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Monday 06/06/05

The unthinkable has happened. Starting in 2006, the Macintosh will begin using Intel processors.

This is the end of the Macintosh and the end of Apple. Why? WINE. Microsoft Virtual PC. Within a year, probably by the time the first Intel-based Mac ships, it will be possible to run Windows apps at near-hardware speeds under Mac OS X, possibly as first-class citizens with Aqua UI widgets. The UI won't be as nice as a real Mac version of the application, but it'll be "good enough." Within two or three years, Adobe, Microsoft, and the rest of the biggies will stop making Macintosh versions of their apps. Instead you'll get a Windows version that comes bundled with WINE or a licensed version of Virtual PC. Microsoft will release a version of Longhorn that runs on Apple's hardware (assuming it is proprietary enough that it wouldn't "just work" anyway, which it probably will be) and price it competitively. The next time Apple wants $129 for a Mac OS X upgrade, or at the next hardware upgrade cycle, users will go, "well heck, most of my software is already Windows anyway, Longhorn is all right, and I'll get a slight speed boost by ditching the emulation," and they'll move over to Windows.

Mark my words: within five years, there will be no Macintosh. There will probably be no Apple. Bill Gates will have his last little sliver of marketshare. He's sitting in his office in Redmond, not ten miles from where I am right now, cackling with glee. Apple's only hope is to get out of the computer business entirely, and that's too speculative to hang their entire company on. The Macintosh today has been declared end-of-life and the userbase is being transitioned to Windows. I wouldn't be surprised to see many small Mac developers decide to jump to Windows development today.

I bleed six colors, but I've made my peace with Windows too. R.I.P. Macintosh, you had a good run. And goodbye Steve Jobs, the board will be ousting you again in the next few years. I think it might be the first time in history a company has fired the same CEO twice.

Addendum: I'm seeing a lot of "Apple won't sell any Macs for the next year or so" comments out there. "I can't think of a reason I'd buy a PowerPC Mac today." That, of course, is balderdash. If you were inclined to buy a Mac yesterday, there's no real reason not to buy one today. Sure, the first Intel-based Macs will probably be faster than the Mac you could buy today, but that's because they're a year away. Apple's demise is still several years out, I don't think in the short term there's any reason to abandon their products.

Addendum 2: Another line I'm hearing a lot of is "Well if they're still using proprietary hardware aside from the processor, they won't see any cost savings from going to Intel." This isn't about making Macs cheaper, it's about the fact that IBM can't deliver competitive performance.

Addendum 3: There's a lot for users to like about this plan in the short term. I certainly would love to be able to run Windows apps on my Mac at decent speeds. I will personally probably stick with the Mac as long as it's around and I expect my next machine, in 2007 or so, to be a Macintel. It's just that now, I don't think the Mac will be around indefinitely. I've already lost one beloved Apple platform and I'm saddened that I'll likely have to do so again. I made my peace with Windows long ago, but Apple will always have a piece of my heart.

Re: Apple is dead

There are 46 messages in this thread, displayed in the order they were posted.

Keith 6/6/2005 1:30:45 PM Pacific

You're funny.

Seriously, MS could all of that today with the PPC architecture. The Intel switch won't gain them a damn thing, because they'll still have to deal with the surrounding chipsets, the OS, the firmware, etc. I don't think big-endian vs. little-endian is going to make any significant difference.

Jerry Kindall 6/6/2005 1:40:19 PM Pacific
Sure they could put Windows on PowerPC, but there's never been a compelling reason to do that. Microsoft is only running for its dinner; Apple is running for its life.
Mark 6/6/2005 6:21:29 PM Pacific
Is it a risk?

Do we have any options besides Apple taking on the financial burden or running it's own chip development team and paying a megaFAB to crack out processors. Like Sun still does with SPARC?

The PPC market has left us behind Jerry. Freescale is concentrating on markets which aren't desktop driven and IBM is focused on the very high end (A few grand a CPU module), and taking custom jobs from bulk sellers.

We're out of options, and if we don't somehow make this work then plan C is probably to be eaten alive by Linux as a software only company.

Today they ripped the plaster off and it stings like hell, tomorrow we'll have to focus on making this work.

Alfredo 6/6/2005 7:25:24 PM Pacific
Well, I use Windows at work, I'll love the dual boot machine, but I agree with you that the mac is end-of-life. So, I am delaying my Mac buying. I was going to get an iMac G5 and a laptop next year. I won't buy the G5 (is an extra machine I can do without) and next year I'll reconsider all the options. I have no qualms running Windows or Linux and a Tablet PC sounds different enough...
Jerry Kindall 6/6/2005 7:42:07 PM Pacific
Personally, I'll keep buying Macs as long as they are viable. I sincerely hope to be proven wrong about my dire predictions for the future of the company.
Phil 6/7/2005 12:13:40 AM Pacific
Looking through my Applications Folder right now. The only software I have installed that is a port from windows is Photoshop and FlashMX.

I don't see anything really changing from this other than possibly faster CPUs.

B. Minich, PI 6/7/2005 9:04:25 AM Pacific
I don't think I agree with your take on this.

If the demand for native built Mac applications continues, there will still be native built Mac apps. Most Mac users are probably not about to stop insisting that they get their programs.

Now, if they do get used to Windows versions, this will probably hurt the Mac. However, if they write one version capable of two looks (a Mac look and a Windows look), each look running on one system, chances are they will survive, as the only way to get the Mac program (which is actually a "look" of the base program) is to have a Mac.

S 6/7/2005 6:02:27 PM Pacific
Jerry, I really do think you have it right. Deep down, like you, I hope it does not happen. However, the platform has become so watered down that the compelling reasons for its existence are disappearing rapidly. Also, deceit comes to many a mind. Also, quality has been traded for quantity (though, one could say that happened some time ago). I think I would rather have seen Apple go out of business than for them to do this. "Insanely great" has become the "just better than Windows" mentality. A small market player cannot exist very well with this attitude. Though, stranger things have happened. When is the next full eclipse?
Marylin Able 6/8/2005 7:12:47 PM Pacific
Remember, long ago, when a certain MicroSoft (Oy, vot Freud vould say) invested in Apple. They need Apple to keep from being declared a monopoly. Anti-trust,; indeed! Bill and Steve have known each other for a long time. Better, the devil you know, eh?
Jon H 6/9/2005 1:23:00 PM Pacific
The problem with the WINE/Virtual PC scenario is that it basically acts as a huge, expensive, resource-intensive dongle on the software. (Less so with WINE, but that likely has other issues.)

Who wants to have to run two operating systems just to run a program? Who wants to have to *maintain* two operating systems, just to run a program?

Anyone who tries that is just begging for a competitor to eat (the Mac portion of) their lunch by putting out a native app that takes advantage of Apple's technology.

I'd suggest that Mac developers should watch out for complaints of this kind of behavior, because such complaints will mark an existing, under-served market.

Shane 6/10/2005 11:44:09 AM Pacific
Jon H - that's the most insightful thing anyone's said on this page!
Jerry Kindall 6/10/2005 12:03:01 PM Pacific
There's not a lot of maintenance to be done on Windows when you're Web-surfing and e-mail reading using Mac apps. No viruses, no spyware. Actually, come to think of it, maybe the Mac will become the safest, most secure way to run Windows apps. If that's the plan, I wouldn't be surprised to see Apple itself investing in WINE. I am not convinced that such a strategy has any long-term potential, though.

But really, who exactly is going to eat Adobe Photoshop's or Microsoft Excel's or Quicken's lunch? Nobody.

Jon H 6/10/2005 11:03:52 PM Pacific
"But really, who exactly is going to eat Adobe Photoshop's or Microsoft Excel's or Quicken's lunch? Nobody."

Good thing two of them are already onboard, and the other is likely (and would run in Rosetta anyway).

I've only seen one case of a company explicitly using the "use an emulator to run our product" approach, and that was a company selling a CASE tool for NeXTSTEP on Intel, which was actually a MacOS application running on Executor, a 68k Mac emulator.

I honestly don't expect it to be a problem. The only companies who will suggest using an emulator are companies who do not support Macs now and do not intend to do so in the future.

Are there companies with software in native Mac and X-Windows versions who went all X-Windows when Apple shipped their X implementation?

Jon H 6/10/2005 11:28:44 PM Pacific
I should add that the Mac CASE tool I mention above wasn't even a very good Mac app, and wasn't seriously considered. It wasn't a great loss that they hadn't done a NeXTSTEP version. It wasn't much better than Diagram (quite like OmniGraffle or Visio), which we already had and was native. (Actually, the drawing part of the CASE tool was significantly more primitive than Diagram.)

Finally, given the price of low-end PCs these days, Microsoft, Adobe, and Intuit could just as easily tell Mac users to "buy a PC". Realistically, most companies would say that, rather than suggest using an emulator. They don't really care whether you use an emulator or spend a couple hundred dollars extra and buy a PC. In fact, PCs are so common they can pretty safely assume that you already *have* access to a PC, in which case no expense is required beyond buying the Windows version of the program.

So I really don't see how anything really changes.

Jake of 6/16/2005 9:57:30 AM Pacific
Bah. People have been predicting the death of Apple for years. So far they are doing fine and I think they will make this transition.
Andrew C 6/16/2005 11:02:01 PM Pacific
I think you are overreacting. I think there is actually a lot to like about the switch to Intel. As a small Mac developer, I'm actually much more optimistic. The Mac is very healthy right now. What if Apple does a deal with Dell to sell OSX on Dell's (see today)? What if Intel decides that they really want to through support behind Apple to help them grow the brand? I agree that tomorrow is going to much different than today but I think the chances of the Mac surviving is much better today than it was a few weeks ago.

OS X is an interesting beast. It blends proprietary apps with open source better than any other system. Open source software gives OSX tons of enterprise apps without Apple developing them (apache, postgres, mysql, etc). And Apple focuses on writing proprietary apps to fill in the blanks for consumers (iLife). Office is really the big problem.

If Adobe pulls out, Apple will write their own Photoshop. Quicken already sucks big time and you can find online versions on financial web sites that work from any platform.

Jerry Kindall 6/17/2005 2:16:47 PM Pacific
If Adobe pulls out, Apple will write their own Photoshop, and it will be ready in about five years. I don't see any way to duplicate fifteen years' worth of Photoshop development in anything less.

However, after further reflection, you're probably right that I was being overly negative in my original assessment. Running Windows apps on the Mac at native speeds would make it easier to switch to the Mac, as well as easier to switch away. I'm afraid I don't feel the Mac offers many compelling advantages over Windows right now after its recent UI backslides, and certainly nothing that Microsoft couldn't fix by spending money. Still, it could be that Apple is planning to make Mac OS X a better way to run Windows apps than Windows itself, which is an interesting strategery. Risky as all hell, but Apple doesn't really have any choice.

Andrew C 6/22/2005 12:07:59 AM Pacific
An Apple photshop isn't really that far fetched. Look at all the features in Core Image that do the same things that are done in Photoshop. And as Apple just showed us all, they are pretty good at working on things without telling us about them. Besides, Adobe was one of the highlighted companies that would do universal binaries.

What do you find in the Mac UI that is regressive? To me, XP's UI is a mess. I think Apple Mail is pretty bizarre but generally I find the Mac UI as elegant as ever.

Jerry Kindall 6/22/2005 12:12:04 AM Pacific
Well, the Dock... the Finder... Spotlight... Dashboard... all significant steps backward. Expose isn't bad but after having it for more than a year, I find I never use it. Brushed metal and the new Mail appearance...
Steve Mediodia 9/16/2005 11:14:42 AM Pacific
Hi jerry,
Apple should become "soft" like microsoft and become a competing operating system, maybe keep a small hardware line along with the ipod for fanatics like us and become a better alternative to windows or linux. I also think Apple should further push into the cell phone market by adding PDA capability.
-"It was a dark and stormy night...." - excerpt from 'Naked Rage'
Jerry Kindall 9/16/2005 11:21:12 AM Pacific
Going "soft" would be the end of Apple, as nobody is going to pay for OS X when it won't run Windows apps. If they add that capability, then they are trying to be a "better Windows than Windows" and the problem they run into then is, Microsoft can easily make sure many of their programs don't run on OS X.

Now a friend of mine has this interesting theory that the move to Intel is to allow them to pull a Sony and close the platform via the Trusted Platform Module. In other words, if you want to sell software for Macs, you have to give Apple a cut of your sales, otherwise Apple won't allow your software to run. The idea is that this would provide a revenue stream that would replace their hardware sales. Then they could run on any Intel box with a TPM and give away the OS. It's an interesting idea.

Steve Mediodia 9/19/2005 7:44:10 AM Pacific
Apple would have its own software like Linux,
would run on the same machines like Linux,
would be more popular than Linux, be based
on Linux and I would suspect if the product is
good enough, then take along the Linux market.
If Apple goes "soft" they will have less overhead
and be able to concentrate on creating better
software than Microsoft. No need to be able to
run Windblows, just compatability with file save
Perhaps... perhaps not. I can dream can't I?
Steve Mediodia 4/6/2006 12:22:36 PM Pacific
Did you hear the news? About Apple machines being able to run Windblows XP? This is the kind of situation that I have hoped for. Its a kind of Bait and switch. When people find out how much better Mac OS is XP will start to get cobwebs.
Jerry Kindall 4/6/2006 12:43:44 PM Pacific
Yeah, saw that. I'm kind of surprised to see an official Apple solution.

This is even more interesting.

Jerry Kindall 4/11/2006 11:28:07 PM Pacific
This page has been Crazy Apple Rumors Sited.
Jerry Kindall 4/12/2006 12:28:55 AM Pacific
Reading that over ten months later, one thing that didn't happen as I predicted was that the Intel Macs started shipping a lot earlier than anyone expected. Still, I said "within a year ... it will be possible to run Windows apps at near-hardware speeds under Mac OS X." That has already come true, albeit in beta.

It's possible that Apple will try to position Mac OS X as a better way to run Windows apps than Windows, and Longhorn (now called Vista) being pushed back may give them just the window they need to do that. I certainly hadn't predicted the problems that many are saying Microsoft is having moving the Windows codebase forward. Mac OS X probably has a lot more headroom before that happens.

If Apple can ship Leopard before Vista, and it has integrated virtualization as the rumor mill is predicting, they may actually have a chance of pulling that off. Then they can sell Macs according to Gruber's logic: "Why buy a PC that only runs Windows apps, when you can buy a Mac and run Mac AND Windows apps?"

But I'm still not sanguine about big software developers continuing to develop Mac-only apps in the long term. Adobe's Adam and Eve are a pair of tools for creating UIs that automatically adapt to the platform they're being run on. In other words, the programmer says "I need these UI controls" and Adam/Eve will lay them out according to the platform's conventions and so forth. This technology is open-source. Given that tool and a little extra development work, it is entirely possible to conceive of Windows apps that look and act just like Macintosh apps when they're run in a virtual machine or even WINE on a Mac. If that happens, then I can certainly see Microsoft, Adobe, Intuit, and others shipping just Windows versions of their apps. I think Adobe would be dumb not to be beefing up WINE so it can run Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign and so it supports Adam/Eve declarative UIs. Then they can hit Mac, Windows, and Linux with one codebase. And FrameMaker would be back!

And you know what? I'd probably run the Windows versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint in preference to the Mac versions if it were seamless enough. (Among other things, the Windows VM needs to be able to use the fonts I have installed on the Mac, or vice versa.) Entourage is a much better mail program than Outlook, though; I hope they keep it around.

Jon 4/15/2006 11:22:48 AM Pacific
I'm glad you're softening your stance a little. I've respected your opinion for years, but I am stunned most of the comments on this page aren't kidding. I even checked to see if it was written on April 1st.

The move to Intel processors was almost purely good. The only time PPC was a good distinguishing feature was when it was faster than what PCs ran, but that didn't happen often. The PPC was holding the entire company back, and making the Mac's distinction this simple: "Macs are slower and more expensive."

So now Macs are competitive with everyone else at the top end of the market. (take a Dell, add firewire, bluetooth, a camera, and all the goodies Apple has, and the prices are indistinguishable) The last hurdle was the fact that a Windows user would have to give up all their Windows apps, and Bootcamp solved that.

Apple maintains their distinct OS (because they're obviously never going to sell OSX on Dells) but with their hardware you get the best high end experience. I fail to see why anyone thinks this is a problem.

Of course, in 1997, everyone thought Steve axing the money-losing Newton and the clones meant the end of the company. The iPod was supposed to be the end also, but both moves saved Apple. We'll say the same thing about the Intel switch.

David 5/5/2006 2:16:43 PM Pacific
Fell down a web-hole and found this. I've been a half-breed all my computer life. It's not fun dealing the jokers to the right and clowns on the left. :-)

Personally, I forsee MS having more problems, although they don't care what hardware their software runs on, their software is increasingly bloated, cumbersome, wasteful, etc, etc... OSX gains alot from riding the back of of the Mach Kernel. Vista is still (somewhat) buried in hooks to old stuff. If Apple can get the price down a notch, I'm likely to consider a minimac for my next PC. For all mac purposes I still utilize a Pismo, but it is nearing obsolecence... the batteries are losing the ability to keep a charge.

I'm curious to see what new world changing product apple comes up with next. They've certainly proved capable of repeating that feat.

Mike Rinnan 6/12/2006 3:06:19 AM Pacific
I rejoiced when it came out - here we go with the best from 2 worlds. At the same time, using more mainstream hardware & architecture should help them solidify their foundation - if they can keep the "feeling" there of course :)
alban read 8/28/2006 2:23:01 PM Pacific
Google earth runs on Linux under Wine.
Office XP will soon run under Wine under OSX.
Will anyone need to by the Intel version of Mac Office when we can run the real thing instead.
Woz 12/2/2006 6:23:09 PM Pacific
Um....cuz the Mac version of office is more stable, with more features, and costs less?
Jerry Kindall 1/4/2007 1:34:27 PM Pacific
The Mac version of office doesn't have one killer feature, though: it is not the Windows version of Office. Microsoft has announced they're taking VBScript out of Mac Office. So, your only true cross-platform Mac Office solution will be running the Windows version of Office. Which, actually, is a pretty good product, especially in its 2007 incarnation.

Parallels' new Coherence mode is basically what I predicted: Windows apps running alongside Mac apps as first-class citizens. Throw Windowblinds and an Aqua skin onto the virtual machine and the look isn't too jarring. CodeWeavers is beta-testing CrossOver for Mac too.

Microsoft will have to offer a pretty compelling Mac Office in the next release to keep me from just switching to Win Office. Win Office I can run on my Win laptop as well as on my Mac, so it costs half as much.

Phil Turner 3/27/2007 12:41:24 AM Pacific
Microsoft Office is just one product package out of tens of thousands of products., YES it does run nicely on Windows, YES VBScript of being removed which does mess up a number of functions, especially for spreadsheets, but you don't need a heafty PC to run it and as you say Parallels' is very compelling.

The design studio has several Apple Macs (now all Intel), and PCs running XP Pro and Vista (Longhorn). Being fortunate to be able to get our hands on the final release version of Adobe CS3 for all the machines, the Vista versions of the PC were reformatted and Windows XP Pro installed as its faster and more reliable than Vista (Microsoft seriously needs to get itself sorted on that one).

So the battle lines are for Intel Macs and XP Pro. The servicing department has handed their repairs, time management costs for the end of year returns and there has been talk around the office that the PC, at least in the design department are costing too much and to go all Intel Macs. I don't mind either way as I use both machines but the fury that has arisen is something else for both die hards.

The thing is that in our reception this morning are 12 new boxes of Apple Mac Pros, I wonder where their going!

So as you see, as far as work goes and actual cost of maintenance is what many companies are looking at, and it has been shown, time and time again that the Macs are far cheaper to run and that makes more business sense. Mac sales are going up, iPod, AppleTV and the new iPhone are all giving the Apple shear recognition power and that's affecting Mac sales, year over year.

Your original quote "This is the end of the Macintosh and the end of Apple" is far from true and Microsoft are losing big time to other operating platforms as well. Their Vista has to prove a lot to its people and so far falls very short indeed.

Apple will be around for quite some time to come and Macintoshs' future is brighter than ever.

Bradley Kindall 12/14/2007 7:25:30 PM Pacific
Just curious to see your opinions now. After iPhone, new iPods, the new iMacs, and whatever MacWorld holds for us next month. . . ultra-portables maybe? I'd really like to see if your opinion has changed at all over the past year or so.
Jerry Kindall 12/14/2007 7:51:30 PM Pacific
A lot of things surprised me over the past year, most of all how Microsoft has dropped the ball on Vista. The fact that they had to allow OEMs to offer a downgrade to XP is astonishing. I didn't expect Apple's computer marketshare to rise significantly either, but it has.

I still think that the Apple that I used to know and love is gone (they took the word "computer" out of their name, after all), and I am not really that interested in the iPhone, but they do still have good products and a good OS. I will be buying a new Mac pretty soon.

iPhone 2/23/2008 4:44:02 AM Pacific
Far out I have been under a rock last 3 years. I just realised _now_ the heart of the Mac has died.

You are right, now with a windows CPU what is the point of Mac applications.

Although now it is 2008, it hasn't gotten as bad (emulators everywhere) as you said in your blog back in 2005.

Kris Lovett (Hoffman) 3/25/2008 6:38:01 PM Pacific
Is that Steve Mediodia from Grosse Pointe Shores? Where are you?
J. Ashburn 6/13/2008 3:37:16 PM Pacific
As of 6/13/2008:

AAPL Market Cap: $152B
MSFT Market Cap: $271B

and the gap continues to close. For reference,

DELL Market Cap: $50B
HPQ Market Cap: $117B

So, which company is on the brink of disappearing?

joe c 8/18/2010 10:29:14 AM Pacific
Updating J. Ashburn's post:

As of 8/18/2010:
AAPL Market Cap: $232B
MSFT Market Cap: $215B

DELL Market Cap: $24B
HPQ Market Cap: $97B

pardon me while I snicker. Nay, cackle.

Steve Nelson 8/18/2010 11:34:23 AM Pacific
As of 5/26/2010:
Apple Overtakes Microsoft in Market Capitalization
Del Coro 8/18/2010 10:09:07 PM Pacific
Does it hurt, being this stupid?

I have to think it hurts.

Jerry Kindall 8/18/2010 11:20:01 PM Pacific
Heh. I wondered why I got a rash of comments on this recently. Technologizer linked it, five years on.

I was wrong, but I wasn't stupid. My prognostications were not completely out of line for the time before iPhone. And I was being a bit provocative.

Apple's customer is a different customer from their customer of five years ago, though. I never would have imagined anyone would want a computer that costs $70+ a month to operate, but they sold fifty-some million iPhones, plus they successfully built a walled garden so they get a cut of every app sale (a friend of mine once predicted they would try to do with the Mac itself, as I reported earlier in this thread). These people are not interested in computers for computers' sake. Apple found a way to sell them a computer by calling it a "phone."

Michael Kaye 8/19/2010 4:58:21 AM Pacific
Good on you Jerry. Great to hear a commentator admit they were wrong. After I don't think any of us could have foreseen where Apple are now.
Robby 8/20/2010 10:34:27 AM Pacific
I too came to this site to bash the author for his blindness and lack of foresight...but then i realized he is kinda right. One sentence says it best...."Apple's only hope is to get out of the computer business entirely, and that's too speculative to hang their entire company on." If Apple hadn't branched out to other areas besides PCs then the authors doomsaying may have just came true.

One thing i will bash you for...when this article was written the iPod was all the rage and apple was making a fortune on it. To declare the death of apple while they had such a huge ace was simply not thought out. The iPod and later the iPhone are what let Apple beat MS, it had nothing to do with Macs. And hell both companies are involved in so many different areas its unfair to compare them nowadays by trying to lump them into the same category.

Tom Ross 8/24/2010 4:35:08 PM Pacific
Sorry, the author's claim was that WINE and VirtualPC would kill the Mac. This decidedly has not happened. Emulated applications are a niche on the Mac. So he was wrong.

And don't blame it on Apple being "a different company today". Back in 2005 Apple was already big in iPod sales and bringing in lots of first time customers. "iPod halo effect" was a popular term back then. In fact, I was one of those people. Bought my first iPod in January 2005 and my first Mac in April 2005.

John Andrews 8/30/2010 5:48:21 AM Pacific
It is interesting to see this perspective, as when the news about intel macs broke I had the complete opposite thought - "My god, everyone who didn't buy a mac because they have to run windows is suddenly a potential Apple customer! Time to buy AAPL!"

The current sky-high stock price is of course not due to the mac, but still it's not fair to say that they were "saved" by the iphone - mac sales have grown by quite a bit and are in fact on all-time highs since the company started so the intel move was a win for Apple on it's own.

I think your fears had merit, but in the end when the gates were opened there were more windows users who were curious about the Mac than there were Mac users who were fed up with it, so the flow went the other way, so to speak.

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