Myth: Copyright Theft, Apple Stole GUI from Xerox PARC Alto
Microsoft apologists, sorry to bust your bubble.
I. Did Apple steal GUI from Xerox? No. It was a pre-arranged technology / investment deal between Xerox and Apple.
II. Did Apple plagiarize the Xerox PARC Alto / Smalltalk GUI code and overall functionality? No, not only did Apple create its own architecture, but Apple also invented various GUI technologies such as drag-and-drop file manipulation (these technologies were later stolen by Microsoft).
III. Were the Xerox / PARC claims of being the original inventor of the Apple Mac GUI proven in court? No, U.S. Federal Court rejected Xerox claim of ownership of Apple GUI copyright.
Plenty of people fall for all kinds of pranks, scams, and urban legends, from rickrolls to Nigerian “royalty” emails, even Oprah got pwned (over 9000 wins).
If you still believe that Apple stole GUI from Xerox PARC, I got a bridge to sell you.
1) How Xerox Forfeited the PC War [the motley fool]
2) Apple: The first 30 years [macworld]
3) Apple Inc. wiki [wikipedia] (note that this quote doesn’t have proper attribution on wiki, however it seems to be the most detailed explanation of the $1 million in pre-IPO Apple Stock investment deal)
4) Q&A with Bob Cringely, Triumph of the Nerds: Pg 15 [pbs]
5) On Xerox, Apple and Progress [folklore]
6) Xerox vs. Apple: Standard ‘Dashboard’ Is at Issue [new york times]
7) Most of Xerox’s Suit Against Apple Barred [new york times]
8 ) Xerox Corp. v. Apple Computer, Inc. U.S. District Court 1990 [google scholar]
Update 1, 2010 March: Added Xerox vs. Apple court document analysis on Page 6.
Update 2, 2010 March: Made grammar corrections on all pages. Added to Page 3, to clarify that the quotes are not by OP.
Update 3, 2012 August: Even more grammar corrections! Yeah!