The Xerox Thieves: Steve Jobs & Bill Gates

The Xerox Thieves: Steve Jobs & Bill Gates

The personal computer is one of the greatest
inventions of the 20th century. While Apple and Microsoft are the kings of
the present day personal computer, the innovations that allowed them to dominate the industry
were actually not their own. Today we’ll explore a story that is as famous
as it is misunderstood: how Steve Jobs and Bill Gates stole from Xerox. This video is brought to you by Blue Apron. The first 50 people to sign up with the link
below will get $40 off their first two weeks. Toward the end of the 1960s, while Steve Jobs
and Bill Gates were still in high school, Xerox was an industry titan in the copier
world. They had created the first commercially viable
copy machine in 1959 and had spent the next decade establishing a virtual monopoly across
America, reaping over half a billion dollars in sales per year. However, Xerox’s patents eventually expired,
allowing cheaper brands from Japan to challenge their monopoly. In the face of this challenge, Xerox management
gave their chief scientist, Jack Goldman, a blank check to develop any new technology
that could keep Xerox on top. Thus, in 1970, Jack created the Palo Alto
Research Center, or PARC for short, and set about assembling the brightest minds in the
world of computer science. One of the researchers at PARC who would later
cofound Adobe, said that “The atmosphere was electric – there was total intellectual
freedom. Almost every idea was up for challenge and
got challenged regularly.” In this innovative environment, the PARC researchers
set out to work on groundbreaking computer technology like the computer mouse, ethernet
networking, and (most important to our story) the graphical user interface, or GUI. There was only one problem––Xerox management
wasn’t interested in any of PARC’s developments. The company saw no reason to focus on anything
else but their incredibly successful line of copiers. But PARC didn’t give up; instead, they soldiered
on and created one product that incorporated all of their inventions: the Xerox Alto. It was a computer way ahead of its time; it
featured the keyboard and mouse interface we still use today, while also offering access
to email, word processing, and event reminders. But once again, the Xerox managers in upstate
New York didn’t care at all. They looked at the Alto and saw an overly
complicated workstation that would cost $40,000 a piece. Xerox funded the production of only 2,000
machines and never went ahead with a commercial release. The only thing the Xerox managers were interested
in were printer and copier innovations, and while they did eventually get what they wanted,
the researchers at PARC were far from happy. It seemed like all of their breakthroughs
had gone to waste. Many of them left: either to start their own
companies or to join the many rising tech ventures of Silicon Valley. However, PARC’s contributions weren’t
all for nothing. The research center had made quite the name
for itself among techies, and eventually, Steve Jobs caught wind of what they were doing. Now, at the time Steve was busy with both
the Lisa and Macintosh projects at Apple. At first he was very skeptical of Xerox and
refused to visit PARC himself, but after several of his employees went there to witness the
miracle with their own eyes, he agreed to join them. Jobs visited PARC in late 1979, and I’ll
let the man himself share how he reacted. “I had three or four people who kept bugging
me that I ought to get my rear over to Xerox PARC and see what they were doing, and so
I finally did, I went over there. And they were very kind and they showed me
what they were working on and they showed me really three things, but I was so blinded
by the first one that I didn’t even really see the other two. One of the things they showed me was object
oriented programming; they showed me that, but I didn’t even see that. The other one they showed me was really a
networked computer system; they had over a hundred Alto computers all networked, using
email, etc. etc. I didn’t even see that. I was so blinded by the first thing they showed
me, which was the graphical user interface. I thought it was the best thing I’d ever seen
in my life. Now, remember, it was very flawed; what we
saw was incomplete; they’d done a bunch of things wrong, but we didn’t know that at the
time. It’s still though, they had the germ of the
idea was there and they’d done it very well. And within, you know, ten minutes, it was
obvious to me that all computers would work like this, someday. It was obvious.” He knew PARC was onto something great, and
he wanted a piece of it for himself. After the initial meeting, Jobs arranged for
his entire programming team to be given full technical demos. In exchange, he sold 100,000 shares of Apple
to Xerox, and the Xerox management was none the wiser. One of the PARC researchers giving the demos,
recalled, “After an hour looking at demos, they understood our technology and what it
meant more than any Xerox executive understood after years of showing it to them.” Now, at the same time Microsoft was working
with Apple as the first third party software developer for the upcoming Macintosh. Much like Apple, Microsoft had snatched a
lot of former PARC employees, and Bill Gates was well aware of the Xerox Alto and its innovations. Steve Jobs knew that, so he made Microsoft
sign an agreement as part of their deal in 1981: Microsoft couldn’t release mouse-based
software until a year after the Mac’s introduction, which the contract stated would happen in
the fall of 1983. However, Apple’s lawyers had forgotten to
account for the potential of project delays. And that’s exactly what happened––the
Mac’s release date got pushed back, but the contract date stayed the same. The Macintosh wouldn’t debut until 1984,
while in November 1983 Microsoft made a surprise announcement at Comdex, the industry’s premier
trade show. There, Bill Gates unveiled a graphical user
interface environment he called Windows, and along with it a mouse-based word processor
called Microsoft Word. Steve Jobs was naturally very upset and filed
a suit, but eventually the courts cleared Gates of any wrongdoing. When Steve confronted Gates and accused him
of theft, Gates made a rather famous statement: “I think it’s more like we both had this
rich neighbor named Xerox and I broke into his house to steal the TV set and found out
that you had already stolen it.” Now, the real question is whether we can consider
what Bill and Steve did as theft. This is where internet myth and reality collide,
for in fact the Palo Alto Research Center was pretty open about its inventions. Unlike what the Steve Jobs biopics show, the
Xerox Alto was openly demoed to over 2,000 people in 1975 alone. Nevertheless, it’s clear that without the
contributions of Xerox PARC, many of the technological advances we take for granted now would not
have been possible. It’s thanks to these innovations that we
today have amazing services like Blue Apron. Every week they can ship farm-fresh ingredients
to you alongside creative and delicious recipes that can be cooked in less than 40 minutes. All your ingredients arrive in this neat little
box, all refrigerated of course, and you can choose from 8 unique recipes every week. If you’ve been wanting to learn how to cook
healthy meals without all the hassle of grocery shopping, Blue Apron is the service for you. In fact, as a courtesy to Business Casual
viewers, the link in the description of this video will get you $40 off from your first
two weeks of Blue Apron, so that you can see firsthand just how convenient it really is. So, click on that link and check Blue Apron
out; doing so would not only be great for you, but you’ll also be helping to support
Business Casual. In any case, I want to give a big shout out
to my patrons on Patreon and to viewers like you for watching. If you’ve got a particular business story
you’d like me to cover next please write that down in the comments below. Anyhow, thanks for watching, and until next
time: stay smart.

Comments (100)

  1. Think this is BIG, well BT are sitting on a program that could give them Global High Capacity Control of all Communications Networks since 1995 unused as it should be how do I know you may ask?Well I formulated it and still own it.

  2. The Xerox management was short sighted to say the least.

  3. Xerox PARC neither invented the mouse nor the GUI. They "stole" both from Douglas Engelbart… 🙂 Look for "Douglas Engelbart the mother of all demos" on the web.

  4. bruh
    mans said “gooey”


  5. Thank you for sharing this with us. I found it very interesting.

  6. Xerox will sitting on a gold mine , it was not lost it was not thrown away
    – they made laser printers
    – Ethernet networking
    == Steve Jobs copied Xerox bit mapped user interface, Microsoft then copied Steve Jobs

  7. Xerox thieves brought to you by potatoes, in a box

  8. disliked because of blue apron

  9. This is not stealing.this is business.and business is like a war. Every thing is fair in love and war

  10. Modern day cowboys most Americans cheated inventors ie today who know what Nikola Tesla did ?
    His inventions were stolen and others got recognition for it.

  11. Funny how this video presents itself as correcting the record of a "misunderstood" story.

    Video claims in 1979 Steve Jobs was busy with the Lisa and Macintosh. Steve Jobs was never busy with both. He didn't work on the Macintosh until after he was thrown off the Lisa team in 1981. Also, the Macintosh didn't basically exist at that point. It was an idea on paper. The first prototype, sitting on the back of an Apple II peripheral card was made in January 1980. Steve Jobs had nothing to do with it at that stage. It was Jef Raskin's project with Burrell Smith designing it.

  12. Its not theft by western standards m& m candy was already famous in europe candy coated chocolate the two just printed m& m on it and the rest is history.coca cola THOR. Peanut butter cereal the list is endless


  14. Parc demoed to 2000 people in 1975 but Jobs paid for his demo…

  15. Jobs didnt steal. They exchange with shares. Microsoft that steal the idea

  16. Graphical User Interface … Or GOOEY

  17. yes a lot of talk here. my idea is that at that time NO one had ANY idea where computers was going. it was the wild west thing.

  18. Good vid. F Blu a-pRON.

  19. Your video editing skills the best I ever seen.

  20. This is the best documentary about computer user interface. But DEC already had semi graphic user interface up for sales in the late 70s long before Apple Lisa.

  21. if bill steals from Steve it is known as theft and if Steve steals it is known as inspiration

  22. 1 – The machine that was demonstrated to Steve at PARC was called the Professional Work Station, more robust than the Alto.
    2- The Lisa Project at Apple only began after Steve hired the PWS team. The Lisa was quickly released while they were worked on a mass market machine to be called Macintosh.
    3 – I tried to buy 500 PWS machines from the Xerox VP of Product Development who said, "Look, we're a copy machine company, only sell copiers and don't give a damn what those academics at PARC are doing."
    4 – Gates didn't hire PARC guys in that era and always tried to copy the Bell Labs/PARC/Apple GUI development stream, never getting it right.

  23. Old guy here … a techie who has been here since the start of all this. Steve Jobs stole everything from Xerox Parc. He never SAW anything or invented anything. He was an asshole that was inspired by Nolan Bushnell, his boss at Atari, and . created a company using wozniak's smarts that sold an over-priced flashy fashionable product to people with more money than sense. Shit that can't be upgraded and is out of date because they change the adapter every few years. Selling you phones that are literally designed to cease working after a few years so you the sheep will buy a new one. There's a reason that Apple never had more than 10% of the computer market. Most people aren't that stupid.

  24. All they did was COPY there work … no sit! .I'll show myself to the door

  25. Pl. Make a vdo on Crowd Funding. I am from India. Thanks.

  26. if bill innovates it's a copy if Steve copies it's a reinvention

  27. Your channel is amazing. ❤

  28. This is Also The Places Where Robert Kiyosaki Learn To Sell 👍

  29. In Other Words, Xerox Is The Godfather Of Innovation & Entreprenuers

  30. Funny thing, I have told the same story to people … but I did not call Gates or Jobs thieves … I usually tell the story to show how a company that starts as an innovator i.e. Xerox, loses sight of what they are and loses out in the end …

  31. Some one wrote in these comments: "In Other Words, Xerox Is The Godfather Of Innovation & Entrepreneurs" I "borrowed" that statement and responded: More like the unwitting Sperm donor. The Mothers of these inventions did not tell the Technological father about the baby they co-created! : D

  32. Some one wrote in these comments: "In Other Words, Xerox Is The Godfather Of Innovation & Entrepreneurs" I "borrowed" that statement and responded: More like the unwitting Sperm donor. The Mothers of these inventions did not tell the Technological father about the baby they co-created! : D

  33. Some one wrote in these comments: "In Other Words, Xerox Is The Godfather Of Innovation & Entrepreneurs" I "borrowed" that statement and responded: More like the unwitting Sperm donor. The Mothers of these inventions did not tell the Technological father about the baby they co-created! : D

  34. Thats what happen when you hire a hobo as ceo…

  35. Looks like Ferris (Felix) snuck her way onto the screen at 2:55 . Top left.

  36. the Xerox company is the most company , they gave up thier GUI and refused to enter pc based printer Market

  37. The fact that you said it as a word instead of g u I was horrifying

  38. So if Steve Jobs acknowlegedes their creation, and paid for it….how is he a thief?

  39. Xerox was the kind of known as an original copier/printing machine but obviously they needed to upgrade what they have got to compete with other marketing.

  40. This is wrong on so many levels. Legends and mythology. Apple licensed the Alto interface from Xerox, as Xerox had millions in developing the Alto but didn't have the marketing savvy to make it profitable (at about $40,000 a system, in which Xerox only built about 2000 of them). Apple didn't "steal" anything. Xerox benefitted greatly from Apples' interest in the Alto interface. Xerox would offer up the OS to anyone who wanted it. Xerox got lucky when Apple stumbled across the Alto. Look up the real story…..

  41. Xerox you fucken idiots.

  42. I didn't know any of this. From other internet videos and documentaries, I had been led to believe that Apple was the 1st to make GUI, which Jobs had shown to Gates for whatever reason, then Gates copied/stole the idea for windows.

    But, it seems both copied and improved from Xerox.

  43. steve jobs got robbed by bill gates but xerox is just stupid gates stole his idea because he could legally it still isnt right but thats what the law protects i guess

  44. Bill gates, the symbol of overly greedy cheat.

  45. "…Thanks to these innovations that we today have amazing services like blue apron." 😆


  46. 2:56 why is there an anime catgirl in the small tv

  47. Managers become deadwood so quickly.

  48. Blue Apron…haha…they’re dead

  49. "Who built the first GUI and Operating System?"
    "How did they build it?"
    "We don't know, we just know that Bill gates and Steve Jobs stole from Xerox and gave everyone GUI"

  50. mashallh alhumdillah inshallah better

  51. Fuck GUI, I'm staying on DOS

  52. To all the people criticizing Xerox execs for not moving forward with the Alto, it was FIRST introduced in 1972 – a full 11-12 years BEFORE there was a windows OS or before the MAC debuted … there simply wasn't a market for such an expensive ($40,000 ea Alto) office machine – Budgets DO matter people. And the first pc's weren't even networked. Even the name PC reveals that factoid (PERSONAL Computer)

    The Xerox execs, who were managing an office printing machine company, were right to not risk their investors money into pioneering a new industry

  53. 1:15 anyone noticed the smoke from the cigarette

  54. What blinded them was the cost per unit, and millions they were making from copy machines.

  55. But sounds like the Xerox is lunch idiots that was running the company if Bill Gates and Steve Jobs took vintage of it

  56. A lot of the meals bought by Blue Apron by customers never gets eaten.

  57. but why wasn't Xerox doing anything about the program they had? suppose it just lay there ultimately dying, at least it now it is out, and we all use it.

  58. Never mind Jobs and Gates ,I didn't hear any thanks to N. Tesla.

  59. Well of course hence the term Silicon pirates ..but a good leader is one who see the potential and nurture it

  60. Wow. Great information. and I love how Blue Apron put their product at the end. Very elegant. Bravo. I surely was not expecting that.

  61. why didn't xerox patented the GUI idea

  62. Example of having a bad management 😁

  63. I found the video very interesting. But I found myself more and more interested in learning the name of the song played in the background. Now I could not find that much info in the comments besides the fact that others have asked about it. What is the name of that song?

  64. Like breaking in to steal…😂

  65. Dat seemless plug slip.

  66. sneaky bill strikes again

  67. Steve jobs has fair deal with xerox. Its no thievery

  68. xerox executives were ignorant and naive

  69. It's a familiar story of the top execs and middle managers in a company stifling good ideas and other, smarter people using them.
    Xerox isn't the only dumb company, Sun Microsystems had decades in which to compete too but were too stupid even to make their own desktop, sticking with the antiquated and limiting X-windows + a few rag-tag bits and bobs. Even when Next was formed Sun was too dumb – they even had computers already running Unix with graphics cards but kept selling the same tired, overpriced dead X-windows only product – under Sun's very noses Apple hired Steve back and now Sun is a footnote in history and part of a filing cabinet in Oracle. All Sun needed was to set up a division using AMD processors and they would be bigger than Apple is today.

  70. Xerox management was such a bunch assholes.

  71. blind leading the blind….

  72. Whatever it is Xerox did not take it to next level.. clever people took it forward

  73. Steve and Bill are both opportunists. They see what people's needs and they focus even on the smallest things

  74. But how are they thieves 🤔🙄

  75. Xerox stole the idea from Douglas Engelbart….

  76. I agree xeros contributed enormously to technological advancement but to call steve and bill theives is very wrong because xeros opened their doors to them perharps they thought that young people like bill and steve were just dreamers and never really expected them to go far and by the time xeros realised its own naivity it was too late their own train was long gone. So congrats to steve and bill

  77. It’s like the time Thomas Edison robbed from Nikola Tesla , you don’t got to invent something new you just got to get your name under it first ,business are business

  78. Hey, BC! November 22, 2019
    I just found you and I really like your format, content and presenting style! I'll definitely be surfing your site. Just wanted to say hello and thank you for now!

  79. that blue apron is the future… health is an investment .

  80. In India we still call print out copy as xerox. copy.

  81. yes, xerox thought they were just into the copy machine work but, they lost a gold mine.

  82. Xerox had nothing like the first versions of Windows or the Mac. Therefore neither stole anything from Xerox.

  83. Did he say a black check or blank check?

  84. Really? no one?

    2:55 on the left side

  85. Why calling them thieves when Xerox threw out what they thought were scraps?

  86. Yeah Apple and IBM which I guess might be Bill Gates but you left out my ex-neighbour Jim Romanelli former Xerox Canada service technician he bragged over and over and over about that to me.

  87. which software did you use of animation?

  88. The way you segwayed into that Blue Apron Ad was FLAWLESS

  89. Love BC and want to see videos before they go live?
    Follow us on IG! ( 👉

  90. THEY ALSO INVENTED BEAN BAGS! Gosh I bet they also invented cool-work-place-with-food-and-pingpong back then. Very very ahead of their time.


  92. Call them whatever you want but not thieves.

  93. Bill stole from apple. Cheap very cheap in getting rich

  94. 1960e.

    Cowm3 k.d mlm p1 up.

  95. I'm about selling.
    Trade secrets.

    Korea to Japance.

    11.1983. Oqmu ..2
    .zm, t u.c kgo m6..x my. Windows. Ultrasounds. LOL. THATS FUNNY.

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