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MacBytes
Aug 25, 2006, 01:24 PM
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Category: History
Link: Apple Sues Microsoft (http://www.macbytes.com/link.php?sid=20060825142452)
Description:: When Mac sales dropped off in 1985, Bill Gates personally wrote John Sculley suggesting that he license the Macintosh design to companies like Apollo, DEC and Wang, and establish the software as the industry standard. Apple declined, and Microsoft published Windows. Sculley was enraged, and eventually filed suit. After five years, Apple lost, but not before severely damaging its relationship with Microsoft (which accounted for 2/3 of all Mac software sales).

Posted on MacBytes.com (http://www.macbytes.com)
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dbhays
Aug 25, 2006, 06:49 PM
I never knew the lawsuit went as far as the supreme court, even though it was denied. Very interesting read. I don't think it is fair to say MS stole the Mac OS, rather Sculley was just a bad CEO who gave away the OS.

IJ Reilly
Aug 25, 2006, 07:30 PM
I never knew the lawsuit went as far as the supreme court, even though it was denied. Very interesting read. I don't think it is fair to say MS stole the Mac OS, rather Sculley was just a bad CEO who gave away the OS.

It didn't, actually. The case was never heard in the Supreme Court. The case was dismissed and the Supreme Court refused to consider it.

A couple of errors in this article. I have never seen any evidence anywhere that either Microsoft or Apple ever licensed any interface elements from Xerox, let alone for $100 million. As the story goes, Jobs told the people at Xerox that he'd allow them to invest $1 million in Apple (pre-IPO) if they would just allow Apple to have a look at the work Xerox PARC was doing. I don't know precisely how much Xerox invested, but $100 million seems pretty high. Also, Gate argued vehemently in Apple v. Microsoft that GUIs could not be patented and copyrighted, which kind of begs the question why he'd spend money on a license with Xerox, especially when he'd hired away one of their top people to work for Microsoft.

Saad
Aug 25, 2006, 10:03 PM
It didn't, actually. The case was never heard in the Supreme Court. The case was dismissed and the Supreme Court refused to consider it.

A couple of errors in this article. I have never seen any evidence anywhere that either Microsoft or Apple ever licensed any interface elements from Xerox, let alone for $100 million. As the story goes, Jobs told the people at Xerox that he'd allow them to invest $1 million in Apple (pre-IPO) if they would just allow Apple to have a look at the work Xerox PARC was doing. I don't know precisely how much Xerox invested, but $100 million seems pretty high. Also, Gate argued vehemently in Apple v. Microsoft that GUIs could not be patented and copyrighted, which kind of begs the question why he'd spend money on a license with Xerox, especially when he'd hired away one of their top people to work for Microsoft.

I'm the author of the article. My source for Microsoft's licensing was Jim Carlton's Apple and Owen Lizmayer's Apple Confidential.

IJ Reilly
Aug 25, 2006, 10:27 PM
I'm the author of the article. My source for Microsoft's licensing was Jim Carlton's Apple and Owen Lizmayer's Apple Confidential.

My sources are "Hard Drive" by Wallace and Erickson and "Gates" by Manes and Andrews, among others. I've done a lot of reading, and quite a bit of writing, on this topic over the years, and I've never come across a sourced reference for either Apple or Microsoft licensing from Xerox. Gates certainly didn't think such a thing was even necessary, and I've never encountered any evidence that Jobs thought so either. As Jef Raskin always said, the ideas Xerox PARC were developing weren't new or unique to Xerox, and neither did the Lisa, the Mac or Windows GUI resemble the Alto GUI in any meaningful way. Both companies also raided the Xerox PARC staff. They got who they wanted and what they wanted that way.

Saad
Aug 25, 2006, 10:37 PM
"With this contract, Apple thus agreed that Gates was free to come up with his own take on the graphical technology that had originated with Xerox, from which Microsoft had already obtained a license to certain GUI technology." Apple by Jim Carlton

Donz0r
Aug 26, 2006, 04:04 AM
It didn't, actually. The case was never heard in the Supreme Court. The case was dismissed and the Supreme Court refused to consider it.

A couple of errors in this article. I have never seen any evidence anywhere that either Microsoft or Apple ever licensed any interface elements from Xerox, let alone for $100 million. As the story goes, Jobs told the people at Xerox that he'd allow them to invest $1 million in Apple (pre-IPO) if they would just allow Apple to have a look at the work Xerox PARC was doing. I don't know precisely how much Xerox invested, but $100 million seems pretty high. Also, Gate argued vehemently in Apple v. Microsoft that GUIs could not be patented and copyrighted, which kind of begs the question why he'd spend money on a license with Xerox, especially when he'd hired away one of their top people to work for Microsoft.

...Why don't you try reading what you're actually quoting before commenting on it.

IJ Reilly
Aug 26, 2006, 11:04 AM
...Why don't you try reading what you're actually quoting before commenting on it.

Maybe you ought to take you own advice. I was responding specifically to this portion of the article:

Besides, Microsoft had licensed GUI elements from Xerox, including a desktop-style interface used on the Xerox 8010,the commercial version of the Alto. (Apple had also licensed the GUI from Xerox for $100 million in Apple stock.)

IJ Reilly
Aug 26, 2006, 11:22 AM
"With this contract, Apple thus agreed that Gates was free to come up with his own take on the graphical technology that had originated with Xerox, from which Microsoft had already obtained a license to certain GUI technology." Apple by Jim Carlton

I realize Carlton said it, but my sources, a couple of very well researched books, tell a significantly different story. Does Carlton cite a source for this? What "certain" GUI technology? Worth knowing, I think. In fact, Bill Gates walked away from his visit to Xerox PARC unimpressed, say those who were there. So something doesn't exactly fit logically, you must admit.

I think this is an important point because a kind of mythology has grown up around Xerox PARC, as though they were the wellspring of all things GUI, from whom everyone else drank ("stole" usually being the operative term). Certainly, the work they did was important, but it doesn't take much hard examination to recognize that the Mac UI bears little to no resemblance to the Alto UI. Also, the development of the Mac started before Jobs & Co. even visited Xerox PARC. In fact as Jef Raskin tells it (as head of the Mac project at the time), it was he who pushed the visit. He was hoping to persuade Steve Jobs of the power of a GUI. It worked too well -- for Raskin at least.

vanzskater272
Aug 26, 2006, 11:54 AM
I never knew that apple was so close with microsoft.

Saad
Aug 26, 2006, 04:08 PM
Microsoft and Apple have done more for getting the GUI into personal computers than the Alto did. For the record, the Xerox 8010 (a computer Charles Simonyi convinced Gates to buy) had a WIMP environment, I believe.

shamino
Aug 28, 2006, 10:10 AM
I realize Carlton said it, but my sources, a couple of very well researched books, tell a significantly different story.
Folklore.org has this (http://www.folklore.org/StoryView.py?story=A_Rich_Neighbor_Named_Xerox.txt) and this (http://www.folklore.org/StoryView.py?story=On_Xerox,_Apple_and_Progress.txt) to say.

Gates seemed to think (at least publicly) they both stole Xerox's ideas. But the developers at Apple have a very different opinion.

As someone who has personally used a Xerox Star/Viewpoint (http://members.dcn.org/dwnelson/XeroxStarRetrospective.html) workstation, I can say that there is little resemblance to either Mac OS or Windows. While both have a mouse and a GUI, the similarity stops there:

Xerox had no menu bar. Pop-up menus only.
Xerox had no drag-drop for file manupulation. Specialized keyboard keys for things like "copy" and "move" were used. To move a file, select the file, press "move", then click the destination.
Xerox windows do not (or at least did not, orignally) auto-update when they are covered. Only the topmost window redraws. And all windows are rectangular.
Xerox had no concept of an "application". All apps transparently launch and quit in the background as documents are opened and closed. (And typically, apps never actually quit. Because of this, Xerox systems required relatively huge amounts of memory and could not work without a hard drive.)
Objects modification (including text formatting) was generally done with property-sheet windows (accessed with a specialized keyboard button) and not through direct manipulation.
Xerox was fully internationalized, including a 16-bit character set and multilingual keyboard capabilities. Apple didn't get this until WorldScript (part of System 7). Microsoft didn't get it until Windows 3.1 (and wasn't mainstream until Win98+IE6.)
Xerox document icons were generally simply shapes with large blanks spaces, where the document's name would be printed. The concept of fancy icons with the name appearing below or to the side of the icon is an Apple invention. (Windows didn't have this until version 3.)
The Xerox mouse was three-button (and all three were used all the time), optical, and very expensive. Apple's original mouse was one-button with a ball. Microsoft's original mouse was two-button, with the right-button rarely used for anything.

IJ Reilly
Aug 28, 2006, 10:42 AM
Folklore.org has this (http://www.folklore.org/StoryView.py?story=A_Rich_Neighbor_Named_Xerox.txt) and this (http://www.folklore.org/StoryView.py?story=On_Xerox,_Apple_and_Progress.txt) to say.

Gates seemed to think (at least publicly) they both stole Xerox's ideas. But the developers at Apple have a very different opinion.

Good information, thanks. I know, Gates was one the perpetuators of the mythology that both Apple and Microsoft "stole" from Xerox, and it was only a matter of who got in the door first. Of course this totally ignores the history, most importantly that Apple was already working on the Mac project before Steve Jobs visited Xerox PARC, and that Apple advanced the GUI concept far beyond anything Xerox had done. This is Bill Gates rationalizing adding so little to the advancement of GUI technology and ripping off most of his ideas directly from Apple, not to mention, Microsoft taking many more years to make them work even passably well.

Saad
Aug 28, 2006, 11:57 AM
Good information, thanks. I know, Gates was one the perpetuators of the mythology that both Apple and Microsoft "stole" from Xerox, and it was only a matter of who got in the door first. Of course this totally ignores the history, most importantly that Apple was already working on the Mac project before Steve Jobs visited Xerox PARC, and that Apple advanced the GUI concept far beyond anything Xerox had done. This is Bill Gates rationalizing adding so little to the advancement of GUI technology and ripping off most of his ideas directly from Apple, not to mention, Microsoft taking many more years to make them work even passably well.

Carlton does not have a footnote for Microsoft licensing the Xerox technology, so I'll have the article revised.

IJ Reilly
Aug 28, 2006, 01:10 PM
Carlton does not have a footnote for Microsoft licensing the Xerox technology, so I'll have the article revised.

I think the best way to handle an issue of this nature is to attribute to sources within the text, e.g., "according to Carlton," etc. then present the story as told by others. This way, the reader understands that many significant gaps and contradictions exist in this history. I think this in a way is even more interesting than telling the story as if we know everything that is to be known. It suggests that the players tend to relate the story in a way that magnifies their own importance. This industry if full of so many huge egos -- and this fact by itself has a significant impact on our knowledge of events.

Thanks for participating in this discussion.