Q & A WITH BOB CRINGELY: CONTINUED

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I heard a rumor that Microsoft may ditch Win95 and create a totaly different OS for PCs. Is this true? If so what is Microsoft planning to do?
Michael Alan Wilber
Skowhegan, ME

Win95 will definitely evolve and there is a good chance that it will have a completely different code base by Win97, if that's what you mean. They'll pretend, though, that it's the same.


In the PBS miniseries Triumph of the Nerds Steven Jobs discussed how he got idea for the Apple Macintosh GUI from Xerox. How did Steven Jobs know of the existence of the GUI at Xerox in the first place? How was he able to convince Xerox to show the GUI to him and his team?
Bradford M. Watkins
Fort Thomas, KY

Xerox had a small venture capital investment in Apple. A Xerox VC set up the meeting and pushed-through the deal. His name is forgotten (at least by me) but the guy sure had his priorities wrong! Not for talking to Apple, but for not demanding royalties!


The show was excellent. Wasn't it true that Gary Kildall was flying his plane when the IBM exec's visited him?
Alex Denner
New Haven, CT

As we said in the show, Gary knew they were coming and told them to meet with Dorothy.


Enjoyed your documentary last night. I have a question however during the early eighties a company called Berkey Softworks developed a package called Geos which worked the the low end computers such as Commodore 64. It would be interesting to know about the processors developed by Motorola 68030 series and how Motorola was able to implement that processor for Macintosh and the Amiga computers.
Thank you again for a great show.

You're welcome.


Why has no company successfully reverse engineered the Mac and then developed a successful product to compete with Apple?

Apple has a GREAT legal department, that's why.

How is it that the Franklin computer was removed from the marketplace, and if it was due to copyright infringement then why couldn't IBM be protected in the same way as Apple?

Apple has a GREAT legal department, that's why. And IBM had to work under a 1956 consent decree that gave it less freedom than Apple.

I presume it is all a mattter of the contents of the BIOSes, which could legally be reverse engineered.

Ultimately I am grappling with the question of why the IBM compatible market is based on open architecture, yet Macintosh is not.

Apple has a GREAT legal department, that's why.

Thank you
Roger Cossaboom
Placentia, CA


If there is a follow-up, I would like the issue of the impact of technology on education. With little public funding, there is a great deal of money being spent by former teachers who are not hackers, techees, nerds - we just want the tools for an education our kids deserve. Where does that leadership come from? What research is being done we prove we are on the right track?
Jenkins, Ky

That's a policy show, not a history. You make it.


Where do other players fit in PC history? I haven't been convinced that software producers such as Wordperfect and early PC makers Radio Shack, Atari, Commodore, and the makers of the Sinclair (none of which used MS-DOS) did not contribute to the evolution of the modern PC.
Will Findlay
Provo, UT

You are absolutely right, but they didn't fit in three hours. What would you have had me cut to make room? We'll just have to do another series.


Is Steve Jobs now at Pixar? What is his position? Does he appear to be doing well in that business?

He is the chairman, majority stockholder, and the company is doing very well.

Enjoyed your program, though I felt that you gave Apple somewhat short shrift at the end (ie no mention of its cross-platform Power Mac series, etc).

What would you have had me cut from the show to make room for the Power Mac?

Trudy Festinger
N.Y., N.Y.


After all that wonderful stuff you said about Mac, and that nasty stuff you said about Bill Gates, I was just wondering what kind of computer you used.
Jonathan Wise
St. Thomas, Ontario

PS: Macintosh forever!

Right now in my office I have seven, count 'em, seven computers of all types.


Congratulations for the program. Who owns international rights for the show? Does you or the owner plan to sell the show abroad? If the answer is yes and you need help I could help you transalting the press release. There are a few stations that, in my opinion, would be interested.
Regards.
Giovanni Erba
Toronto, On.

The show has already been sold in 22 countries. It's well represented, thanks.


Fantastic documentary! I did a report in college on the history of Apple and I wish this had been on back then. Anyway:
1) What was it like to be employee #12 at Apple? What did you do there and how long were you there?

I was a flunky for a few months. Nobody knew the company was headed for greatness. I made $6 per hour.

2) Why were the last 3 years of Apple's history completely omitted from the story? Apple made a highly successful transition to the PowerPC RISC architecture in 1994 and is now only behind UNIX as the dominant Internet server. And I would really have liked to hear your insights into the new head nerd of Apple, Dr. Gil Amelio, and the future of the company, especially the possible savior of the company, Copland, also known as Mac OS 8.

Some of what you mentioned happened after we finished shooting. As for the rest, what would you have had me cut from the show to make room for it?

3) Finally, what about Apple's recent licensing of the Mac OS to produce Mac clones?

What about it?

Thanks for the great documentary.
Steven Strell
Albany, NY
PSINet Customer Support


Isn't the failure of the Mac, which traded technical control for built in functionality, another "Triumph of the Nerds?" Sealing off the internal workings from the next generation of technowienies seems in retrospect like an approach doomed from the start. There are people who think the sun rises and sets on Macintosh machines, but the vast majority seem to be users. Sure, the Intel/Microsoft solutions often crashed and burned, and depended on arcane commands and complex interactions. From a nerd pint of view, where's the downside in that? At least when you built something, it was your product. Even if it didn't suit Job's taste.

Peter McElhinney
Richmond, Virginia

You've got me really confused. Do you think there's no third-party Mac hardware market? Who makes all those video cards, disk drives, accelerators, network cards, etc., etc.?


I only caught the last hour, but, man, what an hour! You really are the best reason to read Infoworld though Petreley is getting better. Bob Lewis is kicks, too.

A while back you took some time off to do a book. When can we expect to see it on the shelves. I read Empires once every two months just to remind myself that the movers and shakers in this industry are just big kids like myself.

I hope you win some awards for this tv show you did!
Bill Engels
Watertown SD

Thanks, Bill. I no longer write for InfoWorld. Bit Players will be out in 1997.


I saw the show. It was great. I'm the Manager of Systems Support for Information Systems Department of the SLUCare Division of St. Louis University. We are in the process of getting ready to revamp our entire computing environment. I expect to give a presentation to the branch managers on what we are going to do and why. I want to incorporate a few of the video clips from the show into my presentation. Where can I get them? In particular, the clip that shows the Microsoft Place sign in front of Microsoft Corporate HQ and the video clip of the Apple computer commercial where the female athlete throws the hammer into the display of the IBM CEO with a room full of shaved heads looking on. Can you provide me with those video clips, sans audio?
Don Woeltje
St. Louis, MO

No, Don, I can't. Those clips are copyrighted and that lady with the hammer gets paid everytime the 1984 commercial is shown. What you ask is not within my power.


Bob -- Please indulge me - I really enjoyed the show last night. I have 3 questions...
1) Could you please summarize Cringley's 3 laws of the computer industry?

There are three:

Cringely's First Law of Personal Computing: people who actually rely on computers in their work won't tolerate being more than one hardware generation behind the leading edge. So everyone who can afford to buys a new computer when their present computer is three years old.

Cringely's Second Law: in computers, ease of use with equivalent performance varies with the square root of the cost of development. This means that to design a computer that's ten times easier to use than the Apple II, as the Lisa was intended to be, would cost 100 times as much money. Since it cost around $500,000 to develop the Apple II, Cringely's Second Law says the cost of building the Lisa should have been around $50 million. It was.

Cringely's Third Law: to succeed, a PC architecture must have an application which alone justifies buying the whole box -- a killer app.

2) At the very end of the show, you mentioned the other person that I have always thought was partly responsible for the rise/fall of Apple - Steve Wosniak (sp?). What was the relationship between Wosniak and the success/failure of the Mac and between Jobs?

Woz pretty much left Apple in 1983 after an airplane crash. His only involvement in the Mac was as a threat: Steve kept threatening that he'd bring Woz back to design the Mac.

3) Again, at the end of the show, I was more than a little confused. You said that Jobs' latest venture was the partnership with Speilberg. What about the Next system?

Paul Allen's latest venture is Dreamworks SKG (That's the Spielberg connection). I said that Jobs was made a billionarie by his ownership of Pixar (Toy Story). I see NeXT as inconsequential.

Thanx Bob, and keep up the good journalism...
Keith F. Kibler
Coatesville, PA


Bob- Thanks for a very informative and entertaining program! My questions (as a devoted Mac-o-phile):
1) The program mentioned Apple as a "fading competitor" (I believe those were the words). Realizing the production schedules of the show, what do you think Apple's future to be with Dr. Amelio?

I've answered this above.

2)What of the enormous impact and benefit to the education world (not to mention computer art, animation, etc.) Apple has had and will continue to have?

What of it? Yes, Apple was very successful in higher ed and that was good.

As a member of the higher education community that firmly believes in the Mac and its value in education and creative endeavors, your thoughts would be welcome here. Again, thanks for a fine piece of work. I plan to read your book!
Douglas Gordon
Weaverville, NC


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