Almost from the first day the Apple Macintosh arrived in 1984, the company was urged to license the Mac OS and allow other companies to build compatible computers. That, after all, is what helped Microsoft take control of the PC marketplace. Even though Apple has gained market share to some degree in recent years, as the overall market for personal computers has eroded, Windows remains dominant.
It got really bad when Windows 95 arrived. It was Microsoft’s first truly functional release of its graphical OS. While not as fluid and elegant as the Mac OS, it was good enough. That’s all it took for some people to give up on Macs for good, since Microsoft had built a far larger app ecosystem, especially as Windows compatible software soared.
Apple relented and agreed to a Mac OS licensing program, and several companies were signed up to build Mac clones. Chief among them was a scrappy startup, Power Computing, which took cheap PC cases and sold them for prices that seriously undercut Apple’s. When new PowerPC chips arrived, Power sometimes released products with them first because it didn’t need as many as Apple.