Microsoft, Apple, Xerox

January 3, 2018

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.


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.