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    • Part 10: Turns out I wasn’t the only one to make secret calls and Andy wasn’t the only one to return them. John Landwehr was a product manager at NeXT who got the idea to call Ellen Hancock, Apple’s CTO.

      From an article by John Markoff:

      After reading newspaper accounts saying that Apple was in private discussions about acquiring a new operating system, Mr. Landwehr, without a word to Steven P. Jobs, his company's chairman, persuaded his colleague Garrett Rice to pick up the phone and call Ms. Hancock.

      It turned out Andy was underselling when he said his processors might go to 400 megahertz, 10x what Motorola ever achieved with the 68040. The clock speeds of current Intel processors are more than 4200 megahertz.

      More than 10 years after the computing world believed Intel’s processors were in the autumn of their lives, Apple based their computers on them.

      Gil Amelio:

    • Part 11 (last part): The Harvard Business Review published an article, The Curse of the Superstar CEO, which tried to explain the fall of George Fisher and Kodak.

      I always wonder. Was it really about the CEOs? Or were there technical superstars we don’t know about who figured out how to make processors faster without overheating? That’s something I loved about Steve Jobs: he would ask who on planet earth is the best person to pull off something impossible and he would do anything to hire them.

      I know one of those. Steve spent all day in early Apple recruiting Bill Atkinson, a Phd student in neuroscience. Steve told me he didn’t know if they could have pulled off the Mac without him. I have seen Bill solve hard technical problems I don’t think anyone else could solve.

      I wonder if Andy had one of those and George didn’t.

      Steve Jobs and Bill Atkinson:

    • Chris, all kidding aside.....I hope you have plans to write a book. It would be VERY interesting and it seems your "fly-on-the-wall" perspectives are historically important.

    • I've often wondered what the computing world would look like today if Apple had bought Be.

      BeOS was a fantastic operating system, more advanced in many ways than other OSes of the era. I actually very briefly used it as my primary OS in the late 90s. But Be wasn't able to succeed as an independent company, and with the release of Mac OS X (which was heavily based on concepts and code from NeXT), Apple suddenly had a much better OS, and BeOS was relegated to the history books.

      But somewhere out there is a parallel universe where BeOS, rather than OpenStep, became the basis for Apple's new OS. Would it have been able to compete with Windows? Without macOS's BSD underpinnings, would it have been as popular with developers as Mac OS X was? I wonder.

    • This was an incredible read. You've lived quite the life. I'll have to check out more about Bill Atkinson. I wonder what sort of neuroscience he worked on?

    • Great series of posts, Chris! At Microsoft, we used to say that “the #1 feature is shipping”. It wasn’t always good for customers, but it sure did let msft exploit their user base to quickly learn and develop a decent product.

    • it always amazes me what it takes for things to happen good and bad.

      If this didn’t happen this wouldn’t have happened. Almost at times like there is some sort of design going on in the universe.

    • Fascinating. Tangentially, Intel saved the X86 architecture (boosting it 10x, 100x, etc.) after DIGITAL had asked them to "analyze" its breakthrough MicroPrism (aka DEC Alpha) chip for "second sourcing" at Intel's state-of-the-art FABs. The dishonesty of lifting that IP to "rescue" the X86 led to a legal settlement wherein Intel consented to purchase DEC's Hudson plant, that included not just the Alpha's chips, but also the StrongARM chips. (Old money on both boards and that's the way they handle scandals.) Chris' testimonial makes me believe that more people besides Andy Grove at Intel knew that the X86 was being "rescued" in this way...

      I totally agree with Steve about Gassée, convinced there was an Amiga 1000 in the basement of One Infinite Loop fueling all of that period's innovations (GfxBase->QuickDrawGX, ARexx->AppleScript, Speech->PlainTalk, etc..) sustaining an unbelievable amount of politics much to Bill Gates' delight.

    • I still believe it or not resell NeXT Computers , 25 years plus , my first day of work at Alembic Systems reselling 3rd party products and NeXT hardware ; NeXT shut down their hardware production line February 9, 1993 , everyone took it as an omen and after all these years later I'm still here ! Best Regards Rob Blessin