The Sucess of the PC

This was originally an unpublished letter to the editor of the New York Times.

To the Editor:

The article “Unlikely Warrior Leads the Charge for Simpler PC” (Science Times, June 24) and the letters in response to it (June 25) ignore the reason for the great success of the personal computer: the great variety of programs and features. Every feature saves some users a tremendous amount of time and energy. Some problems result from the complexity of computers, but the way to attack these design flaws is not by reducing complexity, but by more careful design and testing of products. Fewer features generally lead to fewer users. This is why Apple's Macintosh is failing: it lacks the variety of useful features that attracts so many users to the PC.

I admit that there is often a steep learning curve to learn how to “use a computer,” but this is mainly because there are many things one can do on a computer. These functions can be learned individually as the user needs them; there is no need to learn all of them at once. Failure to understand the entire system does not prevent a user from performing many useful tasks.

L. David Baron


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