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Letters-General Questions Answered  

 


Comment from E-mail:
You've always been my hero. I have a blue box and my first Apple I computer-its been a battle to keep my wife from tossing them out, battle now over they're in the trash! I met you at an Apple sales conference during my 10 very hard years there, I know you don't remember but you autographed my SoFar book. Although I was laid off three times I had a place in my heart for Apple-until today when I read your interview and comments on Microsoft.

I've worked for non-Apple related companies for the past few years I am totally in love with Windows 2000 and would NEVER touch a Mac again. A smart man like you should never be caught saying such stupid things as you did regarding the Microsoft/DOJ thing. Any company in a capitalist society is rewarded for their success and should be able to innovate and bundle and TOTALLY leverage their success with future products. I owned a siding company and we started building drip edge and starter strip to gain the profits others were reaping. Because this is America we GAVE the starterstip away and forced our competition out of business. Capitalism at its best! Any company is free to give things away as they see fit and I applaud Microsoft for giving away the browser and ushering in the n-tier world of software development. If organizations were forced to pay for a stupid browser companies would still be doing client server rather than web applications.

As for the Mac the only innovation I see coming out of Apple is colored plastic.

If stupid ass Sculley had not been so dumb and forged ahead with Mac OS for Intel boxes (Star Wars) rather than raping their loyal customers (73% margin at the time), there would no debate on Microsoft. Microsoft is WAY cooler than Apple.

Sorry to say that I am removing you from my hero list and burning my So Far which you autographed! C-ya
[Webmaster's note: this person wrote back later, see their other letter too,]

Woz:
You express some valid opinions. But if you want to trash your Apple I, send it to me. I need one.

What you are saying is that there can be no anti-trust law, but experience tells us that there are such laws.

Are you saying that Apple would be larger than they are if they had gone ahead with Star Wars (which I never saw)? Or if they had a lower margin? I can see Macintosh loyalty by long time users just since we become very loyal to whatever programs we are used to, but in most of Sculley's time the users were new, choosing the more expensive Macintosh over a PC as a first computer. Even the Apple ][ had high margins, selling for quite a bit more than the PET or TRS-80. I don't mind when people tell me that they liked their PET.

Certainly I could be way off about Microsoft. I will still treat you with respect and listen to what you say and perhaps we will meet in better days. I'm sure that many agree with you.

By the way, I don't want to be anybody's hero except my family's.

Comment from E-mail:
Just a curious note: what do you prefer: Hardware or software?

Woz:
I was basically a hardware guy. But with microprocessors a lot of the hardware was becoming software. Plus, a lot of the things that hardware used to do could be taken over by software, or implemented in a totally new way with software to do things like set registers or time things.. The best, smallest hardware resulted from good 'low level' machine language software. So I used my software abilities in order to enhance my hardware, always trying to optimize things with the same mental steps that I used for hardware. I could write higher levels of software too, like apps, but that wasn't my primary software accomplishment.

Comment from E-mail:
I'm hoping you might have five minutes for a brief interview in the next day. We're putting together a special issue, which will be on newsstands for two months later this winter, on careers in medicine, law, business, journalism and entertainment. I'm calling people who have achieved a great deal of success in their fields and asking them to describe for our readers their very first jobs out of school and what they remember about the experience. I looked up a little biographical information on you, and it looked like you may have started work at Apple just after college. But did you ever work anywhere else in any other field? Or in a book store or in a coffee shop? Anything colorful like that would be great. If you'd prefer, a brief, lively statement by e-mail would suffice. Or you can pick up the phone and call me directly at __. I'd be happy to take notes and it would be super to include you. Thanks, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Woz:
My first job was as a dishwasher in a girl's dorm at the University of Colorado, Boulder. They didn't dress up much for breakfast on Sundays. The messy trays would come 2 stories up a tray elevator to us. We'd wash them and send them down the elevator. I one time stuck a tray back into the elevator too soon, under the transport fingers instead of over them, and the entire tray full of plates and other things toppled 2 stories down. I calculate that if they'd have charged me for it all I'd have been negative for the semester. Anyway, I earned enough money to pay $35 to a lawyer when the school was threatening to expel me for computer abuse (abuse of computer time) for running too many programs of my own.

My first non-student job was for Tenet Inc. in Sunnyvale. During my second year of college I went looking for a place that might have had a Data General Nova minicomputer that I could look at. This is the computer I'd told my dad I was going to buy someday. My friend, Allen Baum, and I walked into the wrong door and saw a larger computer being constructed and in a display room. We were impressed and asked for applications and we were both hired as programmers. I stayed on working for most of a year. I got to see some incredible computer hardware and software but economic times were bad and the company folded. I'd taken a year off of college and now had enough money to go to Berkeley the following year.

 


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