- Tram Ho
The personal computer is one of the most successful inventions of the 20th century. This technology made a name for Bill Gates as well as his rival Steve Jobs.
However, the original idea of this technology did not come from the two brilliant founders but from the laboratory of a printer manufacturer called Xerox.
The first personal computer
Back in the 1960s, when both Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were just high school boys, Xerox was a huge corporation in the printer industry. This was the first business in the commercial printer business in 1959 and controlled 85% of the US market, with sales of more than 500 million USD per year for a decade.
But when Xerox’s license expired and many Japanese tech firms jumped into the competition, Xerox asked chief technology officer Jack Goldman to develop any new technology to keep the company in place. Accompanying this requirement comes a huge amount of money to explore any new technology that puts Xerox ahead of its competition.
In 1970, Goldman founded the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) and brought together the most intelligent engineers across the country to research new technology for Xerox.
“The environment here is very open, almost every idea will be put out to test and validate on a regular basis,” said one of the PARC researchers and Adobe co-founder John Warnock. .
Thanks to its open environment, rich financial resources and smartest minds, PARC invented a lot of the technologies that underlie today’s products like Computer Mouse, Intranet. (Ethernet Networking) and especially the graphical user interface (Graphical User Interface-GUI).
Even so, PARC managers are not interested in these inventions, but only with techniques related to the flagship Xerox printer product line. Despite these prejudices, PARC builds on the first personal computer, the Xerox Alto, which includes all the technologies it has developed.
This computer was a breakthrough of the technology of that era with the use of a keyboard and mouse, access to email, use to type text or even an alarm. .
But Xerox executives do not understand what these are products when they are so complicated that they can cost up to 40,000 USD. Although it financed the production of 2,000 Xerox Alto machines, the company never promoted or sold them. The only thing it cared about was the printer technology line, and after successfully producing the Xerox 9700 with the new technology, it was no longer interested in the Alto in its lab warehouse.
It is Xerox’s indifference that has offended many engineers at PARC when they think that disruptive technologies have been despised. A lot of people have left to start a business or join Silicon Valley tech firms.
Despite wasting groundbreaking technologies, the achievements of PARC have made this research center extremely popular in the world, thereby attracting entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs or Bill Gates.
At this point, Steve Jobs was busy with development projects for LISA or Macintosh personal computers at Apple. Jobs was initially skeptical of Xerox and PARC, but after many of his employees came to the center and witnessed groundbreaking technologies, the founder agreed to PARC in late 1979 to admire the achievements. new technique.
According to Steve Jobs, he was completely fascinated by the GUI technology developed by PARC, ignoring the rest of the techniques.
“I thought it was the best thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” Steve Jobs recalls.
Although Steve Jobs judged that the GUI technology at that time was incomplete and buggy, it was the foundation for the personal computer and many other later techniques. Founder Steve Jobs said within 10 minutes, he realized this was the future of the computer industry of the future.
Realizing the potential of the GUI, Stave Jobs sold 100,000 shares of Apple to Xerox so that all of his engineering team had access to information about the GUI, and Xerox executives happily accepted.
“After just an hour of looking at the numbers, Apple technicians understand the technology and its meaning better than any Xerox director, even though we have tried to explain to them for many years,” PARC’s Larry Tesler reviews.
Returning to the Apple story, Bill Gates’ Microsoft is now collaborating with the company as a third software developer for the Macintosh. Similar to Apple, Microsoft has recruited a lot of technicians from PARC and of course Bill Gates knows very well about the Xerox Alto and its importance.
Founder Steve Jobs understood that and forced Microsoft to sign an agreement in 1981, which prohibited the company from releasing any computer products using mice for one year after the Macintosh was released, which means yes Deadline until the fall of 1983.
Unfortunately, Apple’s lawyers forgot the back-up provision for the Macintosh lag, and this is what happened. An Apple Macintosh product could not be released on time, and the agreement with Microsoft remained the same period.
As a result, when the Macintosh tried to launch in 1984, before that in 1983, Microsoft surprised the world by launching a GUI-based Windows operating system, a personal computer with a mouse, and writing software. version of Microsoft Word.
The founder Steve Jobs was extremely angry and filed a lawsuit, but the court said that Bill Gates was doing the right contract.
When Steve Jobs accused Bill Gates of being a thief, the founder of Micrososft humorously replied: “I think the story is like we all have a rich neighbor named Xerox and I broke into his house to stole the TV set but realized it was stolen by someone else. ”
In fact, the story of Bil Gates and Steve Jobs is not really a steal when the PARC Center was quite open about their inventions at the time to promote the creation of new technologies. Contrary to Microsoft or Apple trying to protect their copyrights today, PARC allowed more than 2,000 people to view information about Xerox Alto in 1975 alone.
Regardless, the Xerox printer company and the PARC Center have made a huge contribution to today’s technology industry, including the successes of billionaires like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates.
Source : Genk