Bill Gates created MacOS X?
April 10, 2001 1:24 PM   Subscribe

Bill Gates created MacOS X? I came across this memo written by Bill Gates on July 29, 1985 to John Sculley, then president of Apple Computer. In the memo, Gates writes about the possibility of licensing the Macintosh operating system to third party companies. Here's where it get wierd, Bill suggests that Apple talk to AT&T about migrating the MacOS as a GUI layer on top of their UNIX. Makes me wonder who had the idea first, Steve Jobs or Bill Gates?
posted by Brilliantcrank (6 comments total)
Yeah, first place I'd go for the truth about either one of those guys is Winer - he loathes them both equally (just say "AppleScript on every Mac" or "SOAP" in his presence to get him started - then sit back and watch the fun!).

Better check your chronology, though: even if those memos are real, Jobs had either already left Apple or was on his way out the door at that point. His next "big thing" (if you don't include his first failed foray into cube-shaped hardware) was NextStep, a functional GUI on top of a Mach-kernel-based Unix... kinda like Mac OS X turned out to be, huh? Funny thing, Apple bought the technology assets of NeXT after Jobs returned to Apple as interim CEO. Now ask the question: did Bill Gates create Mac OS X?
posted by m.polo at 3:25 PM on April 10, 2001

What's the problem with saying "Applescript on every Mac"?
posted by jragon at 3:57 PM on April 10, 2001

You shouldn't say "AppleScript on every Mac" around Dave Winer because the introduction of AppleScript essentially marginalized Winer's Frontier as a product and came very close to killing his company, Userland. To be fair, Frontier was on the scene two years ahead of AppleScript, and Apple has long had an unofficial policy of not competing directly with third-party developers (though there have of course been exceptions), so he had some reason to believe Apple wouldn't stomp on him. At the very least he probably expected them to buy him out rather than rolling their own, as they did.
posted by kindall at 4:47 PM on April 10, 2001

This isn't the first time we've had a UNIX/Mac fusion going on. Back in the System 6/7 days, there was this thinger called A/UX, which was a UNIX with the old-style Mac interface on top of it. It never really caught on, and it died with the advent of the PowerPC Macs. But in every respect, it sounds like the Mac GUI over AT&T UNIX thing described in this memo. So the question we should be asking is: did Bill Gates create A/UX?
posted by darukaru at 7:03 PM on April 10, 2001

Well, you gotta admit, A/UX does sound like the kind of clunky name Microsoft would come up with.
posted by kindall at 8:02 PM on April 10, 2001

A/UX? ... Microsoft had XENIX. Although MS contracted Santa Cruz Operations (SCO) to write the beast. At some point SCO bought the rights back, and renamed it to SCO UNIX. Later, SCO UNIX divided into UnixWare and OpenServer. All of which (to the best of my knowledge) continue to display Microsoft copyrights during boot-time.
posted by chrish at 8:13 PM on April 10, 2001

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