After the burst of excitement that accompanied the release of Macintosh,
its sales began to taper off in the second half of 1984.
The problem was a fundamental one:
It was a dazzling but woefully slow and underpowered computer,
and no amount of hoopla could mask that.
Its beauty was that its user interface looked like a sunny playroom
rather than a somber dark screen with sickly green pulsating letters and surly command lines.
But that led to its greatest weakness:
A character on a text-based display took less than a byte of code,
whereas when the Mac drew a letter, pixel by pixel in any elegant font you wanted,
it required twenty or thirty times more memory.
The Lisa handled this by shipping with more than 1,000K RAM, whereas the Macintosh made do with 128K.
Another problem was the lack of an internal hard disk drive.
Jobs had called Joanna Hoffman a "Xerox bigot" when she fought for such a storage device.
He insisted that the Macintosh have just one floppy disk drive.
If you wanted to copy data,
you could end up with a new form of tennis elbow from having to swap floppy disks in and out of the single drive.
In addition, the Macintosh lacked a fan, another example of Jobs's dogmatic stubbornness.
Fans, he felt, detracted from the calm of a computer.
This caused many component failures
and earned the Macintosh the nickname "the beige toaster,"
which did not enhance its popularity.
It was so seductive that it had sold well enough for the first few months,
but when people became more aware of its limitations, sales fell.
As Hoffman later lamented,
"The reality distortion field can serve as a spur, but then reality itself hits."
At the end of 1984, with Lisa sales virtually nonexistent and Macintosh sales falling below ten thousand a month,
Jobs made a shoddy, and atypical, decision out of desperation.
He decided to take the inventory of unsold Lisas, graft on a Macintosh-emulation program,
and sell them as a new product, the "Macintosh XL."
Since the Lisa had been discontinued and would not be restarted,
it was an unusual instance of Jobs producing something that he did not believe in.
"I was furious because the Mac XL wasn't real," said Hoffman.
"It was just to blow the excess Lisas out the door.
It sold well, and then we had to discontinue the horrible hoax, so I resigned."