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Letters-General Questions Answered  

 

 

Comment from E-mail:
Microsoft has once again demonstrated that it feels no loyalty or responsibility to anyone but itself. Microsoft lost $79 billion in valuation on Monday. But to such a monolith this sum is a mere drop in the bucket, a temporary sting. This company is so large and so arrogant that there is nothing to keep it at the bargaining table with government anti-trust lawyers.

By walking away, Microsoft forced the government to play the bad guy and hand down a punative ruling. In the end, Microsoft is hurt, but not as much as the companies with no culpability in the matter whose stock valuation has gone through the floor. I'd call these companies innocent bystanders who were on the receiving end of the market slaughter.

Granted, experts would argue that the market, particularly NASDAQ, was due for a correction. On the other hand, if Microsoft had stayed at the bargaining table and worked out a settlement, perhaps the carnage would have been less severe. But Microsoft has gotten used to throwing its weight around with competitors and the judiciary alike. If regulators had prevented Microsoft from becoming the 900 pound gorilla in the first place, Microsoft's predatory and dominating practices might have been curtailed earlier.
Kim Upham

Woz:
Internet Explorer (and eventually what it is worth) should be awarded to Netscape (AOL) and Windows should be placed in the public domain, i.e. taken away from Microsoft as a tool with which to exert their monopoly power. Both remedies fit the case well and resolve it's major issues. A promise to behave better in the future is not enough. Microsoft should take the responsibility for it's illegal behavior.

Comment from E-mail:
I have heard that Mac OS X is going to have NeXt technology despite the Mac OS name. Do you think NeXt will become popular again, and replace the Mac OS technology in future versions of the Mac OS?
Woz:
Pretty much, Apple's woes left a valuable trademark and some dead end technology. It was a good opportunity for the NeXT technology to buy a company with a good and recognizable image, Apple, and get paid in doing so. The current technology directions are a blend but predominantly from NeXT. Hey, Apple had a lot of bad direction for a long time. That's possible with poor upper leadership, beginning with the BOD, when you're profitable enough to deny the fact that you should have been much more profitable and successful. It's easier to take such shots from not having been a part of it. The situation may have much more of two sides. All great companies have their major problems on occasion. Look how close Chrysler came to going under.

Comment from E-mail:
Would you think of Microsoft as a copy-cat (you can certainly remember that lawsuit against Microsoft)? Why?
Woz:
Microsoft had their style of machine and Apple had theirs. But Microsoft chose to go after the Apple style by moving in on it and negotiating rights to it with critical 'fine print' passages. Up until then, Microsoft users had steadfastly held out against Apple's GUI as being 'candy' and not productive. They all changed their tunes as Microsoft came closer and closer to what Apple had. It showed that these users weren't thinking for themselves as much as they were being bigoted and holding out for their own way, their own selection, which was Microsoft. They never did loudly proclaim that they were wrong or dumb not to see the light sooner. Hey, that's how it goes in life. The victors can always cover their blunders.

Comment from E-mail:
Regarding David Pogue's article on Macworld (January 2000): do you think Apple can retain that stainless steel window interface, with no Favourites drawer, no volume knob on QuickTime now that people are complaining (http://www.iarchitects.com/qt.htm)?
Woz:
I can't comment on an article that I don't remember. I know that a lot of people bitterly complain about the QuickTime Player, but I actually liked it all along. My usage was general and minimal compared to those with complaints. For example, I don't have enough time to browse much and I don't need many favorites.

Comment from E-mail:
What do you think of Johnathan Ive (the hot new British chief designer of Apple)?
Woz:
I don't think that there's much controversy here and I don't think that more comments are needed. I've never heard anyone really complain.

Comment from E-mail:
Apple's software technology seems to be more and more non-intuitive. Would you blame Ive or Jobs on it?
Woz:
I have problems with such things myself, but then I think that it's non-intuitive how to open many products to change a battery, or just how to set a clock. The best clues are subtle human clues, like finger ridges, instead of obnoxious wording and grotesque button designs. I like my living spaces when they are clean and uncluttered. I organize my computer desktop the same way. So I don't mind having attractive products with fewer, and less noticeable, cables. I also don't mind having attractive software controls, even if there has to be a few memorized secrets to operating them. I think that we are all in-between having simplicity and complexity, but in computers complexity has won out for too long. Windows that give the impression "my functionality is more important than human ideas of beauty" don't please me.

Comment from E-mail:
What part of Apple does Jobs play? He designs the specifications? The hardware, perhaps? Or does he sign documents and prepare Macworld Expos all day?
Woz:
I'm sorry, but I can't give you any specifics. I'd say that the direction of the company is strongly under his own control and it's good. That includes products, profitability, look and feel, and much more.


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