What do Apple Macs and IBM Mainframes have in common …… Everything!

IBM System 360 Model 40 - 1970

After 40 years in and around the IT industry I recently made the made  the move to an Apple Mac …. and I love it.   Why? Because it’s simple, easy to use and it works with no hassles!!!

The second best Personal Computer I have ever had was an IBM PC (varying models  through the 80s and mid 90s). Having worked for most of my IT career for IBM specific software developers (eg McCormack and Dodge/Dun and Bradstreet Software), major IBM users (eg Chrysler, Mitsubishi) and/ or IBM Value Added resellers and business partners (eg Neller Software) I was somewhat biased towards IBM!

The first computer I worked with was an IBM System 360 Model 40 – a mainframe that filled a room and required special flooring, sealed room etc and had as much grunt as the mobile phone I had 10 years ago!! It rarely broke down but when it did an IBM Engineer was on the spot within the hour (he even had his own small office in the computer room) and he was backed by an escalation procedure that saw an “expert” from the development lab, on a plane from the US if the problem was not resolved in 24 hours.

It ran an operating system designed for the hardware or was it vice versa… and while slow it was very reliable.

Likewise the IBM PC was not the sexiest on the market (although I think the IBM Thinkpad I had in the late eighties was as good as any PC I ever saw) but it was solid and reliable plus it was backed by a great warranty program!!

The IBM PC was also designed specifically for the operating system.   Then along came the clones … which set out to be cheaper and in some cases matched IBM for reliability etc.  But over time the picture became fuzzy – how do we know what hardware works best with what Chipset and what version of Windows … we dont.  So we take a punt based on what we hear and sometimes we get it right.

And then there is an alternative …. which most in the Corp world (weaned on IBM and mainstream computing) disregarded as something for boffins, graphic artists, uni grads (who got them cheap) and anti IBM/Microsoft zealots.

But that’s changed dramatically— some recent surveys show that a very high percentage of senior execs in major US Corps are using MAC for one reason… they are reliable and easy to use!!

Why is this and what does it have to do with IBM mainframes …. well it seems to me it might have something to do with the fact that MACs run an operating system designed for the hardware … or maybe Apple develop operating systems to suit the hardware … or maybe it’s both. Just like IBM used to do!!

But at the end of the day they deliver what most of us want … simplicity combined with effectiveness and efficiency …..  and if you still hanker for a Windows fix the MAC runs Windows as well side by side with the proprietary MAC OS Operating system…. so you can’t lose!!