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The importance of Steve Jobs' role

in
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.

Why didn't Apple make the Mac Apple // compatible?

in
Comment from E-mail

Hi Woz! My first experience with computers was in 1982 when I was 12 years old. Shortly after that my Dad bought me an Apple // clone (sorry :) ... The Franklin Ace 1000. I kept that until the ][GS came out and drewled over it (and bought one). I still have it (Woz limited edition). Between 1983 and 1991, my life revolved around the Apple // (I've grown up now and have more important goals in life, such as my wife and children), but at the time, every waking moment was spent hacking my clone or my GS... discovering different softswitches, entry points into ROM, etc... When Apple started wayning in its support the the Apple //, it was extremely discouraging to me and my fellow Apple // "buddies". It seemed that they couldn't actively kill the // line for fear of loss of loyalty, but that they made every effort to let it die a slow death and that it continued to out-sell the Mac for years with absolutely no marketing for the // line. I've always wondered since then what was the reasoning for letting the Apple // die instead of continuiing that line with upgrades so that today, the current Mac would actually be the latest version of the Apple //? I had been hearing rumors at the time that Steve Jobs didn't like the "game" reputation the Apple // had and wanted a "business" competitor and that you were actually more of a // fan and you were the only reason the // line lasted as long as it did. What's the real story behind that? Why didn't Apple make the Mac Apple // compatible? Thanks,Michael Q. (previous graphics editor for GS+ magazine... If you remember that mag?)

Woz

The Apple ][ certainly was an excellent machine to get into the hardware and software and the basic levels of the computer. It made a lot of what a computer is understand to very many like yourself. But Apple's leadership had a very strong direction toward making the geeky parts as hidden as possible. That has it's benefits but it also takes away a very fun part of our lives, figuring out how to do our OWN things.

Apple never was very good at carrying on two lines at one time. Apple actually totally ditched the Apple ][ from 1980 to 1983. Every ad was for the Apple ///. But the Apple ][ was the best selling PC in the world in those years. It was also ignored when the Macintosh arrived because it was not the future and we can't have two high priorities at once. It's just too bad. Even though the Macintosh platform has a low market share, we keep supporting it enough to keep it working. But we didn't do the same for the Apple ][.

I don't have a strong personal 'side' on this issue. But I do receive continual email talking about how much the Apple ][ meant to people that could play with software and entry points and the like.

I was their chief engineer

in
Comment from E-mail

During my Apple II affair, I also used many Apple clones like the Franklin Ace 1000, and the Cherry computer, then later the "Laser 128"... How did you feel when these companies basically copied the Apple ][ roms? As I remember, almost all of the ROM entry points were at the same address, and a lot of the ROM routines were byte-for-byte the same. Did this trigger any legal action from Apple?

Woz

I was shocked that they could copy these ROMs, and copy the PC board too. But I got the president of Franklin to tell the press that I was their chief engineer.