Jobs

Goodness to people

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Comment from E-mail

Hi Mr. Woz, I just wanted to know if you and Steve Jobs are still friends? I've read a few things most of the Apple history that I know I read in the Mac Bathroom Reader, and in that it seems like Mr. Jobs was a bit on the "dark side of the force" where as you always have been VERY Luke like (he he sorry for the geeky cliché but it does kind of fit). Do you think he's changed, and if so is it for the better? I only ask because I feel that my Mac has really turned my life in a good direction and although Apple is doing really great right now it still doesn't have a "official" CEO (or what ever strange three letter thingamajig title the top dogs give them selves) and were as it would take an act of GOD to get me off my Mac I'd really hate to see things at Apple go south yet again.

Woz

It's very scary when Apple has serious problems every few years or so. It might take a bit of the dark side to get companies straightened out once in a while. We didn't have much problem in our early years. There is a bit of Apple that means 'goodness to people' but I think the attitude is more 'get rid of the problems' when things are bad.

The importance of Steve Jobs' role

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Comment from E-mail

Thank you for the Apple. Regardless of where it started or where it has been I have it now and it does add to my enjoyment of life. I am somewhat puzzeled by your seemingly critical view of Steve Jobs. I know that you experienced it all first hand but the fact of the matter is that Mr Jobs has driven the car while you got off. I care not why but you seemingly respond in your answers to "Pirates" that you did it all and Mr. Jobs was basicilly a non-technical salesmen. Did he or did he not have anything to do with the Apple computer ? As I interput your reponses, he was just hanging around like a vulture. Thanks for your time. C. H.

Woz

I'm sorry. I probably misdirected others too. I made a lot of comment about having done a lot of hardware and software, including writing BASIC for the Apple I and Apple ][, in my "Pirates" replies because I did this design while Steve Jobs and Bill Gates and Paul Allen were not as great as engineers. As for the engineering, on the 'dark' side there was Ed Roberts with a computer (who designed it???) and Bill Gates and Paul Allen writing a BASIC. I did all of this and much more, singlehanded, while working a day job at Hewlett Packard too. Steve Jobs did not design the computer in hardware or software terms. He did what was needed to start a company. He found people and companies that could get us to a product (it was manufactured at a company in Santa Clara and we just put the final pieces together in the garage) and sell it and more. He also had product design contributions along the lines of the plastic case and low heat power supply. But almost every other unique 'first ever' feature was my own idea of what would make a good computer. In the spirit I had, of helping and not making money, I gave out schematics to anyone that wanted them in the Homebrew Computer Club. This is what led to the interest that led Steve to see a possibility of making a product for sale.

I've spoken many times in the past about the importance of Steve Jobs' role in the Apple computers. But I was the inventor and engineer, solely. Remember, the Apple I was the first small computer ever with a keyboard standard, and the Apple II had the first color graphics, the first hi-res graphics, the first BASIC in ROM, the first sound and paddles for games, and a host of very clever approaches. Plus, it was so understandable and versatile and usable that it inspired tons of people. I hear from these people all the time, everywhere I go.

In my speeches I go out of my way to make Steve Jobs' role, in non-engineering ways, seem more important. But in response to the movie, I'm trying to compare myself as the engineer to Gates and Allen as engineers and any perceived denigration of Steve Jobs is not intentional.

Thank you for the chance to explain.

At peace

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Comment from E-mail

My name is Michael C. Barnes. I read the first Popular Electronics Magazines about personal computers while I was in the Army. I never thought that this would lead to a career. It just looked like something that would be really cool. I used my GI Bill and signed up for a Digital Industrial Electronics Course and a CREI Microprocessor Technology course. I was consumed by my hobby.

I think that it was 1978 or so, I saw the Apple computer at the first Computer show that I went to in Washington, D.C. Almost every booth had an Apple or some CPM machine. At that time, I was astonished by the graphics. I remember thinking that they looked like cartoons.

I was reading articles that had your name and Steve Job's name. I felt that I was left behind. I even felt that I was an under achiever because you guys were building an industry and I was simply serving my country.

When I got out of the Army, I went into Government but left because I simply felt the call of computers.

I was out trying to find a way to make money in computers about 1980. At that time, the only computers were Atari, Apple, and a bunch of CPM machines. I worked in a store that sold audio, video and computers. At this time, everyone in the industry was doing it as a hobby. I think everyone was simply having fun.

I finally got into the industry professionally working for Burroughs. The person that hired me now runs all of the Americas for Sun. He told me that when he me me, he instantly realized that the indsustry was changing and there was a new generation of computers emerging. He said he never heard anyone talk about computers the way I did and hired me simply because he felt that not hiring me would cause him to fall behind.

Four years later, I was at Sun Microsystems. All this time, I felt that I was in the shadow of people like you. I never believed I could make it rich or make a name for myself simply working for someone else.

Over the years, the industry has changed. By simply working for Sun and buying their stock, I became a millionare. I wound up in Thailand. I started my own company based on a loudspeaker design I came up with. I am now creating amplifiers and audio equipment -- as a hobby. I get more recognition for this than anything I have ever done.

At 46, I am finally at piece. I think that I did okay and that I don't need to feel that I didn't meet my potential. My family is secure. I love my work. I have invented something.

Thank you for setting the bar high. I believe that my modest success is in due part to the early success that pioneers like you had. I think you made it easy for late comers such as myself.

Woz

Your story probably means much more to many more people than my own. We, and the way we started Apple, were the rare exception, and not what people should be taught to expect. But your story is more real and an example of just plain wanting to be in the industry and making sound decisions that did well for you. The best thing is that you say you are at peace. Not everyone could do what we did with Apple, but everyone should see themselves capable of your sort of success.

Thanks for sharing this fine story with me.

Jobs: CEO

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Comment from E-mail

I was just wondering what you think of Steve Jobs being the now Official CEO of Apple again. Do you think he has what it takes to keep the company going as well as it is now, is seems he has done a LOT of growing up since he was pushed out of the company so long ago. Do you think he might get to comfortable again and the same problems will crop up again?

Woz

I like what Steve has always pursued. We probably had some differences whenI felt that the Apple ][ was being unfairly discriminated against, within Apple, for products like the Apple /// and the Macintosh. But I've never seen Steve pursue less than the best and products that change things for the better. I feel, like many others have said, that Steve has matured and is a better judge of the impact of rash negative behavior. But I'm just guessing. In 30 years I've never seen this side of him.

Apple and Microsoft

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Question from E-mail

My question is what did Jobs and Apple get from letting Microsoft buy into them!? Was it just money when they needed it or something else!?

Woz

Steve wanted success for the Mac and that meant software and apps. Microsoft had to have a computer in order to write some. He may have not let Microsoft see much out of fear of a crash.

Has Jobs grown any?

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Comment from E-mail

In your mind, has Jobs grown any? And what is your true feelings towards Win9x? i just started using a Mac and OS 8.1. it seems clunky compared to Win9x.

Woz

I knew Steve Jobs from when he was very young. Of course he's grown a lot. But some of the personality traits can be traced back even to those times. I'd say he grew up and lives an adult life now. But that's not attractive to me. I decided when I was young and idealistic that I didn't want to grow up and get the adult evilness in me. I always wanted to have a fun life no matter what I did for work. I did not include drugs and partying in my fun, just humor and pranks and strange adventures and weird friends. I have done the best at staying young of all the people that I know, and I'm very happy.

Would you ever go back to Apple?

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Question from E-mail

My questions are these: (1) why did Jobs leave Apple? (2) will Apple be able to go after the home computer market with the iMac and regain its dominance as the personal computer maker it should be? (3) would you ever go back to Apple?

Woz

Quite a few people in the company saw Steve's management style as bad for Apple and not in line with how they ran companies. Steve tried to wrench the company on a different path, and schemed to try and have our CEO, John Sculley, removed. John caught wind of it and things wound up with Steve having the freedom to start a project of his own but not to manage the Macintosh or other Apple products at that time. It was like a strong demotion. Steve took it very hard and personal. Instead of trying to do something positive within Apple, he left to try and outdo Apple on his own. It left a feeling among most Apple people of disloyalty to Apple.

My own feeling is that Steve thought he was so great that he would succeed larger than Apple outside of Apple. Also, that he didn't like finding that he was not on top at Apple. He would say that he seemed meant for this great role in life and that it was impossible to do within Apple any longer and that's why he left. There are a lot of credible explanations, but the truth is hard to know for sure.

The iMac has some impressive sales figures, but it hasn't brought Apple out of a dangerously low market share. Something more revolutionary will be needed for that.

I can't see myself going back to Apple. I don't like stress and conflicts and I have a great life even though I'm constantly busy.

Apple should be more open

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Question from E-mail

Do you think Jobs will ever "Get it"? Let me explain what I mean. The PC was a bad computer. It was slow and had a poor OS. What I feel made the PC take off was the fact that the systems were open. Within a year of the release of the first IBM you had several other companies making the same products. When IBM went to the PS/2 (Micro BUS) to cut out competers, the PS/2 failed, so IBM learned and went back to the ISA/EISA/PCI bus and now IBM is doing better. Apple allowed Clones 3 years ago and did badly (I think because the quality went down on the MAC for a while then it came back). My point is do you think Apple will ever open it's system again? I feel they should have opened the first MACs back in 84. If they had, Apple might own part of MS, not the other way around. I would like any of your comment or personal observation.

Woz

We did so well in the days when we had extremely open products. But Steve Jobs has always tried to make them tighter and more closed. He says that it's beneficial to the user not to have all the many permutations of configurations.

We basically only had one disagreement over the Apple ][ design. He tried to get me to go with 2 slots instead of 8. I stood for 8 and told him he could find another computer. Call it artistic license. It paid off in the long run. But from that day on, he always tries to have less flexablitiy and variation possible in our computers than PC's have. He tries to define a machine for one purpose and precisely configured for it. But people always want other things too.

You find a ton of people like I was once, engineers and technicians, who can buy PC subassemblies and chips and can make breadboards and you don't even have magazines telling how to do this on Macs. I have no further comment.