TEN, TEN, TEN!! OSX!
It just doesn’t work guys! Expecting our brains to look at three characters and pronounce one as the letter ‘OH’, and the next as the letter ‘ESS’, and then the third as the letter ‘EX’. NO! NO! NO! (See what I mean?) The third as the ROMAN NUMERAL ‘TEN’!
Only a stubborn genius like Steve Jobs could have insisted on OH ESS TEN. Even the most simple minded Marketing person at Apple must have foreseen what a royal pain this name was going to be. Did any of them have the cajones to tell Steve? Probably not. Even if they did, he’d say,
“Hey, I was right about disk drives, wasn’t I?”
And they’d say, “Let’s call it ‘AQUA’ Steve, people will like that!”
And Steve’d say, “No. Don’t you get it? Generation ‘X’, uniX. It’s gotta have an EX. It’s a marketing thing!”
And they’d say, “Leave the marketing to Marketing, Steve, that’s what you pay us for!”
And Steve says, “I pay you? Everyone says the worst thing about Apple is its marketing. They’ve said that for twenty years! Have I been paying you for twenty years? I wonder what our market share would be if you were working on commission!”
“Steve, you want them to think EX but say TEN. It’s too complicated.”
And Steve would say, “You bozo, I killed Newton, tell me that was a mistake! We’re profitable!”
And they’d think, “Palm and Handspring, they’re doing well…” but they’d say, “How about we just SPELL it ‘OS 10’?”
And Steve would reply, “Are you still working here? OS/2 is IBM’s Operating System. Do you think I want ANYONE to have the slightest perception that OH ESS EX – damn it! – OH ESS TEN, is in any way related to some antique rubbish code from IBM??”
Well we know who won that argument. The Steve won. The product was named “OSX”, and properly pronounced “Oh Ess Ten”. But he lost the battle. Because to this day you can hardly find an Apple-Store-Newbie-scruff, much less a GENIUS, who calls it anything but “Oh Ess Ex”.
From Unpredictable #18, May 14, 2001