Jacob E. Goldman, founder of Xerox PARC, dead at 90

“Jacob E. Goldman, a physicist who as Xerox’s chief scientist founded the company’s vaunted Palo Alto Research Center, which invented the modern personal computer, died on Tuesday in Westport, Conn.,” John Markoff reports for The New York Times. “He was 90. The cause was congestive heart failure, his son Melvin said.”

“Established in 1970 in an industrial park next to Stanford, PARC researchers designed a remarkable array of computer technologies, including the Alto personal computer, the Ethernet office network, laser printing and the graphical user interface,” Markoff reports. “The technologies would later be commercialized by both Apple Computer and Microsoft, among others, and Xerox would be criticized for not capitalizing enough on the technologies it had pioneered — for ‘fumbling the future.'”

MacDailyNews Take: Apple paid. Microsoft stole from Apple. And, they continue to steal today, just walk into any Microsoft retail store and you’ll see. Your mere presence will also shock the staff; “A customer! Wait, what?! What do we do now?”

“Years later, Dr. Goldman explained Xerox’s failure to enter the personal computing market early on as part of a large corporations’ unwillingness to take risks,” Markoff reports. “‘A big company will not make the investment to bring out a new product unless they see it makes a big difference,’ he said in a 1988 interview in The New Haven Advocate. ‘“Look at the personal computer industry today. It’s a multibillion-dollar industry today. And we at Xerox could have had that industry to ourselves.'”

MacDailyNews Take: Crucial advancements that Apple made over what Xerox call into question the validity of that last sentence. It’s not at all sure that Xerox could have had the PC industry to themselves. (Never mind having thieves like Bill Gates lurking about.)

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Boy, the computer industry certainly has lost more than its fair share of visionaries this year.

R.I.P., Mr. Goldman.


  1. If you have read Steve Job’s Bio, you will notice that the word “XEROX” shows in every chapter. Computer industry and more even Apple was very closely related to xerox.
    Now, open the “stocks” app in you iPhones, and watch out for the related news on both companies (AAPL and XRX) and notice how different and important are the related news for each company.
    Sadly to see that the biggest accomplishment of the las decade of xerox is having a women as a CEO and buying other companies while apple keeps innovating and changing the world. RIP Mr Jacob Goldman.

  2. Inventor and visionary are two different mindsets… It takes both for advancements to take place… It is rare when they both reside in the same package… Mr Goldman can be proud of his part in the revolution… As Steve could be proud of his… The dollars generated by each endeavor should not even be a footnote in the history of this amazing technological revolution.

  3. Actually MS took their ideas from everyone, not just Apple.

    MS bought a Xerox Star and hired people from PARC. They also used their inside access to the mac to make their GUI. MS’s first versions of Windows looked far more like the Alto while the Lisa looked more like the Star.

    The Xerox Star provided Apple with the crucial components of what we know as the desktop GUI. The idea for using icons and a full “desktop” metaphor in the Lisa came directly from the Star as was noted by Wayne Rosing, Bruce Daniels and Larry Tesler in a 1988 Byte Magazine interview.

    Its also been claimed that none of Xerox’s GUIs had overlapping windows. It has been documented in multiple places that the Star was capable of overlapping windows, you can even do a search online and find screenshots of the Star overlapping windows. There was debate within PARC if users would find overlapping windows ‘confusing’ so its likely that this feature was disabled in various builds of the software.

    Amazing research and computers would be vastly different (and likely inferior) today if not for this group of brilliant minds.

    RIP Mr. Goldman – your team put a dent in the universe too!

    1. Dude, MDN comment is still true.

      How do you explain MS copying the look and feel of OS-X?
      Trying to copy the iPod?
      The Apple Store?
      and everything else?

      Though Apple didn’t have a legal foot to stand on the case you are referring to from 1994, it was evident that Microsoft wasn’t stealing from anyone other than Apple and competing in the same market. Apple’s GUI ideas was inspired by STAR but Xerox and Apple had agreements and Xerox pretty much allowed Apple to see and use their technology without conditions. Did Microsoft make ANY effort to visit Xerox like Steve Jobs did? Hmmm? No?

      Apple built their own mouse and they built their own GUI though inspired by XEROX but they made it their own and took the risk to mass market these.

      If it weren’t for Apple, these inventions would be left locked up in someone’s cellar. Like today’s iPhone and iPad examples, Apple didn’t event these, they made their own version from scratch and paid to use other’s IP and though companies like Google and Samsung are claiming to be creating their own, they are shamelessly copying Apple just like Microsoft did back in the day.

      1. Apple lost the case, M$ won… There was no theft, “technically”. MDN and you fail.

        Apple’s not filing suit on the apple store copy, ipod copy, anything else copy are they?

        You have no ground to debate on.

        1. “There was no theft, ‘technically.'”

          You are absolutely right! Apple sued and Microsoft prevailed, so MS didn’t steal anything from Apple.

          But that interpretation also implies that if I break into your home, get caught by police, then released because of a technicality, then I didn’t steal from you, either … even if you saw me commit the crime. I mean technical non-crime.

          When Apple/Mac supporters say that MS stole the Mac GUI, they’re approaching the issue as you would after I play my ‘get out of jail free’ card and you’re left with to deal with the consequences of having your home looted.

          And — this is just a guess — I doubt that you would offer a hearty thumbs-up to a neighbor who suggested that, in fact, no robbery technically occurred.

  4. Mr Goldman, indeed! How quickly we forget: he’s not even given an article in WikiP. But Dr Jack Goldman was one of the heaviest hitters in American commercial scientific research who founded the famous Ford Dearborn labs before being recruited by Xerox to found their PARC labs, who realised the IT concept, who recruited another physicist Dr George Pake .. who it was went on to lay the foundation for what Steve Jobs saw as the basis for personal computing. And the rest is down to the vision, good-taste (aka aesthetic), enterprise and brilliance of Mr jobs, and that’s why we’re here..

  5. Well, things just keep getting worse as the year comes go a close.

    But like Steve said: death removes the old and makes way for the new. Well that’s not excactly how he worded it but it brings up the point.

    Anyways, like the other uh, 3 I think? R.I.P. We would not have gotten to where we are without you.

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