Mac Theme: ‘I Don’t Do Windows’ Apple Macintosh Tries To Take Offensive Against Latest Threat

Judith Chirgwin may have spoken for all Apple Macintosh loyalists who streamed through the company’s biggest trade show Tuesday.

“I don’t do Windows,” said Chirgwin of Edgartown, Mass., echoing a popular motto at Macworld Expo.

The show comes on the eve of what might be the greatest threat yet to Apple’s Macintosh line. Microsoft’s new Windows 95 operating system, due in stores later this month, is supposed to mimic many of the features that have made the Macintosh popular.

Still, this was a place where the devoted could fill bags with reams of product literature and line up at demonstration terminals. For these users, Macintosh is simply better.

“They’re basically trying to be Mac,” Ben Mayer of Boston said of Microsoft. “Even the new edition of Windows has been an attempt to duplicate the original Mac operating system. That’s why a lot of people use Macintosh, it’s the original.”

Still, an Apple spokesman concedes, “Windows 95 is obviously on people’s minds.”

Windows 95 will accommodate long file names and allow users to automatically match accessories like a modem or sound card to their machine - features long standard with Mac users. And like the Macintosh, Windows 95 also is capable of opening a file without launching its application program first.

For its part, Apple is preparing a major advertising campaign for the fall, introducing new products and cutting prices to persuade more people to buy Macintoshes and boost its market share.

Tom Harris is already sold.

“There’s a real consistency,” the marketing firm director said during a pause between exhibits. “You can get software and install it and be ready to use it. You don’t have to learn different interface. And adding a piece of hardware is a breeze on the Apple and it can chew up half a day on a PC.”

“The philosophy is different,” he said. With Macintosh, “the onus is on the companies who make the equipment, rather than the user, to get the thing working.”

Apple, which has sold just under 20 million Macs and recently began to allow “clones” of the Macintosh, on Monday announced it is cutting the prices of its Power Macintosh line of personal computers in a bid to close the gap with its IBM-compatible rivals.

Three new Power Macintosh models are priced as low as $1,700 with keyboard, monitor and modem extra. Another machine, aimed primarily at home users, was introduced recently at under $2,000.

John Gantz, an analyst with International Data Corp., said his firm’s forecast shows Macintosh is likely to maintain its current share of the PC market through 1999. But if a big vendor doesn’t start marketing Mac clones, the line will be unlikely to make substantial gains outside its strong educational and publishing niche.

“I don’t think there’s too much room for Apple to maneuver. The battle lines are pretty well set,” he said.

Not everything worked well all the time.

The chief executive officer of Specular, a software company, had some trouble getting his three-dimensional software to work at a press preview. But he was not deterred.

He put off the computer demonstration, finding it easier for the moment to turn to another skill: he juggled.

And he wasn’t tossing around some handkerchiefs or bean bags; he juggled three sharp machetes.

The reporters and photographers who had come to the preview laughed and applauded.

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