Myth: Copyright Theft, Apple Stole GUI from Xerox PARC Alto

Friday, March 5, 2010
By OP Editor

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Mini-Myth: Xerox Opened Its Doors To Anyone

Myth:
“In 1979, Xerox threw open its doors to anyone in the industry and press, who might be interested in seeing their developments. Several Apple Computer employees, including Steve Jobs, visited Xerox PARC that day.” Microsoft also visited, resulting in Windows.


Fact:
Apple’s access / demo of the Xerox technology was arranged by Xerox venture capitalist, not through an industry-wide open house. (The Xerox Apple demo was a private demonstration that Microsoft was not involved in).

Responding to the question, “How did Steven Jobs know of the existence of the GUI at Xerox in the first place? How was he able to convince Xerox to show the GUI to him and his team?”

Mark Stephens aka Robert X. Cringely, a regular writer for The New York Times, Newsweek, Forbes, and author of the PBS documentary film Triumph of the Nerds confirms it: “Xerox had a small venture capital investment in Apple. A Xerox VC set up the meeting and pushed-through the deal.” [4]

“Microsoft later copied [Apple Macintosh] to create Windows.” [1]

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Tags: Analysis, Apple, Legal, Myths, Prototype, Technology

12 Responses to “Myth: Copyright Theft, Apple Stole GUI from Xerox PARC Alto”

  1. Dave52

    “Did Apple Stole Xerox PARC GUI Intellectual Property Without Permission?”

    1. By definition, all stealing is without permission, else it wouldn’t be stealing.

    2. “Did Apple Stole”: Grammar checker, anyone?

    1
  2. prak

    Dude, this is a great little bit of de-bunking, but your atrocious composition and grammar mean that I can’t send anyone here. They won’t believe anything written so poorly could be credible!

    Do you need some assistance working out the kinks in your writing?

    2
  3. bazjapan

    So can we say Apple copied the ideas already in place at xerox then going on to later refine them? Seems like a normal process to me. Why are we apple users so brainwashed into thinking that Jobs et al were/are somehow above all. That they are God like and free of any wrong doing. That their ideas are exclusive and if they are not their own, they really should be credited with them anyway. In my opinion, Apple have become a fairly ruthless bunch that support open standards when it suits and generally speak in ‘double speak’. That said they do make cool stuff, but so do other companies! Thanks

    3
  4. Monarky

    Oh…. I see! You’ve got a hidden agenda to keep the truth off this site! Very Lame and you’ll lose with your mis-information in the end!!!

    4
    • Let’s see. References include New York Times, Motley fool. So sure, information from those sites are completely wrong. Not.

      Or perhaps someone cannot handle the truth?

      4.1
  5. brrry

    copying with or without consent doesn’t change anything.
    still not apples invention.

    5
  6. brrry

    Did Apple steal the idea?
    No
    Did Apple copy the idea?
    Yes
    Yes, Apple Paid for the rights to use it but it does not mean they invented it.

    6
    • Apple did invent various aspects of the modern GUI, as explained in the article such as “drag and drop”.

      One thing that Apple does well is bringing abstract concepts and technology to the masses.

      6.1

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