The Mac Observer Turns 13 Today

Happy birthday to us! It was on December 28th in 1998 that Dave Hamilton and I relaunched what had been called Webintosh under the masthead of The Mac Observer. That was 13 years ago, for those keeping score, and thanks to you, our readers, we’ve had a great time covering the amazing world of Apple since.

Happy Birthday, TMO!

Thirteen years is a long time for any small business, and we’ve weathered both the tech bust of 2000 and the world wide economic meltdown of 2008. At the same time, we’ve also watched Apple grow from a company doing about US$6 billion a year to a company doing more than $100 billion per year. This quarter alone, Apple guided for $37 billion in revenue.

We’ve also watched Apple kill OpenDoc, kill the Newton, move to Mac OS X, revolutionize the MP3 player, revolutionize the smartphone, and create the media tablet market. We’ve watched the Mac’s PC market share shrink to a little more than 2% and then grow to more than 11% in the U.S. in July. In fact, Apple has grown its PC share for 22 quarters in a row.

We’ve also had a host of fantastic people write for us over the years. Bob “Dr. Mac” LeVitus, Ted Landau, and Andy Ihnatko have all penned columns, article, how-tos, and reviews for us, as have (in no particular order) Jeff Gamet, Nancy Carroll Gravley, John Martellaro, Ricky Spero, Vern Seward, Melissa Holt, Julie Kuehl, Brad Cook, Mike Washlesky, Brad Gibson, Kyle D’Addario, Ken Ray, John F. Braun, Jeff Butts, Ric Getter, Chuck La Tournous, John “Devil’s Advocate” Kheit, John Welch, Stephen Swift, Jim Tanous, David Winograd, Raena Armitage, Daniel Miller, Alex Allee, Robert Leitao, Chris Barylick, David Gallant, Nick diPierro, Michael Munger, Shawn King, Wes George, Dean Lewis, Cory Harrison, Owen Linzmayer, Darla Sasaki, Brad Smith, and Eolake Stobblehouse.

That’s quite a list of talented writers, and we are quite proud of them. We should also make mention of two amazing people we lost during this time span. Rodney O. Lain, the iBrotha, took his own life in June of 2002, and we dearly miss him. Gary Randazzo, who created one my favorite columns, The Idiots, with his equally talented writing partner Randy Soare, died in July of 2008.

A couple of lines in a birthday note can’t possibly convey how much we all miss them, nor how proud Dave and I both are that they wrote for us. Indeed, we feel amazingly lucky that all of the above-mentioned people have participated in our magazine over the years.

Some other people who will get special mention include Kyle D’Adarrio who wrote with me during the Webintosh days and became our first part time contractor in 1999. Apple stole him from us when the company hired him as one of its first Geniuses. We’re still a little tense about that.

Brad Gibson taught me a lot about being a proper journalist, while Bob LeVitus has been an amazing mentor and contributor to our site. His great columns and reviews have always been among our most popular articles, and thanks to him, I’ve contributed to several of Wiley’s For Dummies books, including getting co-author status on Incredible iPad Apps for Dummies (thanks, Bob!).

Jeff Gamet has been a great asset as our morning editor, so much so that we named him managing editor in 2008. He’s been a big part of our growth in recent years. The flip side of that coin is John Martellaro, who took over as Reviews Editor and all around editorial badass in 2009 (before then, he did a stint as afternoon editor, and he’s written for us for many, many years before that). His analysis is among the very best in what we used to call “the Mac Web,” and I am very proud that he is with us.

Dave and I are also quite proud of Cirque du Mac, the annual party we throw during Macworld, which is now called Macworld/iWorld. Cirque du Mac has become the biggest and most popular party during the trade show, thanks mostly to Dave’s hard work, and playing in the Macworld All Star Band during the party is a treat for the both of us.

Another notable development during our thirteen years includes the Apple Finance Board becoming the preeminent AAPL stock forum on the Internet (thanks to Robert “DawnTreader” Leitao and the other AFB mods).

By my calculations, we’ve published more than 40,000 articles over the years, and that’s not counting the two years this site was published by Dan Hughes as Webintosh. That’s a staggering amount of content, and I believe we’ve managed to improve the quality and depth of that coverage throughout the years.

On a personal note, I believe I’ve written at least 10,000 articles myself, a mind numbing figure (to me). Jeff Gamet is second on any list of total articles, with at least 7,000 articles. In my book (pardon the pseudo-pun), that’s pretty cool!

On behalf of Dave Hamilton and me, thanks to all of you who have made all of that possible.

Bryan Chaffin
Cofounder, Copublisher - The Mac Observer