Apple did not "rip-off" the Macs UI from Xerox. Apple had hired some people from Xerox (like Jef Raskin, Bruce Horn) who believed in concepts of a Graphical User Interface. These concepts are pretty broad -- like making a computer easier to use by using graphics (icons), using menus, windows and making a consistent interface to do things. The work on these concepts predates Xerox PARC -- in fact it was many of these peoples individual work on those concepts that got them hired at PARC. So Xerox (PARC) brought them together to refine them.
Apple's work on GUI's predates Steve Jobs visit to Palo Alto Research Center. Apple had already had the same broad goals of offering an easier to use computer, and possibly using some of the same concept (like menus, icons, and graphics).
Jef Raskin had worked at Xerox, and he was tooting the "easier to use" trumpet, with his vision of what that meant. He brought some of those ideas from Xerox, but he had brought some of those ideas TO Xerox as well. Later, he convinced Jobs to visit Xerox PARC, and Jobs became an immediate convert (for ease of use).
What Jobs saw at Xerox was a prototype Smalltalk development system. He did not see either a working ALTO or Star (which was developed much later).
Jobs was so hot on the concepts of UI, and the living Demos he say, that he, later, negotiated a deal with Xerox. He gave Xerox a large sum of stock in Apple (worth Millions) if he could come back, and bring some programmers -- to inspire them more on the concepts of GUI. This was like a one-day tour. This was agreed to by Xerox, and so by no stretch of the imagination could this be called "ripping-off"
Q From e-mail: I saw the movie last evening on tape, and to tell the truth I was quite disappointed. I thought that Bill Gates was portrayed as "kinder" than he really is, and I thought that they should have given you more credit and perhaps shed more light on your contributions. I also have one question; did Apple "steal" the GUI from Xerox (at PARC), or did they develop it themselves? And a personal question; how do you think the MacOS is better than Windows? What about MacOS X (any future?)? Sorry to be intrusive, but I am naturally inquisitive, and I figure if anyone would know the answers to these questions, it would be you. Thanks for your time. John
WOZ: Apple worked with Xerox openly to bring their developments to a mass audience. That's what Steve portrayed Apple as being good at. Xerox got a lot of Apple stock for it too, it was an agreement.
Microsoft just took it from Xerox or Apple or whomever. It took them a long time to get it halfway right.
MacOS has been more constant since it's beginning 15 years ago. Look how many times DOS and Windows have changed. That doesn't lead to stardards that feel good. MacOS always feels better to those of us who use both. It's been built in from the ground up, from the atoms of the OS up. It's also part of our culture to put a high priority on how easy it is to use.