When A Macintosh Isn't A Macintosh

I was working for a big insurance company when the desktop publishing (DTP) revolution took off in the mid-’80s. This place was IBM blue, through and through. If you needed a desktop computer at that place and time, you only had once choice: an honest to goodness IBM PC. Unfortunately, WYSIWYG DTP wasn’t easy to do on a PC in 1988. We needed a Macintosh, but the corporate IT department just didn’t want to hear about it.

The situation was so bad that we couldn’t even bring up the subject. As far as the IT department was concerned, it was either a PC or nothing at all.

We knew that wouldn’t do. We had our hearts set on purchasing a Linotype L300 PostScript imagesetting system. Without a Macintosh, we’d have nothing to drive the Lino. We’d have no way to create digital artwork. And we’d have no way to provide service bureau capabilities to our inside and outside clients.

So we came up with a plan.

We didn’t put through a proposal to buy a Macintosh with the imagesetter. Oh no… we submitted paperwork to requisition $90K worth of Linotype imagesetting system, complete with graphic workstation. We simply omitted out the “M” word. We listed the specifications, leaving out any incriminating specifics.

The ploy worked… hook, line, and sinker …

We weren’t quick to pull back the curtain. But once we got the Lino/Mac combo installed, it drew a crowd. And lo and behold, we soon found other pockets of Macs within the corporation.

It didn’t take all that long for the technology to develop to enable us to drive the Lino with a PC, as well. It wasn’t cheap or easy in those days, but we got that done, too.