Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

Re: Apple's failure to link to UserLand

Author:Paul Snively
Posted:10/30/1999; 10:03:59 AM
Topic:Today's scriptingNews Outline
Msg #:12548 (In response to 12545)
Prev/Next:12547 / 12550

Donald W. Larson wrote:

At the time of Frontier's introduction, Apple was in their "Not Invented Here" syndrome. For several prior years, and until Jobs returned that attitude prevailed. I was an Apple Developer from 1983 to 1990 and saw that attitude develop firsthand.

In our own defense, it wasn't so much that we didn't think anything that came from someplace else could be of quality; it was more that we were hyperconscious of having huge challenges in doing what we wanted to do, and I think that led to a perception of paying too much attention to what was going on outside as "a distraction."

System 7.0 was a hell of a thing to get out the door. It was very complex, very late, and we were under incredible pressure. Life was weird politically at Apple from '89-'91 (my tenure there): Jean-Louis Gassee was ousted and John Sculley made Chief Technical Officer. Tech Pubs was under pressure to create a new edition of the aging Inside Macintosh while also preparing the new material for System 7.0. MacDTS was trying to learn the 7.0 technologies, create sample code, write tech notes, etc. while supporting the 6.x technologies at the same time. Phil Williams (the "Phil" of "Phil and Dave's Excellent CD") quit managing MacDTS; Dave Szetela (the "Dave" of "Phil and Dave's Excellent CD") filled his shoes while seeking a replacement; Jim Abrams came to us from SGI.

We did what a lot of organizations under extreme pressure do: we became quite insular. It's a mistake; we never needed our developers more than we did then. But it's hard to keep the faith in the indirect benefits of maintaining good relationships when the immediate situation is as challenging as it was then.

Given Jobs' turnaround of Apple, maybe it shows that your existence has to be on the line before real change can occur.

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