Dialogue Box 5.5: The Mac at 25

Dialogue Box 5.5: The Mac at 25

Summary: There's a world of difference between a 1984 Macintosh and a 2009 iMac. Dialogue Box compares the specs and summarises its findings in the currency it knows best: the price of a pint of beer

TOPICS: After Hours

There's a world of difference between a 1984 Macintosh and a 2009 iMac. Dialogue Box compares the specs and summarises its findings in the currency it knows best: the price of a pint of beer.

Topic: After Hours

Rupert Goodwins

About Rupert Goodwins

Rupert started off as a nerdy lad expecting to be an electronics engineer, but having tried it for a while discovered that journalism was more fun. He ended up on PC Magazine in the early '90s, before that evolved into ZDNet UK - and Rupert evolved with them into an online journalist.


Charles has been in tech publishing since the late 1980s, starting with Reed's Practical Computing, then moving to Ziff-Davis to help launch the UK version of PC Magazine in 1992. ZDNet came looking for a Reviews Editor in 2000, and he's been here ever since.

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  • Hmmmm

    Hey guys,

    Nice flippant aside about Apple "Stealing the idea off Xerox". Sounds great as a throw away comment. However would like to point out that Xerox were given quite a large chunk of Apple shares for the privilege of sharing the technology with Apple. So no stealing was done.

    Microsoft however did steal the technology. Unfortunately due to the twits who were running Apple at the time and their willingness to bend over to ensure office would be still be available for the Apple's hardware - they put together a stupidly loose contract which allowed Microsoft the "use of technology discovered while developing software for the Mac". Put a sugar salesman in charge of the company and that is what you get!
  • Apple didn't "steal" from Xerox

    This is such old misinformation suggesting that Apple stole from Xerox. Apple gave Xerox a lucrative stock deal for ONE 1-1/2 HOUR VISIT to Xerox PARC, and PARC understood Apple would be developing a GUI interface. Apple did not even see any code. The code for the Mac was entirely original and written by Apple. As Apple engineers stated, the visit was more "inspirational" as to what could be done with a graphical user interface, but that PARC's GUI was incomplete. It didn't even have a desktop metaphor. Apple introduced many additional innovations for the Mac that weren't found at PARC, including overlapping windows, drop down menus, and drag and drop. Plus PARC'S Alto computer was enormous, the Mac was designed to be a small computer so had a much different software/hardware design to facilitate that.

    Microsoft, however, did steal from the Mac. Apple was the first to give Microsoft the opportunity to get into the applications software business by allowing it to write application software for the Mac. Apple gave Microsoft a prototype Macintosh before its release for the purpose of Microsoft writing applications for it. However, while it was in their custody, Microsoft began dissecting everything about the Mac with the intent of writing their own competing GUI operating system.

    To avoid being outright obvious a copy of the Mac GUI, Microsoft did everything in Windows to make it upside-down and backwards from the Mac's GUI. This is why to this day, the Mac's Apple menu is on the top left and the Window's Start menu is on the bottom left. That is Microsoft innovation.

    Unfortunately, after Steve Jobs left Apple, the then CEO gave away Apple's crown jewels to Microsoft in a licensing agreement that was so incredibly stupidly written that it had a loophole that gave Microsoft full reign to copy the Macintosh GUI.

    So to say that the Mac even "borrowed" from Xerox from a 1-1/2 hour visit is still stretching the truth, because while the Mac was definitely "inspired" by the Alto, it was entirely different from the Alto. Microsoft, however, did heavily "borrow" (steal) from the Mac and that was clear throughout the Windows interface.