How Apple’s Macintosh was born

“The story, as the public understands it, is that Steve Jobs made the Macintosh. That is the truth, in the general sense. Only Jobs, who has a talent in inspiring (and humiliating) others, could have put together in the late 1970s the roster of talent for the first Macintosh. He knew that Apple Computer’s Apple II line wasn’t going to get the company to the next level (although sales were still strong) and that the ill-fated Lisa units were exactly that,” Ed Lin writes for Forbes. “No other computer line apart from the Mac is so closely identified with a single person.”

“Yet the original Mac engineering and programming team gets only scant recognition. That all changes with the publication of Andy Hertzfeld’s Revolution in the Valley: The Insanely Great Story of How the Mac Was Made ($24.95, O’Reilly, 2004), the tech equivalent of Standing in the Shadows of Motown,” Lin writes. “The advantage to having these stories collected into a bound volume is that it counters the histories already published about Apple. As well-written as some of those are, none have the close and personal feel of Hertzfeld’s book… What the original Mac team accomplished in their time frame is an amazing engineering feat. They didn’t merely brush greatness–they booted it up.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Rob “Microsoft wrote the first Mac OS” Endlere ought to get a copy, so he can brush up on his facts in between dodging falling iMac G5’s during earthquakes.

Related MacDailyNews articles:
Tech pundit Enderle: ‘Microsoft wrote the first Mac OS’ – September 28, 2005
Tech Pundit Enderle: ‘This year will be more difficult for Apple Computer’ and iMacs in earthquakes – January 24, 2005

23 Comments

  1. re: “How Apple’s Macintosh was born”

    And this is one very good example of a time when you DON’T want to cut the cord! Don’t do it. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” /> (no need to spank it to get it to breathe either)

  2. Regarding “Related MacDailyNews articles”:

    pun·dit

    1. A source of opinion; a critic: a political pundit.
    2. A learned person.
    3. Used as a title of respect for a learned man
    in India.

    “Pundit” implies learnedness, accomplishment and repectability. I fail to see how this term applies to Rob Enderle. Why do you keep validating him by referring to him as a “tech pundit?” We all know he’s a complete idiot.

    Why don’t you call a spade a spade and refer to him as “Self-impressed, clueless windbag Rob Enderle?”

  3. I bought this book in January and had Andy sign it (it was released at Macworld)

    It’s a great book from a great site (my wife and I had also spent a rainy weekend once in 2004 reading all of the folklore.org articles… we’re both geeks you see.)

    The review at Forbes is excellent, despite it being a bit err, late (what’s up with that?)

    However, the most interesting aspect to me now is what’s NOT in the book. I mean, here we are, we’re celebrating the Macintosh, not the Lisa. Would the Lisa have been as praised, written about, or even loved as much had it succeeded? Would we be reading “lisadailynews.com” if they’d been successful?? I honestly doubt it.

    Andy’s book reveals why – it was a labor of love for these people, and that usually shows in one’s work if you’re talented. Even now, some 20 years later it still shows, and this is as much a credit to Steve as it is the original engineers for imparting that love onto successive generations of Mac designers. Actually, maybe it’s lust…

  4. History and mess up of apple.

    From what i can remember, good old SJ actually previewed his creations to Bill gates and crew before he was about to release it.. and thus he lost the battle even before it began. I believe thats why apple is so secretive today.. because SJ is once bitten twice shy. Well needless to say, Steve is worrying about not repeating history..

    So microsoft did not write the first OS but SJ gladly gave it to them. so much for “friends” hes paying for it till today.

    poor mac heads

  5. Just go to folklore.org where there are a lot of the stories that made it into the book are.

    Here’s some good ones involving Bill Gates:

    http://www.folklore.org/StoryView.py?project=Macintosh&story=Shut_Up.txt&sortOrder=Sort by Date&detail=medium&search=bill gates

    “You could tell that Bill Gates was not a very good listener – he couldn’t bear to have anyone explain how something worked to him – he had to leap ahead instead and guess about how he thought it would work.”

    http://www.folklore.org/StoryView.py?project=Macintosh&story=Donkey.txt&sortOrder=Sort by Date&detail=medium&search=bill gates

    “MS-DOS seemed like a clone of an earlier system, CP/M, and even the demo programs lacked flair. It came with some games written in BASIC that were especially embarrassing.

    The most embarrassing game was a lo-res graphics driving game called “Donkey”. The player was supposed to be driving a car down a slowly scrolling, poorly rendered “road”, and could hit the space bar to toggle the jerky motion. Every once in a while, a brown blob would fill the screen, which was supposed to be a donkey manifesting in the middle of the road. If you didn’t hit the space bar in time, you would crash into the donkey and lose the game….we were surprised to see that the comments at the top of the game proudly proclaimed the authors: Bill Gates and Neil Konzen.”

    http://www.folklore.org/StoryView.py?project=Macintosh&story=MacBasic.txt&sortOrder=Sort by Date&detail=medium&search=bill gates

    “Apple’s original deal with Microsoft for licensing Applesoft Basic had a term of eight years, and it was due to expire in September 1985. Apple still depended on the Apple II for the lion’s share of its revenues, and it would be difficult to replace Microsoft Basic without fragmenting the software base. Bill Gates had Apple in a tight squeeze, and, in an early display of his ruthless business acumen, he exploited it to the hilt. He knew that Donn’s Basic was way ahead of Microsoft’s, so, as a condition for agreeing to renew Applesoft, he demanded that Apple abandon MacBasic, buying it from Apple for the price of $1, and then burying it. He also used the renewal of Applesoft, which would be obsolete in just a year or two as the Mac displaced the Apple II, to get a perpetual license to the Macintosh user interface, in what probably was the single worst deal in Apple’s history, executed by John Sculley in November 1985.”

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