Apple

Inaccurate ending of "Pirates"

in
Comment from E-mail

I was not terribly happy with the very inaccurate ending of "Pirates." If I remember correctly, Microsoft helped Apple in order to not be sued by Apple for infringing on Apple's patents. Microsoft agreed to work on Office for the Mac and they also agreed to buy non-voting stock (which could be converted) in order to keep Apple from suing them... What is your spin!

Woz

You see what many miss, exactly. Plus, the stock is essentially from the shareholders, paid for with dilution, and is worth as much as it costs, on the average. So Microsoft lost nothing, Apple gained $125M, and it's shareholders lost $125M. But that loss was really a necessary and proper investment which was recovered (by the shareholders) once it helped the company become more healthy.

Apple saved my life

in
Question from E-mail

Just a note to say thanks for all you have done for Apple. Your contributions go a lot farther than you think. I grew up in a very inappropriate atmosphere... exposed to drugs and violence at a young age. My family life was the pits and I ended up on my own at the age of 15. I think one of the things that helped me keep my head on straight was the Apple computer. My elementary school principal was the first person in our town to own a computer (Apple II) and he had it in his office. One day, during a counseling session (family problems) he noticed I had an extreme interest in it and offered to let me use it for an hour a day. Little did I know that over the next few years my addiction to computers would make me see the world more clearly... make me realize I wanted more from life. Today I'm a photographer for the U.S. Air Force and use high end Macs at work all the time. I am currently working on my degree in computer science and hope to get it within a couple years. I'm happily married with four beautiful daughters that have no worries other than being children... just the way it should be. Apple is now a part of my children's lives as they use our iMac at home.

I know you are well known for your contributions as an engineer... but your contributions to Apple changed my life.

Woz

I never imagined how many extremely touching emails like this one would arrive. There should be a book of all these stories where computers basically saved people's lives and gave them direction and purpose. I'm glad that someone with your values has some children to share computers with. We feature famous people in our ads but we should be featuring people like yourself instead.

The fact that your children have an iMac at home to use lends credibility to your comment about Apple changing your life.

Apple and Microsoft

in
Question from E-mail

My question is what did Jobs and Apple get from letting Microsoft buy into them!? Was it just money when they needed it or something else!?

Woz

Steve wanted success for the Mac and that meant software and apps. Microsoft had to have a computer in order to write some. He may have not let Microsoft see much out of fear of a crash.

Would you ever go back to Apple?

in
Question from E-mail

My questions are these: (1) why did Jobs leave Apple? (2) will Apple be able to go after the home computer market with the iMac and regain its dominance as the personal computer maker it should be? (3) would you ever go back to Apple?

Woz

Quite a few people in the company saw Steve's management style as bad for Apple and not in line with how they ran companies. Steve tried to wrench the company on a different path, and schemed to try and have our CEO, John Sculley, removed. John caught wind of it and things wound up with Steve having the freedom to start a project of his own but not to manage the Macintosh or other Apple products at that time. It was like a strong demotion. Steve took it very hard and personal. Instead of trying to do something positive within Apple, he left to try and outdo Apple on his own. It left a feeling among most Apple people of disloyalty to Apple.

My own feeling is that Steve thought he was so great that he would succeed larger than Apple outside of Apple. Also, that he didn't like finding that he was not on top at Apple. He would say that he seemed meant for this great role in life and that it was impossible to do within Apple any longer and that's why he left. There are a lot of credible explanations, but the truth is hard to know for sure.

The iMac has some impressive sales figures, but it hasn't brought Apple out of a dangerously low market share. Something more revolutionary will be needed for that.

I can't see myself going back to Apple. I don't like stress and conflicts and I have a great life even though I'm constantly busy.

Thank you

in
Question from E-mail

I just wanted to write you this letter to say thank you. I'm 23 years old and have used Apple computers for ever, except for a little time with the commodore 64 and 128, and the atari, because they had cool games. Oh yeh I also used a computer called a laser it was a Apple clone of some type I think. I joke with people sometimes about how happy I was when we got our new Mac at my house and it had 2Mb of RAM and a 20 Mb hard drive and I thought what am I going to do with all this space, and know it is all about Gig and more. I design websites and I do editing for local tv commercials and corporate videos, for a company that me and my dad own together (he owns more cause he is my dad). I basically would like to tell you thanks for making the Apple I and the Apple II they were great computers and you will be glad to know I still have a working Apple IIe and have over 20 old Apple and Mac computers in storage basically for posterity and to never forget where i came from so to speak. Now I use a G3 266 for editing and I have a iMac, a 6300, a 6500,a LC 580 and a Powerbook 5300cs still going strong at my office. Wow is that iMac G3 fast compared to my LC 580 and my 6300 but I still love the slow ones, but what's slow really compared to my Mac classic storage now that's slow. I don't know if you will read this whole letter, but if you do thanks for everything you done. 

P.S. I don't know how hard core a Mac user I am but I've only used one microsoft program in my life and that was because I had to in my computer lab in college, but I always go back to the best computers ever made my Apple's. Thank you for your time Matthew.

Woz

I can write a few people back, but not everybody. So far I've managed to read all my email but it gets very tough at times. I have other things that I used to do, like sleep and eat.

On a personal note, you'll go further and be more motivated because of your reason, your bias against Microsoft. A lot of people can't say exactly why they feel this way. Maybe it's just because Microsoft was overly successful selling junk, while Apple would only sell good stuff. Microsoft has learned that you don't have to make something good to sell it.

You are the heartbeat and soul of Apple

in
Comment from E-mail

Contrary to what Steve believes, you are the heartbeat and soul of Apple. With greatest thanks.

Woz

Thank you. It's been said that Apple and Macintosh carry different weights and feelings and associations. I agree with your observation. Although it's not spelled out, you can't always put such feelings into the right words. I'm surprised that people can see that there was a time that we stood for the average person more than for our own company's growth and size and revenues.

It's funny but there are a good number of people in Apple right now that still have these same sorts of feelings, about the soul of the company being important. It's much harder to associate the soul of Microsoft with anyone. It's hard to imagine the soul of Microsoft, right?

 

 

What's in the future?

in
Question from E-mail

You changed the world with your revoutionary ideas about technology...what do you see as the next major techno-revolution?

Woz

In Apple I could predict a year ahead because I could see it in the labs there. But whenever I predicted 2 years out, I was way off. Too many unexpected advances or new approaches showed up. Even what made sense to do changed many times. What's worth doing today, could change tomorrow. All the efforts that solve today's problem might be futile if people don't need those solutions next year, either because the problem is gone or because there's another type of solution. Today's Iridium phones might be an example of this.

What kind of education did you have?

in
Comment from E-mail

When you first began working with the Apple (and I've read that you worked for both HP and Atari) what kind of education in the area of hardware construction and software development did you have (e.g. formal logic, mathematics, etc.)?

Woz

In third grade I was the only boy that could do flash cards as fast as the girls. In 4th and 5th grades I built electronics projects for science fairs. By 6th grade I could build and design many simple electronic circuits and had a ham radio license. I built my Hallicrafters receiver and transmitter as kits. In 6th grade I also built a tic-tac-toe computer out of hundreds of transistors and diodes on a 3' x 4' piece of plywood, using nails for connectors to solder to. I almost finished this computer, based on logic gates. In 8th grade I built a 10 bit parallel adder/subtractor and did very well in the local science fairs. The Air Force gave me their special award for the best electronic project in the Bay Area Science Fair, even though as an 8th grader I was competing with up to 12th graders. 

I constructed house to house intercoms in my neighborhood as a kid and read Popular Electronics, along with Tom Swift. I once won a soldering iron from Popular Electronics Magazine for submitting a joke. Occassionally I could ride my bike all the way to Sunnyvale Electronics and buy enough parts to build some small project, most often for a school prank. 

In high school I got my first minicomputer manual. I know how logic worked and I'd already sketched out many pages of a calculator design. Now I worked out a design for the PDP-8 computer based on my knowledge of logic. I started getting more and more computer manuals to practice my designs. Also I kept up with the latest chip catalogs. Every time I redesigned a minicomputer, I tried to use fewer chips than before. My design skills got better and better and I started getting very tricky on occassion. I would first look for the best chips that did the job at hand, but then would spend many more hours trying to find one chip intended for something else, that would do the job with fewer chips than normal. I found that I could often win at this game. 

It was only a game. I had no friends or relatives or teachers that did this design stuff with me. I had nobody to even show my designs to. I'd be embarrassed if anybody watched me designing them while in classes. It was an advantage for my shyness that nobody knew what I was doing. 

I was a math and science and electronics star in Junior High School and in High School, winning many honors. I was also a good math and science student, achieving many 800's on my college entrance exams. I didn't apply to any prestigious colleges because I visited the University of Colorado in Boulder and saw snow for the first time. That was the only place I'd go after that. 

I kept up my designs in college. I took a year off to pay for my third college year, programming for a local computer company. I took some real computer courses my third year, at Berkeley. I loved these courses so much that I'd sometimes finish the course bookwork in 2 weeks. 

I took off a year to earn money for my fourth college year. I wound up working on calculators at Hewlett Packard as an engineer. As my career progressed, I didn't have a chance to complete my degree. I worked on countless interesting computer projects outside of work. I also ran my dial-a-joke in this time frame. Eventually, we started Apple. 

 

You may have some answers in this long discourse, but mainly it boils down to my having been mostly self taught and not formerly educated in computer areas.

How involved with the Mac you are today?

in
Question from E-mail

I was wondering how involved with the Mac you are today? Are you still an apple employee in any way? Do you use only macs, and if so, what kind(s)? Do you ever talk to Steve Jobs? Have you felt "pushed back" into the spotlight since the movie?

Woz

I'm not formally involved with the Macintosh today, but I represent it informally and unofficially on occasion. I keep up with a lot of Macintosh equipment, first hand, and generally know more about what works and what doesn't and what's available and what's not than people inside of Apple

I talk to Steve Jobs on occassion but not too often.

I do feel 'pushed back' into the spotlight right now. Way too much email. I have to handle and turn down lots of reporters. I like a low profile better, it gives me more time to do what I really want to (which might be as simple as taking a child to school).

Once and Future King

in
Question from E-mail

Like many other posters, I'm glad to see you're sticking to what your heart always desired. In all honesty, though, I'm secretly hoping you are the "Once and Future King" of Apple, and that one day you'll return with something just as revolutionary.

Woz

Believe me, that means nothing. I just want good computers that behave well. Someday we'll have them again.