Re: Computer Market Share

Subject: Re: Computer Market Share
From: Romay Jean Sitze <rositze -at- NMSU -dot- EDU>
Date: Tue, 18 Apr 1995 23:40:38 -0600

On Mon, 17 Apr 1995, Chuck Melikian wrote:

> 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).

Xerox was certainly the inspiration behind both the Mac interface and
Windows. According the Stephen Manes and Paul Andrews in _Gates_,
Charles Simonyi, one of Microsofts top talents for a long time, was
working for Xerox during the development of the Alto and the introduction
of the Star. Apparently convinced that Gates had more vision than the
management of Xerox, he became Microsoft's director of advanced product
development in early '81.

It would be hard to pinpoint exactly how much the MS team contributed to
the Mac during the early developmental phase. The MS programmers claim
joint creative credit for such things as the dialog box, the arrangement
and display of some of the pull down menus, and the way the windows were
qoomed to fill the screen. Gates himself is credited with the file
allocation table (FAT) he and McDonald developed for their Basic (later
adapted for DOS) and commandeered by the Mac people for the Mac. No one
claims that the MS team actually designed the whole thing--but there is
apparently quite a bit of support for the idea that they did have some
input at that point.

BTW, Manes and Andrews' book seems to present a fairly unbiased portrait
of Gates amd Microsoft. Certainly they do not hesitate to show the
negative traits as well as the positive side of the picture.

I found similar information in several other sources, but do not have
ready access to them at the moment.


RoMay Sitze, rositze -at- nmsu -dot- edu
The body of every organization is structured from four kinds of
bones. There are the wishbones, who spend all their time wishing
someone would do the work. Then there are the sawbones, who do
all the talking, but little else. The knucklebones knock every-
thing anybody else tries to do. Fortunately, in every organization
there are also the backbones, who get under the load and do most
of the work. --Leo Aikman, _On Bones_


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