of the computing world on its shoulders, while the lamest, most damaging company on the planet, Microsoft, goes untouched?

It would be easy to dismiss this latest diatribe as flame bait. In fact, I originally was going to title my own column on this something along the lines of "John Dvorak Nearly Misses Hit Quota, Slams Mac To Meet It," but it's more than that. John Dvorak seems to have an irrational hatred of the Mac and/or Apple itself. It's not Mac users he hates, though he clearly has some issues there too, and it's not Windows he loves. His rants on Windows are second only to those about the Mac.

His comments about Apple and the Mac on his program on TechTV are filled with loathing. He jabs, he takes pot shots, he seemingly dismisses while actually taking time to comment, an apparent contradiction of which he may be unaware. It doesn't make sense.

Take this newest piece, for instance. What has Microsoft done that is innovative in the last 20-25 years? He could so easily have turned his ire on Windows? Why doesn't Microsoft take Windows out back and shoot it? Heck, Microsoft seemingly spends more on R&D than Apple grosses. He could at least have targeted the overall PC industry, even taking Apple to task for being the one company that *could* come up with the next big thing, but instead the Mac needs to be taken out back and shot.

Considering the fact that Mac OS X is really the first desktop OS done correctly, I think Mr. Dvorak could have made his point without the gratuitous slams on Macs and Mac users. His piece would have had more validity had he done so, and the bulk of the debate at PC Magazine wouldn't have been the typical Mac/PC flame war. I went through more than 100 of those messages when putting my own editorial together, and let me tell you it's not pretty, even less so with Mr. Dvorak's continued pot shots.

So again, what is it that he has against Apple and the Mac platform? Is he bitter that the company didn't go under after he left the Mac platform and pronounced Apple's doom? Is he mad that Steve Jobs and the NeXT crew have produced a very nice desktop OS, while he is bogged down in the other OS he loathes, Windows? If you have some insight on this, drop a note in the comments, but I wouldn't be surprised if it has nothing to do with the Mac OS (Classic or X) itself. Unfortunately, we may never know.

Thanks to Observer Brutno for pointing me to the PC Magazine article.

began using Apple computers in 1983 in a high school BASIC programming class. He started using Macs in 1990 when the Kinko's guy taught him how to use Aldus PageMaker, finally buying a Power Computing Power 100 in 1995. Today, Bryan is the Editor of The Mac Observer, and has contributed to the print versions of MacAddict and MacFormat (UK).

You can send your comments directly to him, or you can also post your comments below.

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