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Woz On Apple's Success 294

Posted by Zonk
from the they've-been-doing-well-lately dept.
Frankenbuffer writes "The Globe and Mail today has a short interview with Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple. Steve muses on spinning off iPod as a separate division. He also questions the move to Intel." From the article: "Microsoft wants to get out of the whole image of the big, black Darth Vader evil guy ... Innovation is probably going on within the company, because any time you put smart engineers in places eventually they wind up talking and innovating no matter how much you try to hold them back. I hope Microsoft improves and becomes more like Apple."
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Woz On Apple's Success

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  • Nawww... (Score:5, Funny)

    by JoeLinux (20366) <joelinux@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Thursday February 23, 2006 @01:15PM (#14785812) Homepage
    If there is one thing I've learned as an engineer, it's that no matter how innovative your engineers, if your management is nothing but bottom-line looking buzzword spewers, you are going to be twisting in the wind.

    I swear, the next time a manager tells me that I need to leverage my win-win situation to think outside the box synergisticly, I'm going to mail the CEO the christmas party pictures I took...it graphically proves that our admin used to be a gymnast...

    Boldly going where I surely don't belong...
    • Re:Nawww... (Score:4, Funny)

      by general_re (8883) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @01:20PM (#14785868) Homepage
      Sounds like someone hasn't leveraged the empowerment of their paradigm shift....
    • You aren't to critical mass yet:

      the next time a manager tells me that I need to leverage my win-win situation and core competencies to think outside the box to create a robust solution synergisticly going forward on an as-needed basis,

      In my work group, we spend staff meetings keeping track of the jargon used by management. It's interesting to track over time.

      • That's a comment only discussed by two people. You should see the stuff that results from bouncing up and down through the committees of a corporate division like monster hailstones in a thunderstorm.
    • Thanks for posting that, it's completely true; the more managers you get the more ideas they learned at the recent 'offsite manager meeting' with red tape aplenty. There's always more of the hated bizspeak and think it's a dead language. Check my writings (with examples) if it:

      A dead language [fak3r.com]
      More bad language [fak3r.com]

      Unless you want to 'take this offline' to 'get your head around the 'tribal knowledge' - that's my fav...
    • Re:Nawww... (Score:3, Funny)

      by Jim Hall (2985)

      I swear, the next time a manager tells me that I need to leverage my win-win situation to think outside the box synergisticly, I'm going to mail the CEO the christmas party pictures I took...it graphically proves that our admin used to be a gymnast...

      I think you need to send the photos to me. You know, for safekeeping ... in case something ever happens to you.... :-)

    • You need get a pal and play buzzword bingo at your next meeting. Each of you makes a same size grid on a piece of paper, and fill it in randomly with your least favorite buzzwords (synergy, proactive, etc., the sibling posts here contain a bunch of examples.).

      Each time the manager/meeting leader (er, I guess I should say 'facilitator' in this context) says a word on your card, cross it off. When you get a bingo, signal by coughing.

      Use smaller grids for short meetings, larger for long meetings. Use differ
    • Re:Nawww... (Score:2, Funny)

      by saboola (655522)
      When you are done ranting on your little website here I need to have a talk with you about how you are submitting your TPS reports. We're putting new cover sheets on all of our TPS reports now before they go out.
  • by jdb8167 (204116) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @01:15PM (#14785818)
    From the article:

    "Still, the switch to Intel is a necessary one from an engineering standpoint, he said, because Apple needed a way to improve performance per watt. Mr. Wozniak would have liked Apple to continue using Motorola processors, but "Intel just did a very good logic design.""

    Sounds like sound logic to me. No questioning there at all.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Um, next paragraph:


      Engineering related considerations aside, he still seems reluctant about joining the Intel camp. "If it wasn't needed, I would say we shouldn't do it. And I still have some questions as to how much it's needed."


      "I still have some questions ..." sounds like *questioning* to me.
      • How the f*ck can he even question this move??? Is he smoking too much weed? Motorola COULD NOT come up with a G5 (or better) that could power a notebook. They hit a wall with this processor. End of story. The Powerbooks have had G4s in the for more than two years now. The best thing Apple could do to "update" them was to add small gizmos or slightly improve the displays. That was it. Apple is now finally able to move forward with its notebooks again.

        I guess it's good he's no longer with the company. We migh
        • I think the reason he can question this move is that he's really no longer that deeply involved in what Apple is doing and the article states as much. He says outright that it's hard to go back and change direction after being on the other side for so long. I'd take that into consideration when digesting Woz's comments.

          If those same comments were coming from someone intimately involved in the Powerbook line I'd think along the same lines as you (WTF?). Coming from Woz they're just about loyalty to
        • I guess it's good he's no longer with the company. We might still be using Performas....

          Performas weren't Woz's idea. If Woz still stuck with Apple for all of those years, we'd be seeing very expandable, open, and well-engineered Apple machines (well-engineered from an electrical engineering perspective). All of the modern PC enthusiasts would have stuck with Apple to this day had Apple kept the Apple II and went beyond that (more powerful processors, improved OS, etc.).

          If Woz still remained at Apple,

          • Spindler is the person to blame for the Performa boondoggle.
          • [freebsd.org] OS X without the flashy graphics and the DRM. Try it. You might love it

            Beg to differ. That would be Darwin [apple.com] or OpenDarwin [opendarwin.org] - the resemblence to BSD exists, but is generaly overstated.

          • I guess it's good he's no longer with the company. We might still be using Performas....

            Performas weren't Woz's idea. If Woz still stuck with Apple for all of those years, we'd be seeing very expandable, open, and well-engineered Apple machines (well-engineered from an electrical engineering perspective). All of the modern PC enthusiasts would have stuck with Apple to this day had Apple kept the Apple II and went beyond that (more powerful processors, improved OS, etc.).


            You said it, dude.

            My first PC was an
      • I guess I don't equate "questioning the move to Intel" with "I still have some questions." The first implies that Woz doesn't agree with the move. The second says that he doesn't have enough information to completely satisfy himself. But given that Woz is first and foremost an engineer, I suspect that he is going to side with the engineering argument over the emotional one.
    • People forget that Woz originally chose Motorola over Intel for the first Apple computers because of cost more than any other factor. Motorola had a chip available which was a fraction of the price of most other options at the time.
      • People forget that Woz originally chose Motorola over Intel for the first Apple computers because of cost more than any other factor. Motorola had a chip available which was a fraction of the price of most other options at the time.

        Maybe people forget it because it isn't true. The Apple I and Apple II that Woz designed used the MOS Technologies 6502 processor, not the more expensive Motorola 6800 or Intel 8086.
        • Thanks for refreshing my memory. The MOS was a cheaper knock-off of the Moto 6800, yes?

          *checks wiki to avoid being so very wrong a second time*

          The 6502 was designed primarily by the same team that had designed the Motorola 6800. After quitting Motorola en-masse, they quickly designed the 6501, a completely new design that was nevertheless pin-compatible with the 6800. Motorola sued immediately, and although today the case would have been dismissed out of hand, the damage to MOS was enough for them to agree
        • Woz picked the 6502 because he bought some chips at an exhibition or something as far as I recall. The 6502 was waaay cheaper than any other CPU and it was pretty much the only thing WOZ could afford for his homebrew project.
    • No, the question was "Should we have done it?" The answer was obviously "yes". Of course you'll have some headaches along the way, seeing that you need to rewrite all of your software and make a PPC emulator for the meantime, but if you only have X watts to get performance out of, you'd best be using the most effecient chip available, especially if you're about at your power draw limit.
    • "Still, the switch to Intel is a necessary one from an engineering standpoint, he said, because Apple needed a way to improve performance per watt. Mr. Wozniak would have liked Apple to continue using Motorola processors, but "Intel just did a very good logic design.""

      Sounds like sound logic to me. No questioning there at all.


      Read on a little further.. like the next paragraph.

      Engineering related considerations aside, he still seems reluctant about joining the Intel camp. "If it wasn't needed, I wo
    • He also sounds ignorant. Not saying it's wrong, but he's irrelevant and out of the loop.
    • I really don't understand the move back to 32 bit processors. Intel must be giving them away for next to nothing, and promising cheap 64bit soon.
  • Woz is a good man (Score:5, Interesting)

    by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Thursday February 23, 2006 @01:17PM (#14785841) Homepage

    Ever since I read Linzmayer's Apple Confidential [amazon.com] , I've felt a little sorry for Steve Wozniak. Here's a man who was used by Steve Jobs to launch a brand and didn't even get justly compensated, and then he essentially gets forced out of his own company in a way much worse than Jobs' infamous departure.

    But then I realized that, in spite of his lesser success and his challenges, Woz is probably a much happier man. Anyone who gives as much as he does to charity and cares as much about having disadvantaged kids must have a lot of inner peace.

    • Re:Woz is a good man (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jcr (53032) <jcr@nOspAm.mac.com> on Thursday February 23, 2006 @01:28PM (#14785937) Journal
      Here's a man who was used by Steve Jobs to launch a brand and didn't even get justly compensated

      Woz made hundreds of millions of dollars. Without Jobs, he wouldn't have even left HP.

      -jcr
      • Re:Woz is a good man (Score:5, Interesting)

        by osgeek (239988) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @01:55PM (#14786204) Homepage Journal
        Exactly. The engineer in us all wants Woz to be the much-put-upon hero of the story, but looking at what Jobs and Woz did professionally *after* they were ousted is very telling. Woz tried his hand at a number of enterprises... none of which I can recall. I wonder why?

        Jobs, on the other hand, started NeXT; and though we can bicker somewhat about its market success, it was eventually sold to Apple for $400M and was extraordinarily innovative for its time. Afterward, Jobs was the single-most-responsible reason why Apple had its turn-around. He brought Pixar to its successful heights. He envisioned, brought about, and championed changes to the way we think about computer styling, music players, and animated entertainment.

        Wozniak sounds like a really nice guy. He was a brilliant engineer, no doubt. However, the real force behind his rise to success was the marketing brilliance of Steve Jobs. Jobs financially made Woz what he is today, and Woz should really be nothing but grateful. Slashdot probably is not the most receptive crowd to such heresy, but it is the truth.
        • once the fire is going the tinder doesn't need the spark anymore.
          • My experience is that sparks are everywhere, but the real difficulty is in growing the sparks into bonfires.

            We all have great ideas that show up later brought to market (the world) by someone with more drive. Many more people than we realize have their brilliant ways to be excellent.

            Without the guiding hand of someone with Job's skills, though, those sparks tend to die out.

            I'll stop being a Jobs fanboy now and get back to my own entrepreneurial endeavors.
          • by runlvl0 (198575)
            If you immediately know that the candlelight is fire,then the meal was already cooked long ago.
        • don't feel too bad. It's the same genius in Jobs that exists in several other people the engineering crowd will never think highly of. The great example is the business ability of Gates. Not much in the way of technical knowhow or insight(supposedly) but dangerous when it came to business. Others as well as Michael Eisner.

          I think the big thing with Jobs was that he had some relatively small success in the 80's and then came back with something else, which is pretty rare. Few people reach the top, fall
          • I think there are a lot of people that rise and fall significantly, they don't get much notice as they aren't so prominent. Donald Trump is probably the next notable person, Abe Lincoln had suffered numerous defeats on the way to the White House.

            Businesses fail, and there are a lot of people that do persist, thrive, fail & thrive with relative obscurity. Where Jobs is pretty lucky is that he's started three major businesses, each one a success by several measures.

            As for Woz, he's not a limelight kind
        • Re:Woz is a good man (Score:4, Informative)

          by jcr (53032) <jcr@nOspAm.mac.com> on Thursday February 23, 2006 @04:33PM (#14787542) Journal
          Woz tried his hand at a number of enterprises... none of which I can recall.

          Oh, some of the things he did were quite impressive. He invented the unverisal remote control, for one thing.

          -jcr
    • Woz is a good man

      The "wakka wakka wakka!" guy, right? He always cracks me up.
    • by simpl3x (238301)
      As much as I love the concept of inovation selling itself, the world simply does not work like that. In running a buisness, I have found that there is a reason why good sales people make a fortune. Add strategic vision and you get to become on of the very few people who can build companies.

      Steve and Woz were both necessary for Apple to become a success, and I would highly doubt that Steve would argue with this. It's like saying the Beatles would still be the Beatles without John...

      I remember a video on NPR
  • by mldkfa (689415)
    I don't really understand what Woz means by saying that her hopes intel becomes more like Apple. Would we really just want 1 kind of machine? Does he want Microsoft to only licence their software to hardware vendors that only make PC's that are white boxes? Does he want Microsoft to take out support for obsolete hardware everytime they upgrade their operating system? I mean innovation is one thing. But Microsoft already has shown that people don't really need pretty bozes; they want something that will most
    • Obi Wan: I have something of yours. [Opens old chest and brings out a white box-like thing]
      Luke: An iPOD?!
      Obi Wan: Yes, it used to be your father's before he turned evil and worked for Microsoft.
      Luke: You knew my father?
      Obi Wan: Yes, I fought with your father in the Clone Wars....
    • I don't really understand what Woz means by saying that her hopes intel becomes more like Apple.

      Check again.. He said that about Microsoft, not Intel.

      -jcr
    • I don't really understand what Woz means by saying that her hopes intel becomes more like Apple.

      Easy! Because having a human (clone or not) is infinite times better than having a borg! :P
    • Does he want Microsoft to only licence their software to hardware vendors that only make PC's that are white boxes?

      Where do you think this [xbox.com] is headed?

  • Ah the Woz.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fussili (720463) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @01:18PM (#14785848)
    I'd be interested in seeing what direction he'd take the iPod in if he had the chance. Judging by his involvement in the Danger Inc Hiptop, he's big into small internet communication devices and who wouldn't like a WiFi iPod with a web browser? That screen is becoming bigger all the time.

    Right now people seem to be straining to turn the iPod into an Input device, or at least to give it that capability. I'd be very interested to see what the Woz could do with it.
    • Judging by his involvement in the Danger Inc Hiptop

      How much involvement does he have, really? I know he sits on Danger's advisory board, but I would imagine that if he had much of a hands-on role, a few really nasty bugs in the Hiptop API would have been history a long time ago.

  • I can see this happening as a result of the Apple-v-Apple court case next month. That way Apple can get out of the Music business leave it all to the iDivision.
    • Yeah, right. It's where they're getting their highest margins, have a kick-ass marketshare (why don't we see phrasing like that in yearly reports? They'd be so much more interesting), AND it carries a halo effect, causing people to buy other apple stuff. Fun fact about business: Don't spin off your cash cow. Woz is out of his mind if he thinks Apple will spin off the ipod; however, he is an engineer, not an exec.
      • .. you don't know shit about it.

        Companies spin-off their larger profit makers all the time. It is called 'unlocking value'. Basically if one division of a company is vastly outpserforming the others, then it makes good financial sense to spin it off, so that the shares of both seperate companies more accuratly reflect their marketplace, instead of one division pullling another one down.

        Look at Viacom spinning off CBS for example, or Wendy's spinning off it's cash-cow Tim hortons subsidiary.

        It would not be u
        • The problem with that approach -- as fashionable as it may (and I think it's popularity may have peaked) -- is that after you've finished spinning off every highly profitable division of your company, all you're left with are the unprofitable or marginally-profitable divisions, plus some nasty overheads, which is not normally a recipie for staying in buisiness. The parent organization closing up shop ideally wouldn't matter too much, except that some of those unprofitable or marginal divisions can often be
  • Innovate? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bhirsch (785803)
    Apple's innovation would seem more related to its marketing than its engineering.
    • You made an assertion.

      Now prove it.

      I make a counter assertion; detailed in some of my responses later in this thread. What's your proof?
  • why? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Mike_ya (911105)
    He hopes his "long-time nemesis" improves and becomes more like Apple? Why?

    Does he realize that if Microsoft improves their image and becomes more like Apple it is only going to hurt Apple?

    Guess someone has some MS stock that he wants to see go up.
    • Re:why? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by PFI_Optix (936301)
      Or maybe, just maybe, he has an interest in seeing the field improved by greater, more innovative, competition.

      I'd like to see Microsoft become more like Apple. I'd like to see Apple become more like Google (yeah yeah China blah blah blah). The fact is, all the big companies have some excellent traits, and each could stand to learn something from the others. And the more they take these lessons to heart, the better their products get, and the more we benefit from it. Have you considered the possibility that
    • by jcr (53032)
      He hopes his "long-time nemesis" improves and becomes more like Apple? Why?

      To alleviate the suffering of their customers, perhaps?

      Hell, I'd love to see Microsoft come up with something I could stand to use, besides a mouse.

      -jcr
  • Mr. Wozniak was in New Zealand recently for a four-on-four polo tournament played on two-wheeled, self-balancing Segway gyroscopic scooters.

    Would have been a great way to test new collision-advoidance systems.

  • by DeveloperAdvantage (923539) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @01:40PM (#14786060) Homepage
    But iPods are also distracting Apple from its focus on computing, he said, and the company might be better served by spinning off the business.

    Given the huge success of the iPod, perhaps a better strategy would be to spin off the computing business.
    • Woz's iPod views (Score:3, Interesting)

      by amightywind (691887)

      Given the huge success of the iPod, perhaps a better strategy would be to spin off the computing business.

      It is surprising how Woz misunderstands the success of the iPod so deeply. He seems to think of it as a Palm Pilot. A standalone gadget. Jobs obviously takes a different view. He sees a vertically integrated entertainment industry from content production to device presentation. The iPod gets its cache by being associated with other enlightened Apple solutions. Spin it off and the magic is gone, just

      • The iPod gets its cache by being associated with other enlightened Apple solutions. Spin it off and the magic is gone

        uhh, i think you've got it back-asswords; apple's recent resurgence is largely due to the ipod, which is the hip, gotta have toy. if anything, it's the 'other enlightened apple solutions' GAIN cachet from the ipod.

  • "All of a sudden we're the same in this hardware regard, so it's a little hard to swallow your words from the past."

    Somehow Steve Jobs never seems to have that problem.

    No one ever wants to hold him to account for past pronouncements.

  • Still, the switch to Intel is a necessary one from an engineering standpoint, he said, because Apple needed a way to improve performance per watt. Mr. Wozniak would have liked Apple to continue using Motorola processors, but "Intel just did a very good logic design."

    I call Bullshit!

    Apple may have needed to improve performance, but not necessarily performance per watt.

    And if performance was their sole concern -- not even considering price -- then there was AMD.

    Woz, sorry, but you spouting Intel sloga

    • >Apple may have needed to improve performance, but not necessarily performance per watt

      laptops. heard of them?
    • Re:Calling BS (Score:3, Insightful)

      They left IBM/Motorola due to supply problems...
      Tell me why they would go to another company with supply problems?

      All the AMD zealots here seem to continually forget AMD's biggest problem, they cannot produce. Going with Intel is a BUSINESS decision as much as a technical one. We can debate the relative merits till the cows come home and it does not matter one bit.

      For the sake of this argument (and only to remove it as a possible sticking point) I will grant that AMD has a superior processor. Bottom line, t
  • Exactly! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mad Ogre (564694) <`ogre' `at' `madogre.com'> on Thursday February 23, 2006 @01:51PM (#14786172) Homepage
    I hope Microsoft becomes more like Apple too... and build a decent OS on a solid Unix core.
  • Apple... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jaweekes (938376) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @01:53PM (#14786183)
    Apple has always been a "consumer" company, not a business player. When I see graphs of computer sales it makes me laugh, as Apple's market is almost purely non-business and "% of computer sales" means nothing to them. Look at the "% of computer sales to home users" and you will see that Apple is making vast in-roads in its target audience.

    Microsoft, Dell, HP and the rest target anyone with a pulse, which in my mind makes it less attractive. Apple's best move was the IPod because it not only makes wads of money, but increases the consumer's awareness of the whole Apple brand as a consumer company, and so the consumers are more likely to buy an Apple Mac if their IPod works well for them, then a Windows based computer which is made by HP, runs Microsoft, and runs Napster which getting support for is a nightmare (no, it's a hardware problem, no it's Windows at fault, etc...). My 2 cents...
    • Re:Apple... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by the_humeister (922869)
      That doesn't mean they aren't trying in the business field. Xserves come to mind.
    • Re:Apple... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by dodobh (65811) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @06:39PM (#14788628) Homepage
      Maybe in the US. In India, the only Macs I have seen belong to either Americans (or a few Europeans), or someone who has been given a Mac by the company. The popular geek portables are the Acer Turion based laptops (at ~ 1K USD), since battery life is not the important criterion for a portable here.

      Getting access to electric power is easy, it is the price that is a killer issue.
  • Brilliant!! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Roofus (15591) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @02:18PM (#14786428) Homepage
    From the article:
    Mr. Jobs returned to the company as chief executive officer in 1997 and has since led the company to new heights, but Mr. Wozniak has stayed away. His dealings with Apple are minor, he said, although he's still on the payroll "just out of loyalty."

    That's awesome. I'm going to go tell my boss right now that I'm leaving, but I wish to remain on the payroll "just out of loyalty"!
  • by RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @02:36PM (#14786591)
    Having actually met (and chatted with) Woz a few months back, just after the Intel transition was announced, I got the impression that he was cautiously optimistic. He understood the problems with the G4 and the G5, but he was concerned about Macs becoming too "PC-like" - what differentiates Macs from PCs now? He also knew about the fact that hackers had gotten OS X (the development release at the time) to run on common PCs, but he didn't seem to be nearly as concerned about it as Apple seems to be now (not surprising considering his legacy).

    Interestingly, Woz denied having anything to do with ADB (although he is frequently cited as the inventor), he carries a RAZR (despite his association with Danger, the company that produces the Sidekick) and a Bluetooth headset.

    I happened to have a Sony MagicLink with me, and Woz indicated that he hadn't seen someone actually using one in years.
  • by fbg111 (529550) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @02:46PM (#14786680)
    Woz: "We're a computer company, and we really think computers. Spinning off a separate division makes a whole lot of sense."

    Not anymore they're not. Now they're some combination of a media company, industrial design company, and computer company, to varying degrees. The other other Steve gets that...
  • by GrahamCox (741991) on Thursday February 23, 2006 @10:46PM (#14789925) Homepage
    ...and have a much, much smaller share of the market than they do now.

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