Archive for December, 2011

Woz on the Apple II’s success

December 8th, 2011 10:59 AM
Filed under Mainstream coverage, Steve Wozniak;
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Steve Jobspassing made international headlines. This week, it’s nice to see the rest of the world remembers "the other Steve", Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.

Woz has been making the rounds throughout Eurasia, stopping first in Armenia, where he played some jokes on the hotel staff before going for a spin on the Segway.

Of greater substance is Woz’s interview with New Delhi Television in India. Woz spoke at length about not only Steve Jobs ("I haven’t read [Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs]. I have been so busy in the last two months. I never got around to reading that book… But I have lived a lot of it. So I am sure it is accurate") but also what made the Apple II a success, especially compared to other early Apple products:

Apple II became successful because of various reasons. Steve Jobs had a large part to play in it, and he knew where he wanted to go with it. It was an excellent product. Steve Jobs sought the best things in the world. He knew that I was the best designer, and that Apple II was the best computer, and that’s why he wanted both. We were best friends, though. So that helped. It was excellent because it came from my one mind. I controlled the entire environment of how that computer was built. It worked so well that very few parts did very much. Only because, I wanted a computer for me. And it had to be that beautiful.

But the Apple III failed… is it because there were too many people working on it?

Yes, if the guys at Apple had built the machine that they would love, it would have been successful. It came instead from formulas from Apple executives. Marketing people were in charge and some very bad decisions got made, in my opinion. There were hardware failures. You put out a product that has failures right away, and even if you fix it a year later, it just doesn’t sell. It’s the same thing with any smartphone today. It comes out and it has something horribly wrong about it. You can fix everything wrong about it, and it still won’t sell. It has missed its window of opportunity.

At the same time Woz praises Jobs for his involvement in the Apple II, he criticizes the Apple III for its design by committee. I wonder what the breaking point is between having the right people involved, and having too many people?

Apple founding contract for sale

December 5th, 2011 3:27 PM
Filed under History, Mainstream coverage;
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A bit more than a year after an Apple-1 sold at an Christie’s of London auction for $213,600, another irreplaceable piece of Apple history will be up for bid. Next week, you’ll have the opportunity to bid on the contract that established Apple as a legitimate business entity.

Sotheby’s "Fine Books & Manuscripts" auction (N08811) occurs on Tuesday, December 13, 2011, at 10:00 AM EST in New York and consists of personal and autographed items belonging to the likes of Cole Porter, Joseph Heller, and Giacomo. Lot #241 of 353, listed as being the "property of various owners", has the title "APPLE COMPUTER CONTRACT AND DISSOLUTION OF CONTRACT SIGNED BY JOBS, WOZNIAK AND WAYNE (3 DOCUMENTS)" and is described as follows:

Two typed documents signed by "Stephen G. Wozniak", "steven p. jobs", "Ronald G.. Wayne": Apple Computer Company Partnership Agreement, dated 1April 1976, 3 pages (8 ½ x 11 in; 216 x 279 mm) with small staple holes and crease in upper left corners; With: Amendment dated 12 April 1976, 1 page, with erasure and minor corrections to text; And with: Registrant’s Copy of County of Santa Clara Statement of Withdrawal signed by "Ronald G Wayne," 1 page.

This document founded the company in 1976, but it was invalidated and succeeded a year later when Apple was incorporated. The estimated value is between $100,000 and $150,000 USD, with bids being accepted both in-person and online.

Apple's founding contract (zoomed in)

These John Hancocks can be yours — if the price is right.

What I find to be the most striking aspect of this auction is not the future bidding that will occur, but the trail this piece of paper must’ve travelled to arrive at this auction. How and why did the document leave the possession of Woz, Jobs, and Wayne? Was it sold, stolen, or misplaced? Have the current owner(s) approach Apple Inc. to attempt a direct sale? Is there any legal basis for this contract to be in the possession of a third party and not returned to its original owners? IANAL and do not have the answers to these questions. But I look forward to more information being revealed as its sale approaches and more publicity is garnered.

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Retro license plate poll, round 3

December 1st, 2011 11:00 AM
Filed under Musings;
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The third stage of choosing an Massachusetts license plate what befits an Apple II user begins. In the first round, I asked for your ideas. Many were provided; not all were were eligible or available. In the second round, I presented all 44 remaining candidates. Each person was allowed up to five votes, with 80 total votes cast (and yes, I voted!).

This third, and potentially final, round narrows down the choices to those eight candidates that received five or more votes, as well as one "Other" that was a late submission. This time, you are allowed only one (1) vote! You have until the first moment (EST) of Monday, December 12, 2011, to choose: