Linked by umad on Thu 25th Aug 2011 22:51 UTC
Apple I thought OSNews would be a good forum to talk about a matter that has been weighing on my mind lately primarily because the site has been so focused on Apple's patents and litigation as of late. The news that HP, the largest PC manufacturer in the world is spinning off or getting out of this business is what really prompted me to write this article.
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RE[4]: Wait a minute...
by Dr.Mabuse on Sun 28th Aug 2011 01:01 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Wait a minute..."
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I meant the innuendo comment as literally as possible, that the original post didn't contain solid facts or assertions, but rather insinuated an alternate version of events with the use of rhetorical questions. I take the "ouch" to mean you thought otherwise.

I asserted that Apple took ideas from Xerox. This is not innuendo by any stretch of the imagination. Aspects of the story you've told so far are still up for debate, see below.

Apple and Microsoft somehow made exactly the same enhancements to PARC's desktop system after taking the same cursory glance at a finished product?

I don't think Windows looked or behaved anything like an Apple product at the time.

I've used them both too...

At the time, Apple hadn't thought of using the patent system to protect its software innovations, and the court threw out their attempts at copyright claims, so exclusivity at least didn't end up being a legal right. It's the access arrangement that was exclusive to Apple: tech tours for stock. What happened after that is history.

Does a tech tour mean exclusive rights? This is what I mean by innuendo. You've implied repeatedly that this deal gives them a certain privileges in the realm of ideas. You also state a court threw out their attempts to assert copyright - does this tell you anything?

It's my understanding that Microsoft had access to some of Apple's GUI code during the development of Office, and I believe they made use of it, but I don't know whether it was ever proven.

So we're speculating now? I thought you had the facts. :-)

My initial assertion still rings true: Any code copied would have to be *really* high level due to architecture differences. I was a 68k assembly coder and I can assure you that any transition of code (tailored to the 68k) to x86 16-bit real mode would be a nightmare. It would be far easier starting from scratch.

There is a great blog by a fella named "Dad Hacker" and he talks about the same trouble Atari had when porting GEM from DEC to the then-new ST. The original GEM was x86 based.

But don't let that stop you from believing it by any means...

I don't follow the reasoning here, or what you mean by "performant." Windows was always the more "open" (a better word would be flexible) platform; it only took off once it was mature, i.e. once it approached Mac usability.

The Mac was slow. The interface was slow. The display was a tiny black & white CRT. Their processors might have been comparable in clock speeds and MIPS, but PCs generally ran rings around Macs. The PC had crappy graphics, but the display was clear in text mode. That's why you bought a PC, it was cheaper and it did the job. That's coming from a former Amiga owner!

For the record, I'm not proposing that Apple would have had the entire PC market as it was if not for Microsoft's disruption; my interest was only in setting the record straight on who innovated and/or stole what, and what a company in Apple's position might be able to do to prevent defeat at the hands of imitators.

That's the damn problem - they didn't innovate in this circumstance, did they? They used existing ideas, like everyone else! I'm fighting the thought-process that this could be considered "innovation."

The original article takes this to another a level and plays the "what if" card and then tries to justify Apple's modern bad behaviour.

"IMHO: Apple make nice products for sure, but the fact is, without them we'd still have modern GUIs, we'd still have tablets, smart phones and we'd still have portable music and video players. They are not are not a beautiful and unique snowflake.

That's speculation, not fact, and I counterspeculate that they would look and work more like CDE, UMPC, Blackberry, and Creative Zen respectively. Apple repeatedly puts the most work into an elegant design that the rest of the industry treats as a free template, originally with the Mac but especially now with iPhone and iPad knockoffs running Android.

It is a fact. An absolute FACT - those technologies exist absolutely independently of Apple. That cross-pollination of ideas exists in the market no one denies. I'm absolutely sure Apple's ideas have influenced others. And equally sure Apple have looked at other technology and said "sure, we'll borrow that" (see this whole thread.)

That they're trying to fight that is no vice, and if they win, it will be a positive precedent for originality, much needed after WebOS's failure. Lazy copying makes the world stand still.

Outrageous! When Apple copy, it's innovation, when others do it then they are lazy. Do you work for Apple? Got Apple shares?

And it damned sure is a VICE when they are trying to manipulate court systems to get their own way at the expense of others (see the recent Samsung experience.)

What do you call it when you work is used against you, leaving you with no legal recourse? I call it shafted.

I think we have entirely different world-views (at least on this matter.) I think Apple has innovated and I think they have lifted ideas. They have made nice products and they continue to make nice products. I think some people are jumping through mental hoops to try and justify Apple's recent litigious behaviour, by viewing history through what I would call a "Apple distortion field." Almost anything good about computer interfaces seems to be attributed to Apple, but I disagree with that. It would be nice if Apple could compete on merit alone and there by recognising their own dependence upon "borrowed-ideas."

Edited 2011-08-28 01:06 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[5]: Wait a minute...
by macachuania on Sun 28th Aug 2011 15:32 in reply to "RE[4]: Wait a minute..."
macachuania Member since:

Does a tech tour mean exclusive rights? This is what I mean by innuendo. You've implied repeatedly that this deal gives them a certain privileges in the realm of ideas. You also state a court threw out their attempts to assert copyright - does this tell you anything?

"Jobs was so struck by the power inherent to the PARC that he offered Xerox the opportunity to invest a million dollars in Apple computer if the company would agree to let him and his Lisa team study Alto. Xerox felt that it had nothing to lose. After all, they couldn't sell it. They did not believe the world was ready for the advanced PARC technologies. Apple was about to go public and Xerox's investment branch, Xerox Development Corporation, sensed an opportunity to turn a quick profit. Xerox invested $1 million in Apple by purchasing 100,000 shares at $10 each. Furthermore, Xerox signed an agreement with Apple to never purchase more than 5 percent of Apple's outstanding shares. Within a year, these shares split into 800,000 worth $17.6 million when Apple went public."


"Apple listed 189 GUI elements; the court decided that 179 of these elements had been licensed to Microsoft in the Windows 1.0 agreement and most of the remaining 10 elements were not copyrightable—either they were unoriginal to Apple, or they were the only possible way of expressing a particular idea."


Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[6]: Wait a minute...
by Dr.Mabuse on Sun 28th Aug 2011 23:22 in reply to "RE[5]: Wait a minute..."
Dr.Mabuse Member since:

Thank you for the informative reply, that answers my question.

I hope we're done with this topic now! :-)

Reply Parent Score: 1