We are all reflecting on the sad news of the passing of Apple founder and visionary Steve Jobs. Having been in the computer industry for the entire duration on Steve Jobs career, I have to reflect some on the impact his work had on the church software market. Back in the early days at ACS Technologies we were faced with two paths to follow. The first version of ACS was developed on a minicomputer (this is pre personal computer days). So when PC’s showed up we were faced with a choice; migrate the software to IBM PC’s or the early Apple computers?
Steve Jobs and Apple had two big advantages going back then. First they dominated the school market which infiltrated the churches that had schools, and second they had an extremely loyal customer group. However IBM and Microsoft had better roots in the business community and since church business administrator and church committees lead by business people were making purchase decisions, they took us down the path of developing an IBM PC-based version of ACS. “Does your software run on a Mac?” is a question that our sales force has heard over the years . We thought long and hard back in the 80’s about developing a Mac version but limited resources prevented us from taking that step.
Steve Jobs continued to affect all participants in the software industry. Apple led the way with many changes that seemed radical at the time. No more diskettes (a big deal in the 80’s) ? Take away our dial-up modems, flash, DVD’s? Change is hard on a software company that wants new business and also is committed to taking care of all customers.
But if you look back on it all, Steve Jobs leadership at Apple accomplished many amazing things that we are all glad we now have for daily use.
PS. Our sales force can finally say “yes” to the Mac question due to the ACS OnDemand solution which has a both Windows and Mac connection capability.