Microsoft

Good people work for Microsoft too

in
Comment from E-mail

Hi, I watched the movie again today, and as everyone else, it brings back memories. I do not have any questions for you regarding the movie since you have answered most of them for me, but I do want to say thanks. I am the CEO and owner of a Microsoft Solution Provider company that develops custom applications. I am the proud owner of an Apple II+, IIE, and believe it or not, an Apple clone I bought in 83. I was 14 years old when my father bought my first computer. I quickly became submersed in the computer world. I lived on the BBs systems and ran one called "The Trading Post" in the south for years. We had over 100 calls a day and it was exciting. Obviously I have moved over to the Bill Gates world, but only because I felt that Apple did not have the business applications I needed to do what I was good at, which is developing business applications to solve business problems. Anyway, it was your computer that kept me going and made me what I am today. Thanks for everything.

Woz

Good people work for Microsoft, and Microsoft develops some good products too. It's just not fair when they use their power to keep others from doing so. The important thing is that your important formative memories involved the Apple ][.

Microsoft being a monopoly

in
Comment from E-mail

I disagree completely with you about Microsoft being a monopoly: while Microsoft was hardly improving Windows (3.0 3.11 95 98 NT 2000), Apple did not change anything (besides cosmetic changes) to improve its product and compete! Only with MacOS X will Apple have the same features Windows NT has had since 1994 ! It's unfair to say it is a monopoly just because the competition did not have competence to see what was happening with their competitor and improve their products !!!

The gas station example is wrong. This is better: Imagine 5 car companies improving their cars for years. Four of them were just changing the colors of the car each year, while the other one were improving the engine, brakes, suspension and sound system. Ten years later the 4 companies claims the other one is a monopoly because the majority ofconsumersprefers to buy the other car ! Is this fair?

Woz

You should read the judge's determination. Microsoft has an OS monopoly and had it all the way back to DOS days. They use this monopoly illegally to enter other markets like the Web browser market and to exclude other companies from these markets. All the innovation that can possibly occur in these cases has to be attributed to them, as they don't allow others to do a better job. This is what my car example was. Your example is all wrong and has nothing to do with illegal monopoly power. In fact, there's no way that Microsoft could have used their OS monopoly more illegally than they did in their effort to secure a browser market share that they couldn't have come close to achieving on a level playing field.

At least Microsoft had the good sense to see what Apple had and copy it.

The copies weren't as good

in
Comment from E-mail

I am just commenting on what I have read about the comments made about the "Pirates of Silicon Valley". My ex husband had been using Apple computers then the Mac since 1985, he was a systems design engineer.

When the "clones" started appearing, I had always stated that their OS reminded me of the Apple/Mac OS only to be told that I was the one that did not know what I was talking about. (That was by computer instructors) It was very reassuring to me to see it pointed out that the operating system for the clones was pirated from Apple. Something that I had always realized and no one believed.

To have been around in the era of when home computing was born, I find it to be an privilege and yet a burden at the same time. There are many out there that did not and still may not realize what went on in the early days of home computing...Deb L.

Woz

For years, we Mac users knew how much better a computer system we had. Then the PC clones appeared running the Windows OS from Microsoft. It was so sad to see the copiers win out, particularly since the copies weren't as good.

The Corvus Concept.

in
Comment from E-mail

Woz, (I hope this gets to you)
Thanks for helping start the thing that has defined my life.

Computers have given me my life and living. I thank you you for making it possible. I think computers aren't as fun an cool as they used to be in the "old days".

I started out with a TRS-80 Model I, but drooled over Apple ]['s, and planned to buy one and upgrade it with stuff from Applied Engineering. By the time I got the money together to do that, The Apple ][ and AE were history. I am a proud owner of a PowerComputing PowerCenter 132, a Performa 6116 and an Apple ][c.

I also helped author the Apple ][ version of FACTS+ (www.programsteppe.com). It's educational software for autistic children. Charlie would love to hear from you, and would gladly send you a copy for your review. FACTS+ is a lot like your designs. Not flashy, but solid and works well.

I also used to work for the NE Distributor of Corvus Hard Drives (Lawrence S. Epstein Assoc.). Those were fun times. Did you ever get to see The "Corvus Concept" computer. It was a Mac before the Mac.

It was a 68000 computer with a Ball monitor, I think it used CPM-68k, but was based on the Apple ][ design. I know it used Apple ][ Cards (Serial, Floppy, Corvus). It was a great system.

I used to sell these drives to Microsoft in their Albuquerque days. But I doubt Bill would remember me now.

I know there were too few to make this real, but I'd love to get a hold of a working Apple I or a replica just to play with. I did see one of the originals in the Smithsonian. Not too sure if it was an Apple I or an Apple ][.

I'm on the lookout for a 20th Anniversary Mac. One day I'll spot one I can afford.

I appreciate the direction you've chosen in life. I am doing something similar in mine. I just wanted to say hi to you. Thanks for all you do. Al H.

Woz

Thanks for the note. You do bring back memories, including the Corvus Concept. I can look back and see how important the Apple I was now. Good luck getting or seeing one!

Cloning

in
Comment from E-mail

Do you think Apple would Now be in a much stronger position [in the market place] if someone had allowed the cloning of machines earlier than the decision was taken to do so .... and would allowing the deals set in place in the late 90s to be brought to fruition have helped the numbers out there?

Woz

I think that Apple would be primarily a software company now and would be the size of Microsoft, which would be greatly diminished. I'm not sure that cloning would have given businesses the incentive to pass on IBM but we would have owned the consumer market.

Bill Gates and Microsoft

in
Comment from E-mail

Some people claim that Bill Gates will be given credit for creating the personal computer in the history books. What do you think about this and Microsoft in general?

Woz

That's ridiculous. Bill did have an important part. In 1975 when I was in the Homebrew Computer Club and designing my computer, Bill's BASIC brought a usable computer language to those technicians that could now afford a cheap Altair computer. Tons of games were the starting point for this revolution.

I'd spent a couple of important, earlier years of my life teaching myself to program a computer language in machine language, even though I never had access to a computer to even start debugging my programs. They were just written on paper, generally during college math classes and the like. I awe Bill Gates' BASIC and decided that was the language for me to use on my 'second' computer, which became the Apple I (the first had been built a few years earlier). In the end, I spent a lot more time on this than on the hardware designs and other things.

Do note that I did all the hardware and software and keyboard control programs and BASIC and graphic programs and apps and demos and peripherals (cassette interface, printer interface and driver, serial interfaces and drivers, floppy controller and driver and boot code and OS kernel, and more). Bill Gates gave up engineering (programming) after one program and made all of Microsoft's programs as a businessman, primarily 'buying' them.

Once in a while history credits the scientist or engineer over the businessman. Einstein is an example of this. But usually the measure is in terms of dollars and power and longevity in the business.

About Jobs and Gates

in
Comment from E-mail

Hello, My name is Jason S, I would like to say that I really do admire you and your work, and if you wouldn't mine, I would like to ask you a few quesitons about Jobs and Gates:

First, how did you feel at the 1997 MacWorld Expo when Jobs announced a semi-merger with Microsoft? Next, What do you think of the Anti-trust case against Microsoft? Do you think its a monopoly or just an extremenly competitive company? Also, what do you think of Jobs being appointed interim CEO of Apple? Do you tink that the new iMac is the answer to the companies decline?

Woz

The1997 MacWorld Expo: In the sense which it is intended it's good. I'm non-confrontational for sure. But it was portrayed as Bill Gates cheering for Apple and that wasn't true

Regarding Microsoft: It's a monopoly. Microsoft has used it's monopoly powers in very bad ways. What if all the gas stations were owned by one company and they announced that they were modifying the nozzles to only fit their own brand of car? We'd have no choice and all the car companies would be out of business. If you're rich and don't like somebody who has a shoe store, you don't have the right to open a big shoe store across the street and price the shoes at half price just to put him out of business (and then be left with the rewards of a 'monopoly')

Jobs as CEO: At first I didn't like the fact that he would revive his own Next stuff within Apple, because some good Apple stuff would be shelved. But the products are great and leading the world to the future...Woz

Inaccurate ending of "Pirates"

in
Comment from E-mail

I was not terribly happy with the very inaccurate ending of "Pirates." If I remember correctly, Microsoft helped Apple in order to not be sued by Apple for infringing on Apple's patents. Microsoft agreed to work on Office for the Mac and they also agreed to buy non-voting stock (which could be converted) in order to keep Apple from suing them... What is your spin!

Woz

You see what many miss, exactly. Plus, the stock is essentially from the shareholders, paid for with dilution, and is worth as much as it costs, on the average. So Microsoft lost nothing, Apple gained $125M, and it's shareholders lost $125M. But that loss was really a necessary and proper investment which was recovered (by the shareholders) once it helped the company become more healthy.

Microsoft, Apple, Xerox

in
Question from E-mail

Some of the more common accusations revolve around the apparent fact that MS borrowed heavily if not stole the Apple/Mac OS and turned it into Windows. What was surprising in the movie was that it appears that Apple obtained the idea of a GUI and mouse from Xerox in what could be described as a similar act of, shall we say, "appropriation". I'm sure the reality is much more complex than that.

Woz

in Apple's major lawsuit against Microsoft for copying their "look and feel" it came out that Apple had licensed this technology to them. Microsoft got a very favorable contract. Apple maintained that they had only licensed it for a version of Windows that was still pretty much just a shell on top of DOS. But Microsoft pointed to the phrase "and derivative works." In my opinion, a real GUI, and even Windows 95, is not a derivative work of these early DOS-Windows hybrids, but a new form of OS, that competes directly with MacOS. But the judge didn't see it that way.

Apple and Microsoft

in
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.