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The Back Page - Apple Death Knell #41, Apple Likely To Discontinue Mac Development

by - May 25th, 2004

I usually try and ignore Paul Thurrott, except when he trolls TMO's article comments, but he has let ring an Apple Death Knell that needs to be noted. Actually, it's more of a Mac death knell, but we track that sort of doom and gloom, too.

Mr. Thurrott, for those blessed with ignorance, is a Windows fanatic who runs a couple of Windows and Microsoft-oriented fan sites (Windows & .Net Magazine, Internet Nexus). Those sites are pretty big in the Windows world -- helped in part because Microsoft's PR department is absolutely fantastic, and reaches out to those offering the company coverage -- and his content gets picked up by a few other publications.

Mr. Thurrott is also a noted critic of TMO, but then we're in good company.

In any event, Mr. Thurrott is jumping on the "Apple is going to dump the Mac bandwagon." This newest bandwagon was built on Apple forming a new iPod division, which has fueled speculation that the Mac is being relegated to the background. As noted in the Spin of that announcement, I had my own misgivings concerning this move from Apple, but those misgivings have largely been supplanted by more positive thoughts on Apple's (and the Mac's) future. Unfortunately, I don't have time to go into that just yet as I am working on something in-depth on the issue.

Be that as it may, folks like Mr. Thurrott are taking the news as fuel for their desperate wish that Apple die. The following comes from Mr. Thurrott's WinInfo Short Takes, which was published by ITnews Australia, an Aussie IT magazine:

Apple seeks patent for translucent windows
And speaking of Apple Computer, everyone's favourite little OS imitator -- excuse me, innovator -- this week made an interesting patent bid that could have ramifications for Longhorn. Apple wants a patent for applying transparency to "information-bearing windows whose contents remain unchanged for a predetermined period of time." In other words, these unused windows fade away over time unless they're activated. Unless you've been living under a rock, you know that Longhorn will feature translucent windows and various window-transparency effects, so this patent attempt could possibly affect Longhorn. Or not. Patent applications take years to culminate, and in the end Apple might not even be awarded a patent. More to the point, by the time Longhorn ships, Apple likely will have discontinued active computer OS development, anyway, so that the company can concentrate on the consumer-electronics market.

As TMO forum member mrmgraphics said, Mr. Thurrott must have gotten into Rob Enderle's stash. Then again, so has Robert X. Cringely.

In any event, feel free to have a little fun with Mr. Thurrott's deluded opinion that Apple is the OS imitator. In addition, I would encourage Mr. Thurrott to read John Kheit's thoughts on the nature of Apple's patent strategy. If he did so, he might have a better handle on what Apple is attempting to do, which is protect Mac OS X from being ripped off by the true imitator in the OS business. Then again, he most likely already did read our coverage; he just failed to give us credit for having found (and scooped) the patent.

Of course, for a company that is about to dump its OS development, as Mr. Thurrott suggests, Apple sure is putting a lot of effort into patenting its GUI elements, and that brings us back to Apple Death Knell #41. This marks Mr. Thurrott's second entry into the Apple Death Knell Counter.


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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