Mac vs. Windows: The History of OS Competition

mac vs windows competition

A Brief History of Apple Innovations

Created in 1976 and sold locally to an electronics store, the Apple I was widely known as the first inexpensive, simple personal computer. After the success of the Apple I, creators Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak improved upon the design and came up with the Apple II-the first personal computer to have sound capabilities and 16-bit processing, among other features. The first ever floppy disk drive and expandable memory (with external memory card) soon followed. The Apple II became widely used in schools, but demand was growing for a less expensive, user-friendly machine for personal use at home. The Macintosh was widely released in 1992 and revolutionized personal computing, but soon became almost obsolete due the popularity of inexpensive PCs. In 1998, the popularity of Macs came roaring back with the invention of the sleek and trendy iMac, and Apple has been on an upward trajectory ever since.

Windows and Macintosh OS

It was the release of Windows 3.0 in 1990 that was seen as the downfall of the Mac in the ’90s. Windows 3.0 was user-friendly and less expensive than the Mac platform. Throughout the decade, Apple attempted to sell inexpensive, low-end Macs in an attempt to compete with Microsoft and IBM. In 1995, the release of Windows 95 with the Pentium processor was another big threat to Apple, and they started the Macintosh Clone Program in order to compete. This program licensed the Mac operating system for use on other machines, which made it possible for Window users to purchase the Mac OS for use on their PC.

Technological Advances

Many positive advances in technology have come about thanks to the competition between Microsoft and Apple. Debuting in 1991, Apple’s QuickTime was the first program to allow users to watch high quality videos on their computer. This set the stage for Microsoft to release a slew of similar programs over the years and paved the way for YouTube and other video sharing websites. Apple also introduced touch pads on their 1994 PowerBooks, which soon became the standard for portable devices.

Microsoft was ahead of its time when it released the Tablet PC in 2011. The tablet didn’t catch on at the time because the current Windows operating system (Windows XP) was too bloated to run smoothly on a tablet. This market failure allowed Apple to step in and create the iPad-a faster and sleeker version of the Tablet PC. In the last few years, Windows 8 has introduced the concept of a “tile window,” which allows users to see several open programs and browsers at once on the same screen. This has become popular enough that Chrome, the Google web browser, introduced a similar feature.


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