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A Third Chance

Don't blow it again.


Bill Gates once told you to licence your operating system. He told you if you did you would rule the industry. He warned you that if you kept it locked to your own hardware you would be doomed to the margins.

You blew it: you didn't listen to him.

Bill went on to do what he suggested you do, and considering he is today the richest motherfucker on the entire third rock in this solar system even you will have to admit he was right.

You did the right thing by making a clean break with the ][, and the demise of Woz is unfortunate, but there was little you could do about it. You did the right thing.

You also did the right thing in opposing Sculley, and it's unfortunate he beat you at your own game that time around. But you were to get a second chance.

You did the right thing by breaking ground in Redwood City, and you were right in recruiting as you did, thinking only the best of the best are ever good enough.

You admit you were so blinded by Alan Kay's GUI that you didn't see what else he had in that lab, amongst other things 'object orientation', and your Mac project suffered because of that, but you finally set things right at NeXT.

Today you're back in Cupertino and master of a 2% market share with a technology the whole world needs. As NeXTSTEP is the successor to the Unix it builds on, Objective-C is the successor to C in the same way. C and Unix dominate in the computer world and Objective-C and NeXTSTEP should dominate as well.

Your obstinacy in continuing to prevent the rest of the world from using this technology is bringing things down all over the place. There's no need to go into why NeXTSTEP and Objective-C are so good - that's been done so many times no one is going to give you an argument anymore. This is a technology just as important to the world as C, Unix, and the World Wide Web.

You have a third chance. Right now the world is buckled under because of the insecurity of Bill Gates' operating system and Linux can't make a dent in the desktop and kitchen table market the way you can. Further, the Linux GUIs are burdened by weak development environments and tools. Both GNOME, KDE, and the others are increasingly wobbly, due in no small part to the programming languages and code classes they use.

C is perhaps the best language ever written, but code for graphical user interfaces becomes overly complex without the minimal additions of Objective-C, and C++, not a true object oriented language, suffers from a lack of dynamic binding and its fetish for Pascal type constructs.

Your environment is the only one with a pedigree. It has a direct lineage to the Smalltalk group. It's the only platform specifically designed for use with graphical user interfaces.

The NeXTSTEP classes and Objective-C are today irrevocably intertwined. Together they represent an unbeatable technology developers everywhere would love to be able to use.

But with only a 2% market share precious few developers will ever get this chance and computer users will continue to lose out as well. 98% of all machines will continue to run substandard products built with substandard tools.

NeXTSTEP doesn't have to be open source, but it has to be freely licensed and capable of running on most any hardware platform - on Dell, Gateway, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, and Apple if you will. They ship it - you collect the licence fees.

Do the math. Last quarter you sold half a million computer units. At perhaps two thousand US dollars per unit on an average that's a net of one billion dollars. If you'd sold your operating system to only half of the six hundred million computer users out there, you'd have made thirty billion dollars instead - thirty times as much.

It would seem you're shortchanging your stockholders.

You've been given a third chance. Bill Gates is known for giving everyone one chance. You blew it then, you've blown it again since, but right now you're getting something only a few fortunate individuals ever will get.

Don't blow it again.

Licence OS X and you will rule the world - don't and you'll look back in a year or two and think the 2% you used to have was 'insanely great'.

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