The tale of 2 failed GUI PCs

smoledman

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xerox_Star#Marketing_and_commercial_reception
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Lisa#Reception

Another possible reason given for the lack of success of the Star was the corporate structure of Xerox itself. A longtime copier company, Xerox played to their strengths. They already had one significant failure under their belt in making their acquisition of Scientific Data Systems pay off. It is said that there were internal jealousies between the old line copier systems divisions that were responsible for bulk of Xerox's revenues and the new upstart division. Their marketing efforts were seen by some as half-hearted or unfocused. Furthermore, the most technically savvy sales representatives that might have sold office automation equipment were paid large commissions on leases of laser printer equipment costing up to a half-million dollars. No commission structure for 'decentralized' systems could compete. The multi-lingual technical documentation market was also a major opportunity, but this required cross-border collaboration for which few sales organizations were ready at this time.

The difference is that Xerox was a typical huge bureaucratic corporation with no vision and Apple was a small, nimble company with a vision. So by 1984 Apple released Mac and Xerox never even tried after the Star. A startup company beat the giant behemoth because they understood where things were going and did not QUIT despite huge failures(Apple III and Lisa).

By 1982 everything in the land of GUI-based PCs was very uncertain except in the mind of Steve Jobs. Ironically, PARCs failure to follow up on the Star is the opening that Microsoft needed to get into Windows. Had Xerox spun off PARC and that had succeeded, Microsoft would still be a boutique software company.
 

*LTD*

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Interesting topic.

Apple from day one was a completely unique organization in the industry they helped create.
 
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smoledman

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Interesting topic.

Apple from day one was a completely unique organization in the industry they helped create.
The problem in the early 80s was IBM still saw everything through mainframe-tinted glasses and Xerox didn't even think PCs were very important. So that left the entire venture to the upstarts.
 
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kdarling

macrumors P6
A startup company beat the giant behemoth because they understood where things were going and did not QUIT despite huge failures(Apple III and Lisa).
Apple beat Xerox at selling copiers?

Wait. Never mind. I see. You were making up a computer sales battle that never existed.

Xerox never competed against Apple, except in the courtoom years later when they tried to get Apple to stop taking credit for GUIs.
 
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chrono1081

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Apple beat Xerox at selling copiers?

Wait. Never mind. I see. You were making up a computer sales battle that never existed.

Xerox never competed against Apple, except in the courtoom years later when they tried to get Apple to stop taking credit for GUIs.
The Apple news I always read stated that Apple got the GUI idea when Xerox offered Apple a deal where for 150,000 shares Apple could have access to Xerox's PARC system for 3 days and take away whatever they wanted from it.

I don't recall Apple taking credit for the GUI (of course I could be wrong but I never remember reading that).
 
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smoledman

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The Apple news I always read stated that Apple got the GUI idea when Xerox offered Apple a deal where for 150,000 shares Apple could have access to Xerox's PARC system for 3 days and take away whatever they wanted from it.

I don't recall Apple taking credit for the GUI (of course I could be wrong but I never remember reading that).
The most productive 3 day training session in history!:apple:
 
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kdarling

macrumors P6
The Apple news I always read stated that Apple got the GUI idea when Xerox offered Apple a deal where for 150,000 shares Apple could have access to Xerox's PARC system for 3 days and take away whatever they wanted from it.
That's a pretty common Wikified simplistic version; not your fault.

Apple offered Xerox the right to BUY 100,000 shares of pre-IPO Apple stock in return for a visit. Xerox paid about $1.5 million to do so and later sold it for about $6 million, IIRC. So Xerox was okay with that exchange.

A year or two later Xerox licensed Apple to create a Smalltalk computer as a joint exercise. According to Xerox in their court papers, they thought the Lisa was that device:

"On June 9, 1981, Xerox granted Apple a license pursuant to which Apple agreed to "participate in a project with the Learning Research Group at PARC/Xerox for the purpose of implementing the Smalltalk-80 language and system on a hardware system to be developed by [Apple]." Shortly thereafter, Apple began developing its "Lisa" computer for use with Smalltalk. "

I don't recall Apple taking credit for the GUI (of course I could be wrong but I never remember reading that).
I was in a rush :) To be more detailed...

The reason Xerox sued Apple was because Apple was suing others to get royalties for GUI based systems. Basically, Apple claimed that the Mac GUI came from the Lisa. Xerox's belief was that if anyone should get royalties for such inventions, it should be them, since Apple had derived the Lisa's from Xerox's.

"On March 17, 1988, Apple sued Microsoft Corporation and Hewlett-Packard Company in this court for copyright infringement of, among other works, Lisa and Macintosh Finder and for unfair competition. In that suit, Apple asserted that Lisa and Macintosh Finder substantially consist of material wholly original to Apple. - Xerox 1990"
 
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smoledman

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The reason Xerox sued Apple was because Apple was suing others to get royalties for GUI based systems. Basically, Apple claimed that the Mac GUI came from the Lisa. Xerox's belief was that if anyone should get royalties for such inventions, it should be them, since Apple had derived the Lisa's from Xerox's.

"On March 17, 1988, Apple sued Microsoft Corporation and Hewlett-Packard Company in this court for copyright infringement of, among other works, Lisa and Macintosh Finder and for unfair competition. In that suit, Apple asserted that Lisa and Macintosh Finder substantially consist of material wholly original to Apple. - Xerox 1990"
Xerox was just being a patent troll. Now if they were actively trying to advance GUI-based PC at the time of the lawsuit, then I would say it was legitimate. I think patent law should be reformed such that patent-squatting is not allowed. If you sue then you should demonstrate real, ongoing R&D operations.
 
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snberk103

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Xerox was just being a patent troll. Now if they were actively trying to advance GUI-based PC at the time of the lawsuit, then I would say it was legitimate. I think patent law should be reformed such that patent-squatting is not allowed. If you sue then you should demonstrate real, ongoing R&D operations.
Read the previous post again... it seems to say that Xerox sued Apple for royalties, only after Apple started suing MS and the others. In other words, Xerox didn't seem to mind if other people were using PARCs ideas, as long as the others weren't trying to collect money on PARC's IP.
 
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smoledman

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Read the previous post again... it seems to say that Xerox sued Apple for royalties, only after Apple started suing MS and the others. In other words, Xerox didn't seem to mind if other people were using PARCs ideas, as long as the others weren't trying to collect money on PARC's IP.
What's the point of using ideas if not to make a crapload of money?
 
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kdarling

macrumors P6
Xerox was just being a patent troll.
Hardly. The case was about copyrights, not patents.

Software patents were only just beginning to appear at the time.

What's the point of using ideas if not to make a crapload of money?
Furthering man's knowledge. Helping others. Changing the course of history for the better. Creating things of beauty.

Adult things.
 
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snberk103

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What's the point of using ideas if not to make a crapload of money?
art?

The Sloan Digital Sky something or another just released their latest (#8 if I understand properly) sky survey. They rigged a camera and a telescope to photograph the night sky automatically. The camera was a 125 megapixel monster. They took 7 million photos, of phenomenal resolution. They've put the whole thing in the public domain so anybody can look and compare and discover cool things in the sky.

That is what is great about science. Sorry you miss the point.
 
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smoledman

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art?

The Sloan Digital Sky something or another just released their latest (#8 if I understand properly) sky survey. They rigged a camera and a telescope to photograph the night sky automatically. The camera was a 125 megapixel monster. They took 7 million photos, of phenomenal resolution. They've put the whole thing in the public domain so anybody can look and compare and discover cool things in the sky.

That is what is great about science. Sorry you miss the point.
That's nice, but not a consumer industry game changer. No EBITA.
 
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roadbloc

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Aug 24, 2009
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Xerox was just being a patent troll. Now if they were actively trying to advance GUI-based PC at the time of the lawsuit, then I would say it was legitimate. I think patent law should be reformed such that patent-squatting is not allowed. If you sue then you should demonstrate real, ongoing R&D operations.
Right... so its okay for Apple to sue but Xerox not to? Even though Xerox invented the GUI and Apple didn't, you think its Xerox being the patent copyright troll?

You do realise that Xerox had plans for the GUI. What, I'm not entirely sure, and why they were so slow and reluctant with it I also have no idea. But it is mentioned in Jobs's biography.
 
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