Re: Expansion slots. Meh.
> PC XT and PC AT buyers laughed at Apple for not having expansion slots. The Lisa and all the Macs came with audio and mouse built in.
To be fair, the PC was a business machine and was meant to be used for serious activities, such as spreadsheets and document processing. Company accountants saw things like audio cards as frivolous and unnecessary expenses - and back in the day, employees could face disciplinary action if caught playing games in the office.
(such sweet innocent days, long before Minecraft and Solitare decimated office productivity - and before the Internet gave people the opportunity to find more adult-orientated distractions, at least until companies began to install website filters..)
Then too, those expansion ports played a major part in the PC's rise to dominance.
As per above, it was very much targeted at businesses, who have a lot more purchasing power than private individuals - and thanks to asset-deprecation rules, new hardware can effectively cost nothing, as you just write it off against your taxes over a few years, aided and abetted by generous loan schemes from the manufacturers.
So. You get economies of scale from the large install base, which together with it's modular and (mostly) open architecture encourages the growth of an eco-system around it. And the competition within this eco-system drives innovation and cost reduction, which in turn grows the install base and brings more people flocking to the eco-system...
And so, the PC was simply able to evolve at a much faster rate than would be possible for any single-source hardware - companies such as Apple, Atari and Commodore may have had tens or hundreds of engineers, but the PC eco-system had /thousands/ queuing up for a piece of the pie.
Then too, after a few years (thanks in no small part to the tax write-offs), you got a healthy second-hand market, offering hardware at prices much easier for private individuals to afford - and the vast variety of hardware on offer made it ideal for enthusiasts to dive into.
Especially when we got into the early days of 3D video games (Doom!) and the internet - the PC's architecture may have been clumsy when compared to it's rivals, but it also had a lot more brute-force power to throw at these activities and enthusiasts became obsessed with picking the "best" components and fine-tuning the timings on their overclocked kit.
In many ways, that's what's happening now in the mobile phone world: companies such as Nokia, Blackberry and Apple may have been king at one point, but Android has rolled over them, for similar economies-of-scale/eco-system reasons.
And to my mind, that's what this article should have highlighted: the Lisa - and the Mac - may have been advanced and sophisticated for the time, but the PC was both cheaper and able to evolve far more quickly.
(To be fair, Apple's fully aware of this, and is throwing an insane amount of money at R&D ($10 billion a year!) to try and keep up with the chaotically frenzied eco-system driving Android's evolution...)