Friday, October 14, 2011

Steve Jobs, the OEM integrator, and me

Back in 1990, I decided to start my own publishing company. Transatlantic Publishing, as the outfit was called, was formed specifically to print a new magazine called The OEM Integrator, a journal that targeted folks building systems from off-the-shelf hardware and software.

I hadn't given much thought to that publication for years, until last week that is, when my brother telephoned me to say that he had unearthed a copy of the premier issue of the publication, complete with the entire media pack that was produced to support it.

Intrigued to discover what gems might have been written way back then, I asked him to email me a PDF of one or two of the stories that had appeared in that first issue.

As you can imagine, I had to chuckle when I opened the email attachment. For there, in all its glory, was a roundup of new hardware and software products that had been announced for none other than the Apple NuBus, a 32-bit parallel computer bus incorporated into computer products for a very brief period of time by Steve Jobs' Apple Computer. [UPDATE: Click here to read the article from the 90s!]

Despite my enthusiasm for the new bus board standard, NuBus didn't last too long, and when Apple switched to the PCI bus in the mid-1990s, NuBus quickly vanished.

But the bus that my brother chose to write an even lengthier piece on had even less success in the marketplace. His article touted the benefits of the Futurebus -- a bus that many then believed would be the successor to the VME. Sadly, however, the effort to standardize this new bus took so long that everyone involved lost interest, and Futurebus was hardly used at all.

Both these articles point out one important fact that all industry commentators would do well to take heed of. If you are going to make predictions as to what new technology is going to set the world on fire, you've got to be very, very careful indeed!

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