Macintosh Support at Yale

April 1998 – The following editorial was written some months after the explosion caused by a letter from Dan Updegrove, Director of Information Technology at Yale, advising incoming students to buy Windows computers instead of Macs. In light of an article in Rumpus, the Yale student newspaper, Low End Mac reprints the editorial verbatim.

October 15, 1997

This was big news a few months ago, when incoming Yale students received a letter from Daniel Updegrove, Director of Information Technology, stating, “the University cannot guarantee support for Macintoshes beyond June 2000.” The text is available online in Mac vs. Windows in the Ivy League and on Yale’s site at <http://www.yale.edu/mcsc/bts/letter.html>.

Most specifically, the advice to incoming students buying new hardware is buy Wintel.

It hit the fan.

Not only Yale students, but alumni and Mac users worldwide were outraged: Rather than serving the needs of the academic community, Yale IT was attempting to dictate solutions. This flew in the face of history. Yale and Apple have worked together since 1984 (see ITS Statement concerning June 1997 letter to incoming undergraduates).

Since then, the Yale School of Medicine has come out in support of the Macintosh (see Macs @ Yale Revisited and ITS Med press release at <http://info.med.yale.edu/computing/policy/macsup.html>).

Donna Ladd of Mac Home Journal recently discovered that Yale University has received a $3,000,000 grant from Intel to help them migrate to Intel-based computers (see Yale Migration to Wintel Aided by Intel Grant). About the same time Updegrove was writing his letter to incoming students, he was applying for the grant that would help push Apple out.

It certainly looks like a conflict of interest to ask Intel for a handout and develop a pro-Intel IT policy at the same time. But then Updegrove has been working to make his mark at Yale since he left the University of Pennsylvania and took his new position on May 1, 1996. Already in September 1996 the Yale News reported, “Dawn of a new age: Updegrove tries to revamp computers.”

Of course, then it was just typewriters and file cabinets he wanted to eliminate, not the world’s second most popular computer platform. But then the Intel grant is to promote Intel and Windows NT, not just any Wintel box. Are we seeing a pattern here?

1996: phase out typewriters
1997: phase out Macintosh
1998: phase out Windows 3.1 and Windows 95?
1999: phase out computers with non-Intel CPUs?

I’ll give him this: Although Wintel boxes need more support than Macs, if he pulls it off, at least Updegrove will have everyone using the same OS. In IT, that counts for a lot.

But more than user choice?

Dan Knight, publisher, Low End Mac

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