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Letters-General Questions Answered  


Q From e-mail: They left out so much doing the story in just 2 hours. Heck, they jumped 7-9 years at one point. And the conclusion that Microsoft "owns a piece of Apple" was somewhat misleading.

I also felt they didn't portray the genius I see in what you accomplished and later what people like you, Andy and Jeff Raskin among others accomplished.

There is a story about you showing something to Andy about a floppy drive and his not wanting to see it so he could try to accomplish the same thing. I forgot the details, but that is the type of thing that made that period of time so interesting to me. The spirit of the accomplishment wasn't portrayed in the movie as well as it could have been.

I still have a copy of the "Woz Pak" and 2 copies of the original Apple Red Reference book. I just wish I still had my original Apple //. It was serial # 7940.

WOZ:Very good comments.

I'd like to hear the Andy story. He has more good stories in his memory than anyone.

Some of the time and place portrayals were way off, as you mention. It often made a different sense of things. The Homebrew Computer Club met in 1975 and 1976 mainly at the Stanford Linear Accellerator, not in Berkeley. I usually lugged my large Sears TV down for demos, not a tiny monitor. My mom never wore an apron in her life. I showed the press a computer, with Bill Fernandez, in 1970, not 1975 or so. After demoing it (an article resulted) we did step on a wire and the power supply did burn up or burned up the chips. When Steve and his girl friend and I worked as Alice in Wonderland, we were never allowed to wear the costumes except in the mall, on duty. I could go on and on, but the stories all have good basis for their existence.

Q From e-mail:
I have followed Apple since the Apple ][, even though I never actually owned an original Apple computer I have used them and do have several Macintoshes. Could you explain your involvement with creation/design of the Macintosh computer from an engineering stand-point. I understand the concept (of a GUI) is not directly Apple's, but I'm glad Apple was the first to produce it. Furthermore, what are your feelings on Apple's current products and directions? Are you happy that Steve Job's is back at Apple? How did you feel about recent deal with Microsoft?

Thank you for your time. If it wasn't for you I don't know what I'd be doing now. :)

WOZ: I did participate on the Macintosh team for a short while preceding my airplane crash. I liked the people selected for that group, basically a batch of renegades that didn't think so linearly. I was working at one time on a low cost approach based on a 'bit slice' processor, but the 68000 was so good that it was the way to go. I didn't have much other involvement with the Macintosh design. Even as it was being developed I didn't like parts of the 68000 instruction set that, unlike the IBM 360, allowed direct memory addressing and addressing without adding a 'base address register' that was controllable by the OS. Others didn't see this problem. I doubt that I would have rescued the lack of memory management and protection due to my lack of direct OS experience.

I like the current products. They are understandable and explainable. But I'm worried about a quality problem again, and harm to Apple's reputation because of it, based on many of my own observations. Keep up what you're doing,

Q From e-mail:
Hi! I just watched "The Pirates of Silicon Valley" on TNT, and I have a few questions. I am wondering if the movie exaggerated the personalities of Mr. Jobs and Mr. Gates. Also, I have read that there was a third founder of Apple named Ron Wayne. What was he like? Finally, I heard that you operated a joke service. How popular was this? I am 13 and I am very interested in Apple's history. Thanks for your time! -Steve S.

I'd say that the movie focused on a couple sides of Steve Jobs' and Bill Gates' personalities. These are the sides that most people notice and remember and speak of. So it was very accurate and fair.

Ron Wayne was a third partner for the Apple I 'side' business we started. Steve had 45%, I had 45%, and Ron had 10%. He wrote manuals and could decide things if Steve and I differed. He drew a picture of Newton under an Apple tree that we used on our first tiny manual. He also worked on the manual and wrote our partnership agreement.

When Steve worked out 30 days credit on parts like chips, and we were able to build and deliver Apple I's and get paid in that 30 days, it was the start of things. But Ron was worried that some day we wouldn't get paid and would owe thousands of dollars on the parts. Steve and I had no money and Ron had gold hidden in his mattress (or some such thing) and they'd try to get it from him. So he sold out for $300 or $800 or some such amount.

Q From e-mail:
Since Mr. Jobs was so focused on supplanting IBM PC with his apple widget hardware/software dream machine. Was it ever his or apple senior management focus to gain alliances with other hardware cloners (Japanese, IBM, or other big wigs).

Actually, in the early days Steve Jobs was afraid that IBM would have a computer in 6 months that would wipe us out. I think that he continually thought that others were just behind us and around the corner. It was a lot longer before IBM came on as a player, and a few years more before they caught up with our Apple ][. The Macintosh introduction commercial, with the girl swinging a mallet at a screen to get the drones' attention, was a new message that people should not follow blindly but should pick the best machine that was truly superior.

There was a strong feeling against multiple Mac hardware manufacturers, against cloning. It was largely based on feelings that manufacturers from outside companies would reap the huge profits at our expense. I had my own, silent, reasons against this, but that's another story.

Q From e-mail:
Because that seems to be the way Bill Gates was aiming with microsoft. He formed alliances with major hardware players who were software inadequate in the Personal Computer market. Was windows 1.0, Microsoft's first real attempt to build an OS from the ground up? since they bought dos already built.

The early Windows were just shells around DOS. I don't know about 'ground up' but I'll accept it as long as the ground doesn't mean that Bill Gates and Paul Allen wrote Windows. I wonder who did? Does anybody know their names?

to questions about "Pirates of Silicon Valley"

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