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Letters-General Questions Answered  

 


Q 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.

Q From e-mail:
Just a note to say thanks for all you have done for Apple. Your contributions go a lot farther than you think. I grew up in a very inappropriate atmosphere... exposed to drugs and violence at a young age. My family life was the pits and I ended up on my own at the age of 15. I think one of the things that helped me keep my head on straight was the Apple computer. My elementary school principal was the first person in our town to own a computer (Apple II) and he had it in his office. One day, during a counseling session (family problems) he noticed I had an extreme interest in it and offered to let me use it for an hour a day. Little did I know that over the next few years my addiction to computers would make me see the world more clearly... make me realize I wanted more from life. Today I'm a photographer for the U.S. Air Force and use high end Macs at work all the time. I am currently working on my degree in computer science and hope to get it within a couple years. I'm happily married with four beautiful daughters that have no worries other than being children... just the way it should be. Apple is now a part of my children's lives as they use our iMac at home.

I know you are well known for your contributions as an engineer... but your contributions to Apple changed my life.

WOZ:
I never imagined how many extremely touching emails like this one would arrive. There should be a book of all these stories where computers basically saved people's lives and gave them direction and purpose. I'm glad that someone with your values has some children to share computers with. We feature famous people in our ads but we should be featuring people like yourself instead.

The fact that your children have an iMac at home to use lends credibility to your comment about Apple changing your life.

Q 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.

Q From e-mail:
How is your relationship with Steve Jobs? Are you folks still friends? I remember back in 1992 when I saw my first NeXT Station and NeXT Cube made by the NeXT Computer company whom Steve Jobs started after his departure from Apple. I was in college then and NeXT sent a rep to our annual computer fair at the Unviersity of Florida campus. I immediately fell in love with the sleek lines on this new machine but of course I could never afford it. Since that time I have admired Steve Jobs both for the incredible NeXT Station and the NeXTSTEP OS. However, his personality as depicted in the movie was very disturbing. Was he looking for ways to motivate his employees or was it just a power trip he was on? You may abstain from answering this question if you feel it is to sticky an issue.

WOZ:
I admired taking bold steps like not having a floppy or hard disk, but it's only worthwhile when it works out. The first NeXT Cube had too many problems.

The depiction of Steve's personality in the movie is quite accurate and I suppose that Steve is happy with it. Although Steve almost always acted and spoke as though he was more right than anyone else, he only sometimes engaged in the activities portrayed, such as berating employees. I've heard from enough employees to know about these outbursts although I fortunately never witnessed one. Steve would probably tell you that these were artists who had to be treated that way to get the great art out of them, that anything just adequate wasn't what they were capable of. Also, others that aren't performing like great artists aren't worth keeping in Steve's eye. It's a very debatable issue, but I won't debate it with Steve. We're different here.

Q From e-mail:
Who is "Al Luckow"?

WOZ:
He's a fine person who is a friend of another friend that often hangs out at my casual office (with T1's and other facilities) who one day offered to redo my web site, which badly needed redoing, just because he was nice and liked the sorts of things I do. He is spending as much time as I am. Every email I send, he analyzes for web possibilities.
I'm sure to offend some people since I give no notice [as far as what to post].

Q From e-mail:
I want to thank you for your contributions and for the US Fest. I would do just about aything to get the complete footage from the show BTW!! ; ) I also still have my Apple IIe that my dad got for me. I have every slot filled except for slot 3! I did tons of BASIC on that!

WOZ:
Serious Apple Computer!

Q 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.

Q From e-mail:
In the comments I just read that you didn't work on the Macintosh. Why did my school's first Mac have your Woz signature on it? Just wondering.

WOZ:
After college and putting on some large rock concerts, I returned to Apple. John Sculley was just arriving and right away took resources off the losing Apple /// computer and revived the Apple ][. I was part of an engineering team trying to design a new and faster Apple ][. That project, the Apple ][x, got cancelled. By then, I was consumed with speeches and interviews and the like and couldn't design so I had my salary reduced below the real engineers. They soon thereafter went to the drawing boards again and came up with the workable approach of the Apple ][ GS, with a correct and plausable way of doing the graphics in particular.

The Apple ][GS team recognized me as a symbol of and some of the inspiration for this project. I was asked to supply a signature for a limited edition model. I gave a signature, figuring it was for 100 or 200 computers. But one day I was told that they made 50,000 of these. I was quite blown away.

Q From e-mail:
Hello Mr. Wozniak-It is a pleasure to be able to address the person who had such a profound impact on the personal computer revolution. By your accomplishments, you have indirectly shaped millions of lives, whether as a consumer or computer professional.I just recently found your website and have been a loyal Mac user for quite some time. Not that these facts entitle me to ask you a question, but here goes anyway. Steve Jobs is back at the interim healm of Apple. What are your impressions of Steve and Apple today? Has he mellowed with age? Is the iMac his brainchild? Apple lovers are thrilled to experience the renewed energy that is coming from Cupertino. Any thoughts or comnments from you would be welcome.Thanks again,David AlbersLaguna Niguel, CA

WOZ:
Apple has always been 'the place to be' whether we're doing fine or in deep waters. Steve brought a lot of newness back to Apple. I wouldn't say that it changes Apple's position per se, but it inspires Apple loyalists to remain so and keep up the passionate side. It also gives the company a lot of needed credibility in the eyes of the financial community.

Q 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.

Q From e-mail:
What are your views on the importance of computer games in the role of a platforms sucess? Do you still play computer and console games? If so, what are some of your favorites?

WOZ:
Not much due to lack of time. My kids beat me at almost anything. I am extremely good at Tetris on the Gameboy and had my name listed in Nintendo Power magazine a few times in the early days for my top scores. After they wouldn't print my name any more I submitted an entry with my names spelled backwards, Evets Kainzow, and they printed it! When I saw the issue, I'd forgotten that I'd sent it in and was worried that someone was challenging my own level! My current high score is 702,000 and my goal is 750,000. I gave GameBoys to Gorbeshev and Bush when they were in office. A week or so later Bush had heart problems. On TV he was shown playing the Game Boy in the hospital.

I also roll the score over (1,000,000 points) on the Williams "Defender" arcade game, which I have in my home.

I play solitaire on my PowerBook and once won 33 games in a row, standard settings. The trick is to only play the ones that deal a very good setup and to back up as much as possible to find a win if it doesn't come easily.

I like reading the Bridge column in the paper, and our paper carries a ScrabbleGram word game. I play this almost every day and wrote programs to solve it and I put it on the web (Scrabblegram.com) for a while a couple of years ago.

I don't mind gambling. Video Poker slot machines are my favorite. But I'm watching my 14 year old daughter for luck. She was in Las Vegas with me (and my class of 11 year olds, who were attending a "Mac Academy" in Ceasar's Palace and played Keno for the first time. She won $1600 on a $1 ticket. This was at age 9. Her second time was at age 12. I told her not to expect to win when she plays Keno. But, during breakfast, when I looked up she'd won $7500. I wish I'd copied her numbers.

Q From e-mail:
I read in your comments that you were giving away your early designs. This seems to fit with the current popularity of the "open source" movement, and I wonder if you feel that the recent opening of the OSX Darwin kernel is a step in the right direction for Apple. Many people develop free software for free operating systems. Do you? If so, does the new Apple initiative inspire you to code for OSX?

WOZ:
That's a very astute observation. I gave away schematics of the Apple I at the Homebrew Computer Club. I also demoed enhancements to the Apple ][ every 2 weeks at the club. It was the opposite of normal corporate secrecy.

I don't have time to develop now but I appreciate the people who do so in the open source movement. It's been a long time since that was halfway normal. It makes me hopeful because young talented people have a chance to do more than stand by and watch and be paid a salary.

Q From e-mail:
Thank you for your time, and I hope that the recent increase in fame does not make life too crazy.

WOZ:
Unbelievably crazy. I'm trying to read and answer each email.



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