Re: Computer Market Share

Subject: Re: Computer Market Share
From: Chuck Melikian <chuckm -at- TEKADM1 -dot- CSE -dot- TEK -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 17 Apr 1995 11:44:06 PDT

>While I do not condone some of the market practices of MS any more than
>anyone else, I do feel that it is only fair to point out that many of the
>features we like on the Apple were originally developed for Apple by
>MS--including the friendly interface--or so the research I did for one of
>my classes last year indicated.

The source of the research was utterly mistaken. The Mac interface was
derived from the Xerox Star. I'm not pointing this out to bash Microsoft,
but to give credit to the folks that really developed the primary concepts
behind the Mac interface (and it was *not* Microsoft). In about 1982, Steve
Jobs and several other Apple employess went on a tour of the Xerox Palo Alto
Research Center (PARC). While there, they saw the Star (and I think Bravo).
The things that got them excited were the bit-mapped display, windows,
menus, and the use of a mouse. They went back to Apple and started developing
the Mac.

There was an editorial that appeared in MacWorld a while after the Mac came
out which addressed the then common thought that Apple stole their design
from Xerox. The author, whose name I forget, was one of the engineers on the
Mac. He was also an alumnus of PARC. The author pointed out that while Apple
had taken the basic concepts of the Star interface and developed the Mac
interface, there were many improvements made by Apple. For example, he
pointed out that the Star did not have overlapping windows. Only the Mac
had overlapping windows. The Star did not have the elevator scroll boxes
that the Mac does, it used a different method to scroll windows. The
author also pointed out that several employees of PARC quit and went to
Apple because they felt that the work they were doing on interfaces would
be made available to the public by Apple, whereas it would probably never
make it to a mainstream product if they stayed at Xerox.

>One of the major reasons for the legal
>battle over Windows is the fact that Apple had a contract with MS to
>prevent them from duplicating code they had developed for Apple. Apple
>felt that the Windows interface came too close to the same code.

This is not correct. In October 1984, Bill Gates announced Windows. This
was about three months before the Mac was introduced (January 1984).
Microsoft was brought in prior to the release of the Mac to develop software
for it. Apple wanted to have several packages of software available
when the Mac was announced. Lotus and Software Publishing were also brought
in. Whatever Bill G. is, he isn't stupid. He liked what he saw in the Mac
and he was determined to do the same thing for the IBM PC world (it was a
sure bet that Apple wouldn't do it). But, to make sure Apple didn't sue his
pants off for copying the Mac, Bill talked (some say bullied) Apple into
a license agreement that let Microsoft use some of the elements of the Mac
interface in an new interface for PCs (Windows). The big lawsuit that Apple
filed against Microsoft for "look and feel" infringement claims that
Microsoft exceeded the limits of the license they were granted. Obviously,
Microsoft disagreed. And ulitmately, the court felt that the license Apple
granted to Microsoft had not been exceeded and that elements of the
display could not be copyrighted (which is what Apple was asking for).
Microsoft never developed code for the Mac operating system.

Chuck Melikian

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