Comment from E-mail

In the comments I just read that you didn't work on the Macintosh. Why did my school's first Mac have your Woz signature on it? Just wondering.

Woz

After college and putting on some large rock concerts, I returned to Apple. John Sculley was just arriving and right away took resources off the losing Apple /// computer and revived the Apple ][. I was part of an engineering team trying to design a new and faster Apple ][. That project, the Apple ][x, got cancelled. By then, I was consumed with speeches and interviews and the like and couldn't design so I had my salary reduced below the real engineers. They soon thereafter went to the drawing boards again and came up with the workable approach of the Apple ][ GS, with a correct and plausable way of doing the graphics in particular.

The Apple ][GS team recognized me as a symbol of and some of the inspiration for this project. I was asked to supply a signature for a limited edition model. I gave a signature, figuring it was for 100 or 200 computers. But one day I was told that they made 50,000 of these. I was quite blown away.

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.

All terms: Apple, Mac, Microsoft, Office, Pirates
Comment from E-mail

I want to thank you for your contributions and for the US Fest. I would do just about aything to get the complete footage from the show BTW!! ; ) I also still have my Apple IIe that my dad got for me. I have every slot filled except for slot 3! I did tons of BASIC on that!

Woz

Serious Apple Computer!

All terms: Apple IIe, BASIC, US Fest
Question from E-mail

Who is "Al Luckow"?

Woz

He's a fine person who is a friend of another friend that often hangs out at my casual office (with T1's and other facilities) who one day offered to redo my web site, which badly needed redoing, just because he was nice and liked the sorts of things I do. He is spending as much time as I am. Every email I send, he analyzes for web possibilities. I'm sure to offend some people since I give no notice [as far as what to post].

All terms: Al Luckow
Question from E-mail

How is your relationship with Steve Jobs? Are you folks still friends? I remember back in 1992 when I saw my first NeXT Station and NeXT Cube made by the NeXT Computer company whom Steve Jobs started after his departure from Apple. I was in college then and NeXT sent a rep to our annual computer fair at the Unviersity of Florida campus. I immediately fell in love with the sleek lines on this new machine but of course I could never afford it. Since that time I have admired Steve Jobs both for the incredible NeXT Station and the NeXTSTEP OS. However, his personality as depicted in the movie was very disturbing. Was he looking for ways to motivate his employees or was it just a power trip he was on? You may abstain from answering this question if you feel it is to sticky an issue.

Woz

I admired taking bold steps like not having a floppy or hard disk, but it's only worthwhile when it works out. The first NeXT Cube had too many problems.

The depiction of Steve's personality in the movie is quite accurate and I suppose that Steve is happy with it. Although Steve almost always acted and spoke as though he was more right than anyone else, he only sometimes engaged in the activities portrayed, such as berating employees. I've heard from enough employees to know about these outbursts although I fortunately never witnessed one. Steve would probably tell you that these were artists who had to be treated that way to get the great art out of them, that anything just adequate wasn't what they were capable of. Also, others that aren't performing like great artists aren't worth keeping in Steve's eye. It's a very debatable issue, but I won't debate it with Steve. We're different here.

Question from E-mail

Some of the more common accusations revolve around the apparent fact that MS borrowed heavily if not stole the Apple/Mac OS and turned it into Windows. What was surprising in the movie was that it appears that Apple obtained the idea of a GUI and mouse from Xerox in what could be described as a similar act of, shall we say, "appropriation". I'm sure the reality is much more complex than that.

Woz

in Apple's major lawsuit against Microsoft for copying their "look and feel" it came out that Apple had licensed this technology to them. Microsoft got a very favorable contract. Apple maintained that they had only licensed it for a version of Windows that was still pretty much just a shell on top of DOS. But Microsoft pointed to the phrase "and derivative works." In my opinion, a real GUI, and even Windows 95, is not a derivative work of these early DOS-Windows hybrids, but a new form of OS, that competes directly with MacOS. But the judge didn't see it that way.

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.

All terms: Apple, Apple II, iMac, Mac
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.

All terms: Apple, Jobs, Microsoft
Question from E-mail

What did you think about Newton Technology? I would like to know that.

Woz

I always thought that computing devices should be smart and do things for us. The Newton has the smarts to read normal handwriting and to figure out handwritten commands like "Sara dentist tomorrow 11 AM". It's also more like a computer in a small package. Maybe PDA's aren't worth enough in people's lives to need a mini-computer. The pocketable Palm Pilot is more a modern Sharp Wizard, but it came at the right time, when everyone who'd want it had a computer. It's big step was easy synchronization. Too bad the Newton didn't have this. The eMate did have easy file transfer over IR.

I loved taking notes for hours on my Newton. I'll miss that the most. It's screen was large enough for this. It will probably be a long time before I have that good a notetaking tool based on handwriting.

There are probably many more things to say. I tried the Newton 3 times througout it's life and it only stuck at the end, with the MessagePad 2100. It was finally good enough in some ways that had bothered me before.

Comment from E-mail

I have an original copy somewhere of something I believe Woz wrote years ago which A.P.P.L.E. distributed very briefly called T.H.E. Spreadsheet, if memory serves, for the Apple ][. It appeared and disappeared quickly from distribution, although it was very fast and a good spreadsheet.

I got the impression this was a rarity. If Woz ever needed my copy (for sentimental or library/museum purposes), I would be honored to give it to him with my compliments.

Woz

That spreadsheet was very special and there is a long story that goes with it, but I can barely keep my eyes open. I have a copy of it and keep it in a special place. After it was given to Call A.P.P.L.E. by Randy Wigginton, going on what he thought was a verbal OK from Steve Jobs, Steve and Mike Scott yanked it right away. They only allowed the few that had been delivered to be sold, and then only with a note enclosed saying that it was being provided courtesy of them. Yet they were actually the ones restricting it's availability!