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Apple

Steve Wozniak "Steve Jobs Played No Role In My Designs For the Apple I & II" 440

mikejuk writes: In a recent interview with very lucky 14-year old Sarina Khemchandani for her website, ReachAStudent, Steve Wozniak was more than precise about the role of Steve Jobs. "Steve Jobs played no role at all in any of my designs of the Apple I and Apple II computer and printer interfaces and serial interfaces and floppy disks and stuff that I made to enhance the computers. He did not know technology. He'd never designed anything as a hardware engineer, and he didn't know software. He wanted to be important, and the important people are always the business people. So that's what he wanted to do. The Apple II computer, by the way, was the only successful product Apple had for its first 10 years, and it was all done, for my own reasons for myself, before Steve Jobs even knew it existed." He also says a lot of interesting things in the three ten minute videos about life, electronics and education.
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Steve Wozniak "Steve Jobs Played No Role In My Designs For the Apple I & II"

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  • oops (Score:5, Funny)

    by greenfruitsalad ( 2008354 ) on Monday September 07, 2015 @04:16PM (#50473591)

    i hear hissing sounds from the apple camp.

    • Common Knowledge (Score:5, Interesting)

      by sycodon ( 149926 ) on Monday September 07, 2015 @04:24PM (#50473643)

      As someone who programmed and used an Apple II and III and original owner of a Fat Mac...this is all common knowledge. Essentially Steve saw what Woz had and said, "hey, we should sell this."

      • by perpenso ( 1613749 ) on Monday September 07, 2015 @10:37PM (#50475809)

        As someone who programmed and used an Apple II and III and original owner of a Fat Mac...this is all common knowledge. Essentially Steve saw what Woz had and said, "hey, we should sell this."

        Apple ][ dev here as well. My recollection from those days was that Woz was the engineer and Jobs was the salesman. From Mac days onward Jobs was the salesman and the designer in the look-and-feel sense, not in any technical sense.

        While sales and look-at-feel are certainly important, when at a '83 trade show as a developer and returning to our booth and telling my buddies I just talked to "Steve" for a few minutes over at the Apple booth, they were excited. Then I confessed it was Jobs not Woz and the mood shifted to, eh, ok.

        We certainly recognized that Jobs was essential to Apple's success, its just that we were engineers and the business/sales side held little interest for us. Again, post-Mac, our appraisal of Jobs improved due to his look-and-feel design work.

    • Re:oops (Score:5, Insightful)

      by GrahamCox ( 741991 ) on Monday September 07, 2015 @08:21PM (#50475121) Homepage
      Not at all. He's quite right. Jobs was important, but simply wasn't the technology guy. It's got to the point where you ask young people (10 year-olds, say) today who Steve Jobs was, you'll quite often hear laughable stuff such as "the inventor of the computer".

      Without Jobs, Woz's designs would have been brilliant one-offs. Without Woz, Jobs would not have had anything to make a company from. So both were needed to create Apple. As Jobs said, "Great Artists Ship".
      • by Dahamma ( 304068 )

        Without Jobs, Woz's designs would have been brilliant one-offs

        Not true at ALL. Most people don't know it, but the Macintosh almost destroyed Apple. Woz wanted to go along the Apple III/Lisa route (since he understood Apple's market in the 80's much better than Jobs, honestly), but Jobs (who was basically kicked out of the Lisa project) pushed the Mac and "won" (to Apple's detriment). Eventually (after Steve left) they fixed the Mac and made it a reasonably successful product - but he had almost nothing to do with that.

        After Jobs rejoined Apple (with a lot more wisd

        • He was a perfect visionary back then. But nothing more.

          The Mac was over-priced and under-powered because you need roughly 512 KB- 1 MB of RAM to have a useful GUI on a powerful machine. And you could not do that in a reasonable price range in 1984.

          He came back a) knowing how the finance end of the business operates, and b) understanding that sometimes you don;t release extremely cool tech until you get the price way down.

        • Re:oops (Score:4, Informative)

          by SomeoneFromBelgium ( 3420851 ) on Tuesday September 08, 2015 @06:55AM (#50477175)

          I remember it a little differently. I thought the Lisa project was no success and that macintoch was the product that got apple out of the garage to the second largest PC maker for the next decade, until windows 95 arrived.

        • *Ahem*, the future was the Mac not the Lisa. The Lisa was ridiculously expensive. What was the problem at that time - if you believe the movies - is that Jobs had a conflict style of managing; pitting the different product groups against each other. That approach was not productive and was tearing the company apart.
  • Good for him. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 07, 2015 @04:19PM (#50473607)

    I'm sure we already all knew it, but it is good to hear it come from him for once.

  • Steve (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tsolias ( 2813011 ) on Monday September 07, 2015 @04:21PM (#50473617)
    I think that's obvious. As a developer you have my respect and my sympathy for crossing paths with such assholes like Jobs.
    • Pippen to Jordan, no shame in that, but that's all it was...

      be thankful or spiteful for your pitiful hundred million net worth.

      Totally up to you, lad...

    • Re:Steve (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Monday September 07, 2015 @08:48PM (#50475275) Journal

      Devils advocate.

      How was the Apple II better or superior to the Commodore, TRS 80, Sinclaire Pet, or whatever the hell was out during the 1980's? Jobs provided much success so people could use the Apple II and bring in the revenue.

      I am a fan of Steve Jobs for marketing and his CEO abilities. If it were not for Steve Jobs the Mac would not still be here. Actually Apple finally killed the floppy drive and gave us USB. The original iMacs were so popular it finally got the peripheral makers on board which benefited the PC.

      Steve also saved us somewhat from a more evil MS. When the iPhone came out WindowsCE finally died! Remember you could only buy something from the carrier store like $4 for a crappy .mid syntthasized ringtone etc? Windows improved and pricing became better for those stuck on the PC side. Google helped too with making Windows 10 and VS community edition free.

      Yeah I would probably admit I would not want to work directly for him. I am a PC user in the camp of not hating Apple but acknowledge his move to perfection did help move the PC and mobile industry over and people love his products whether you do or not.

      Long term it was healthy for computing ecosystem. Even Intel today is making each new i5/i7 use less and less power which really started from Jobs perfection in the days of the Ipad which Intel wants in. How is this a bad thing?

      • Re:Steve (Score:5, Informative)

        by grouchomarxist ( 127479 ) on Monday September 07, 2015 @09:56PM (#50475627)

        The Apple ][ originally competed with the Commodore PET (and a number of other early personal computers). The Apple ][ had color and good sound support, while Commodore didn't have that until the Commodore 64, which was released in 1982. (The Apple ][ was released in 1977.) The Apple ][ also had a good, fast, inexpensive and reliable floppy drive while Commodore released a number of slow and expensive floppy drives.

      • by T.E.D. ( 34228 )

        How was the Apple II better or superior to the Commodore, TRS 80, Sinclaire Pet, or whatever the hell was out during the 1980's?

        Those are some very different machines. As someone who was *really* into Microcomputers in the 80's...

        The TRS-80 was black-and-white, and its graphics were....kinda cruddy. The Z-80 that ran it was kind of weak too, but that didn't matter so much because of the previously mentioned issues. Much worse machine than an Apple II, but they were cheap and you could buy one at any Radio Shack.

        The C64 (and the Atari 800 it was apeing) were later machines than the Apple II. They used the same 6502 that the Apple I

  • by turkeydance ( 1266624 ) on Monday September 07, 2015 @04:21PM (#50473619)
    but with fruit
  • It takes two... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pharmboy ( 216950 ) on Monday September 07, 2015 @04:25PM (#50473651) Journal

    The best product is meaningless if you don't have someone like Jobs shoving it down people's throats to get them to buy. Same with Woz, if you don't have something really cool to sell, then no one would have listened to Steve for very long. Two sides of the same coin. I'm not an Apple or Jobs fan, but obviously Steve did a lot of things right for a long time.

    I doubt Woz was very good at sales. I doubt Steve was very good at building computers. No product "sells itself", and anyone who really believes that is an idiot.

    • Re:It takes two... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by c4757p ( 4213341 ) on Monday September 07, 2015 @04:37PM (#50473763)
      Plenty of computer manufacturers manage to sell product without you ever hearing the names of any of their marketing workers. Apple's janitors were also essential to their success as a company, but unless we start giving everyone praise, it's not fair to give any to someone like Jobs. It's the engineers who made the product, everyone else was auxiliary.
      • Plenty of computer manufacturers manage to sell product without you ever hearing the names of any of their marketing workers. Apple's janitors were also essential to their success as a company, but unless we start giving everyone praise, it's not fair to give any to someone like Jobs. It's the engineers who made the product, everyone else was auxiliary.

        The question isn't who played an essential role because pretty much everyone in the company played an essential role, but if you re-role the hiring dice and end up with another janitor they probably would have been just as successful. In most companies this holds true for most of the marketing and engineering staff, they've great at their jobs but they're far from the only people who could be great at their jobs.

        As for Apple I think Jobs and Wozniak were both exceptional. Replace Jobs and the Apple I might

      • So how are Dell, HP, Gateway,Lenovo or the other major PC manufacturers doing these days? How are the major cell phone manufacturers doing these days?

    • Re:It takes two... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 07, 2015 @04:37PM (#50473765)

      Given the cult of personality around Jobs, it stands to reason that his actual contributions need to be put into perspective. Nobody is denying that he was a savvy businessman, or at least a savvy product marketer. Some people want to believe he was a messiah of sorts, others a pariah. But the actual workers who made Job's vision a reality tend to be completely overlooked in this fight, and it's high time their contributions were given their due share (and not just by nerds who already respect them).

      • Re:It takes two... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Povel Vieregg ( 4155409 ) on Monday September 07, 2015 @06:27PM (#50474453)
        It is a difficult subject to deal with. Because on the one hand you got those people who worship CEOs and think they deserve their fat bonuses and salaries. They tell anybody who complains, that CEOs deserve it because they work harder than you etc. Yet people like Steve Jobs would be nowhere without people like Woz. On the other hand there is another equally cynical group of people who claim Steve Jobs made no contributions and was just leeching of the work of others. That is an equally wrong perspective. You can even read Woz's own accounts that Steve was influential even for the early Apple computers. He was the one who pushed them to start a business. He was the one who pushed for professional looking chassis. He pushed for silent power supply etc. With the Mac it is even more clear how he influenced its development. While he didn't sit there and do the nitty bitty details. He provided lots of feedback all through development steering it in the direction of his vision. His feedback was usually far more detailed than what a regular CEO would give. The other strength of Steve Jobs which should not be belittled was that he had a talent for spotting talent and trusting it. Lots of great people like Jonathan Ive were never really allowed to make great things until they worked under Steve Jobs. They would get their smart ideas shot down by narrow minded leadership. Steve Jobs would get out of the way and let them do their Job. Even though I think Steve Jobs contributions should be acknowledge as well as the contributions of those who worked for him, that doesn't necessarily mean I think he was a good person. He was an asshole. I would never aspire to treat people the way he did. Of course he wasn't an asshole all the time to everybody. He was quite selective about it.
    • Re:It takes two... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Nemyst ( 1383049 ) on Monday September 07, 2015 @04:40PM (#50473801) Homepage
      Of course, but if you listen to the narrative being peddled by a lot of people (including prominent media and websites), you'd think Jobs was nothing short of a one-man company genius, able to do tech design, aesthetic design, management, logistics, sales and marketing all by himself. The Steve Wozniaks and Jonathan Ives of this world tend to be quickly forgotten when attempting to create the new messiah, which Jobs entirely embraced, and fuck the ones who helped him. As with most large success stories, it involves a talented team and lots of luck rather than a single person magically doing everything perfectly.

      It doesn't help that Jobs leveraged people like Woz, who's very candid and even humble, while being a total arrogant prick himself, even as the media try to portray him as an aspirational model.
      • by Uberbah ( 647458 )

        Of course, but if you listen to the narrative being peddled by a lot of people (including prominent media and websites), you'd think Jobs was nothing short of a one-man company genius, able to do tech design, aesthetic design, management, logistics, sales and marketing all by himself.

        No. That's the straw man being attacked by those huffing the Hatorade bong. Jobs never claimed to have been a tech inventor, sorry.

      • Fully agree.

        The aspirational model is part and parcel of the Jobs myth. I am an Apple person I guess but that guy was a dick in many ways. The success he achieved is due to his ability to captivate users and consumers alike with notions of technological grandiosity. Often the peoe behind him could deliver on these whack ads promises. With the likes of people like Woz behind you, how could you fail?

        When the guy at the top is ousted and no one has any goddamn clue what people want before they know they want

      • becuase they're geeks and (understandably, self-servingly) want to point how how central and important geeks are to, say, computing and technology hardware and software development, design, and production.

        But it is one of the rarest geniuses on earth to be able to conduct a group of people to produce to their maximum potential, to be able to somehow lead talent to actually produce what the talent is capable of as a group and to do things that everyone else wants to do, but everyone else also falls short of

    • You forget the job of asshole with a vision. It's important sometimes to have a leader that has a vision there to push and make decisions. It may even help in this case if Jobs wasn't tech savvy. He represented the non tech people. He wanted his stuff to work. When you let techies build things you get Linux which is great. But I'm not installing it for my 70 year old mother. Meanwhile she can pick up an iPhone and with little help be off and running. I never need to go over and clean 71 toolbars out of Saf

      • Re:It takes two... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by techno-vampire ( 666512 ) on Monday September 07, 2015 @05:05PM (#50473955) Homepage
        When you let techies build things you get Linux which is great. But I'm not installing it for my 70 year old mother.

        My older sister was in her late 60s and not at all tech savvy when she first encountered Linux. It only took her five minutes with a live version of Ubuntu to decide that it was what she wanted. I helped her install it, dual boot with Windows, and with access to her Windows partition so that she could get at much-needed files. It's been years since she's needed to boot Windows, and after the first few weeks of getting used to Linux, her tech-support questions to me dropped to less than 5% of what they were under Windows and have stayed that way ever since. (Most of her questions I can solve in just a few minutes and the rest go to the Ubuntu forum.) You don't need to be a computer geek or a Unix guru to run Linux; you just need to select a distro that's designed for average people, such as Ubuntu.
      • When you let techies build things you get Linux which is great.

        I used to believe this too, but then look what happened when someone let a bunch of techies made a desktop environment, and they came up with Gnome 3.

        Some techies working without some asshole non-technical manager come up with great stuff like the Linux kernel, DD-WRT, PostgreSQL, etc. But sometimes they come up with shit.

        But I'm not installing it for my 70 year old mother.

        Try installing Linux Mint for her and see if she has any problems with

      • Re:It takes two... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Dutch Gun ( 899105 ) on Monday September 07, 2015 @05:39PM (#50474161)

        Sometimes people forget that Linux has their own "asshole with a vision" as well. In fact, I'd say Linux actually had two. Both of those individuals had a very strong presence (along with contentious personalities) and helped to shape Linux into what it is today during it's formative years, and not only from a technological standpoint.

      • Meanwhile she can pick up an iPhone and with little help be off and running.

        As long as she's holding it right and only wants to do the things that AAPL allows.

    • This is so true. I'm really good at a few things and pretty bad at a lot of things. In 20 years, I've developed two pretty impressive products, products that were a generation ahead of all competitors. I sure wish I had someone like Steve Jobs turning my good products into great companies!

      I barely made a living from my products because I suck at marketing and I'm not very good at running a company. I sure wish I had someone with marketing and business talent to turn my products, like Clonebox, into highl

  • Thank you. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cafe Alpha ( 891670 ) on Monday September 07, 2015 @04:39PM (#50473787) Journal

    I am so sick of the cult of authority worship.
    It's part of the worship of the wealthy.
    It's part of the denigration of work, as the executives go around saying that engineers are and should be interchangable, we're fry cooks, and working us to death is slightly more efficient than allowing us lives. And so we should all be worked to death.

    • I am so sick of the cult of authority worship.

      Me too.

      ALL GLORY TO THE WOZ!

    • Re:Thank you. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Monday September 07, 2015 @06:19PM (#50474403) Journal

      It's part of the denigration of work, as the executives go around saying that engineers are and should be interchangable, we're fry cooks, and working us to death is slightly more efficient than allowing us lives. And so we should all be worked to death.

      This a very worthy topic of conversation on Labor Day. I don't know if you're in the US, but "denigration of work" is what's been for dinner for at least the past 35 years.

      It's worth quoting Abraham Lincoln here (yes, this is a real Lincoln quote):

      http://www.brainyquote.com/quo... [brainyquote.com]

      "Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration." Lincoln's First Annual Message to Congress, December 3, 1861.

  • by Cafe Alpha ( 891670 ) on Monday September 07, 2015 @04:42PM (#50473815) Journal

    because of the media's worship of Jobs. What's he anyways? An executive? The man famous for bullshit? "Reality distortion field"

    For bad decisions like making the first macs impossible to expand?
    For bad decisions like not making products where you can change a battery that's lost half it's capacity in six months?
    Don't you feel a bit cheated?

    • by jklovanc ( 1603149 ) on Monday September 07, 2015 @04:52PM (#50473869)

      Those "bad" decision make sense if you think of it in the context of planned obsolescence. Jobs wanted you to keep buying new toys as he made more money that way. Jobs had one objective in life; make money for Steve Jobs. He was an excellent flimflam man and many people fell for his "reality distortion field".

      • I never got the reality distortion field bit. Even people that prefer windows or FOSS usually at least give Jobs a "brilliant salesman" title. His keynotes were good but that was mainly IMO because the products generally were somewhat interesting (it helps they only release a few of them, a couple times a year and they always go upmarket so they are generally novel, or at least close to cutting edge). Other than that I kind of tuned him out, like I do when an MS exec flogs their latest stuff: while they spe

      • So Jobs role was to judge that Apple had enough of a monopoly on design to make more money by screwing the customer and throwing away the downscale/rational part of the market.

        Make products that deliberately wear out, make products that can not keep pace and must be replaced. That was his contribution.

        No one can prove that Apple wouldn't have been just as successful or more successful if it didn't try to screw its consumers that way.

        But I must admit that by screwing the proles they gave themselves some ca

  • Who ever thought that Jobs was ever involved technically in in low levels of early Apple design, especially in things like the AppleII hardware? I sure didn't. I don't see why that needed clarifying...

    If anything, the only open question would be is if Jobs had any role in the case design of the Apple I or II, though they weren't so fabulous that credit would really matter...

    I've always thought credit for the original Apple systems was fairly placed between Woz doing amazing hardware work and Jobs drumming

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 07, 2015 @04:58PM (#50473913)

    Mr. Wozniak, like most real doers got wrongfully overshadowed by a BIG TALKING BLOWHARD BULLSHITTER named Steve Jobs.

    * I do NOT like "speaking ill of the dead" but it's only FACT... my fellow polish descended U.S. Citizen got screwed for a big mouth bullshit artist - a fucking LEECH who hung onto Mr. Wozniak's coattails since he lacked what it REALLY took (technical know-how) since ANY damn fool can do P.R. work!

    APK

    P.S.=> It's always that way - & it ALWAYS makes me laugh when I see things like "The 'great inventor' Steve Jobs" who invented ZERO getting headlines like that... apk

  • by Uberbah ( 647458 ) on Monday September 07, 2015 @05:04PM (#50473947)

    Quote is addressing a wee bit of a straw man. Still, it's a good drop of blood in the water for the Jobs haters to turn out.

    Which was no doubt the idea behind posting it in the first place.

  • ..to those who understand technology companies

    This might be a surprise to members of the general public who assume everybody in a tech company is an engineer

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 07, 2015 @05:33PM (#50474119)

    This is hardly news for anyone, but reminded me of an anecdote from when both Steves were in their early twenties that summarizes the dynamic between them nicely:

    When Steve Jobs worked at Atari, the company was working on creating the arcade game Breakout, which required 80 Integrated Circuits (ICs). The less ICs there were, the cheaper the games would be to produce, so Nolan Bushnell (Atari's president) offered $100 for every IC that could be knocked out of the design. Jobs brought Woz the challenge, and over four days and nights at Atari they put together a design that only required 30 ICs. Bushnell gave Jobs his $5000 bonus, which Jobs "split" with Wozniak by telling him it was a $700 bonus, giving him "half," or $350.

    They were both exceptional. Woz an exceptional engineer, Jobs an exceptional sleazebag.

  • by brantondaveperson ( 1023687 ) on Monday September 07, 2015 @05:34PM (#50474127) Homepage

    Steve Jobs played no role at all in any of my designs of the Apple I and Apple II computer and printer interfaces and serial interfaces and floppy disks and stuff that I made to enhance the computers.

    No doubt true. But if were not for Steve Jobs, we wouldn't be having this conversation, Woz probably wouldn't be uncountably rich, and no-one would have heard of the Apple I and Apple II (they probably wouldn't have even been called that).

    Why do tech people consistently dismiss the contribution of people who actually market what they make?

    • What the other guy does is always easy. That is why as an engineer you get a long list of huge change requests without anyone wanting to nail down a #1 item because "all should be pretty straight forward so should make it into next months release". Or sales guys who's talent is flapping their mouths get no credit by engineers who can barely mumble their way through small talk and often not even that in the common language. Or the guy that dumps his life savings into the company and "picks the winner" big de

      • I think we can agree that all people make valuable contributions. What is fair to criticize though is that the leverage people have with respect to getting a piece of the pie often isn't related to their importance in running the business. People close to the money always get much higher financial reward than those closer to the development of the product. Lots of great scientists have made awesome scientific breakthroughs that we all benefit enormously from every day without ever getting much of any financ
  • Back in the day his name was pronounced "J-oh-bzzz". But that's neither here nor there. Was he a techie? Not really But what he should be credited with is his marketing prowess. He was a marketing genius. Very few could even come close to his brilliance in that respect.

  • by FranTaylor ( 164577 ) on Monday September 07, 2015 @08:05PM (#50475025)

    The vacuum of consumer demand for computers was created and Steve Jobs was in the right place at the right time.

    He's no more special than any other lottery winner.

    • I remember the computer wars of the mid 80's through 90's (Amiga, Windows, Atari, Mac) and couldn't believe the bumbling of so many people and companies. It was hard to be too critical of the winners, especially when you were rooting for the other guy who had better technology while all they kept doing is screwing themselves at eve possible decision. Seriously, OS/2 losing to win3.0? It was hard to believe that some companies wanted to win.

      With so many losers it has to take some kind of genius, however tri

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