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Apple Has Gone To War With Companies Before Google, The 1984 Commercial Shows That

by Sean P. Aune | February 3, 2010February 3, 2010 8:03 am PDT

On Dec. 31st, 1983 and Jan. 22, 1984, Apple aired a commercial for the impending launch of its Macintosh computer.  The ad is now known as the infamous 1984 ad, and is considered a milestone in advertising history.  The commercial was directed by Ridley Scott who was in high demand in Hollywood from having just directed Alien and Blade Runner over the past few years.  Apple sinks $900,000 into filming the ad, an extremely high amount for a television ad at the time, and goes on to make possibly one of the most memorable television commercials of all time.

As the ad was obviously based on George Orwell’s famous novel, 1984, there has been some debate over the identity of Big Brother.  While Steve Jobs never outright said it, if you watch this video of a keynote address he gave in 1984, he says:

It is now 1984. It appears IBM wants it all. Apple is perceived to be the only hope to offer IBM a run for its money. Dealers initially welcoming IBM with open arms now fear an IBM-dominated and -controlled future. They are increasingly turning back to Apple as the only force that can ensure their future freedom. IBM wants it all and is aiming its guns on its last obstacle to industry control: Apple. Will Big Blue dominate the entire computer industry? The entire information age? Was George Orwell right?

applelogoWhile you can debate all day long as to if it truly was supposed to be IBM in the commercial, it does seem fairly clear that it was.  Which begs the question, now that Google and Apple seem to be on a collision course for an all out war, what will Apple have up its sleeve this time?

Up until recently, Google and Apple seemed to be able to play nicely with one another, but things appear to be heating up between the two companies.  Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, dropped his seat on the Apple Board of Directors shortly before the announcement of the Nexus One, a clear indication that the two companies were now in competition with one another.   It is also well known that Google is working on getting the upcoming Chrome OS into tablet computers, which will put it in direct competition with Apple’s new iPad.

However, the most obvious example that things are not well between the two companies is Wired’s report on the recent Apple employee town hall meeting where Mr. Jobs apparently uttered some strong words about his feelings on Google’s mantra of “do no evil.”  While source disagree on the exact wording, it is fairly obvious that something was indeed said, and it was very kind.

Say what you will about Steve Jobs, but his track record shows he is not a man to be trifled with when you get his ire up.  From all indications, his ire is definitely up, what his next move will be is anyone’s guess, but with the war chest both these companies control, it could get ugly.


Sean P. Aune

Sean P. Aune has been a professional technology blogger since July 2007, but his love of tech dates back to at least 1976 when his parents bought...

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