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Bob Cringely-I'm its premier gossip columnist and everyone tells me all their secrets. Paul Allen-belongs to him -- the Portland Trailblazer's basketball team, their arena, even the dancers. Thanks to personal computers, he has $8 billion to spend on such toys. Twenty years ago Allen and his high school friend, Bill Gates, were running a two-man software company called Microsoft- now it's the third largest industry in the world. Steve Jobs Co-founder, Apple Computer the visionary who saw microcomputers as a possible business Steve Wozniak Co-founder Apple Computer the technical wizard the Mozart of digital design Bill Gates Co-founder, Microsoft Worth $13 billion Steve Ballmer Vice President Microsoft Worth $3 billion mainframe computer - all of these cabinets are one machine. Silicon Valley, south of San Francisco, California.Growing-up here near the electronics companies that give the place its name. Douglas Adams Sci-fi author Christine Comaford CEO Corporate Computing Int. Graham Spencer is chief programmer for Architext Software Mark Van Haren Programmer, Architext Mat Hostetter Programmer, ARDI Doug Muise Software designer Joe Krause President Architext We call them engineers, programmers, hackers, and techies, but mainly we call them nerds.(particular type of boy who would rather struggle with an electronic box than with a world of unpredictable people.) *Edwin Chin

*you have to give the computer instructions, also in code, to tell it exactly what to do with the data and in what order. These instructions are called a program. Machine language. The ENIAC could compute the thirty second trajectory of a shell in twenty seconds. Operators required two days to program it do so. Then a US Navy captain Grace Hopperinvented a computer language. English words that the computer itself could translate into binary code. Like most things having to do with computers,that first language had a silly name - COBOL. It was followed by other languages like FORTRAN and BASIC and they all made computing just a bit more user-friendly.

This is it the chip the microprocessor, this is what allows you to have a mainframe computer on your desk. These are the people who invented the microprocessor -- Intel. Their microprocessors today power 85 percent of the world's computers. Gordon Moore Co-founder, Intel In January 1975 featured on the cover of Popular Electronics was the world's first personal computer the Altair 8800. It was the crazy idea of an ex-airforce officer from Georgia - Ed Roberts-Founder, MITS Eddy Currie -- Ed Roberts' best friend.

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Out in the desert near the airport in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Ed Roberts ran a calculator company called MITS. David Bunnell-Founder PC World and Mac World Magazines Mike Markkula. Altair computer - the first personal computer. And not just any Altair - this is Altair serial number 2, the second one made. The first Altair made was sent off to be photographed at a magazine and was lost in the mail. So this is the oldest personal computer in the world. The nerds formed clubs to talk about their new toy. One of the first was the Homebrew Computer Club, which met on Wednesday evenings in a hall rented from Stanford University in Silicon Valley. Presiding over near-anarchy was Lee Felsenstein who pretended to be in charge. *The Apple II was launched at Jim Warren's West Coast Computer Faire -- one of the first big microcomputer shows. Andy Hertzfeld Apple Computer Designer Chris EspinosaManager, Media Tools, Apple 14 year-old, who never left. He still works at Apple, almost 20 years later. ex-Intel manager Arthur Rock Venture Capitalist

Roger Melen and Harry Garland started an early computer company. They came here to meet others and to figure out just what the heck could be done with this new toy -- a solution in search of a problem. There's no keyboard that I can see. The Altair was tedious to use. At first, the only way that data and instructions could be given to the computer was by flipping switches. Jim Warren knows better than most what the hippy movement did for the PC. A sixties radical himself, he staged the West Coast Computer Faire -- for a time the biggest computer show in the world. The Faire was where the PC really arrived. It's also where Jim got rich. Apple Computer, the first mass market PC company. The Apple founders, a couple of recent graduates from Homestead High were regulars at Homebrew meetings. But Apple wasn't their first business. Woz& Jobs had once built a device to cheat the phone company - they called it a blue box-devices that could put tones into your phone and direct the phone company to switch your calls anywhere in the world for free

killer application. Software that's so useful that people will buy computers just to run it. For the Apple II, this application was called VisiCalc- VisiCalc was the first electronic spreadsheet. Invented by a graduate student, Dan Bricklin with his programmer friend Bob Frankston(VisiCalc Programmer)

spreadsheet is a tool for financial planning, bringing together for the first time the seduction of money with the power of microcomputing.

VisiCalc hit the market in October, 1979, selling for $100. Marv Goldschmitt sold the first copies from his computer store in Bedford, Massachusetts. ***END OF PART I***

Vern RaburnPresident, The Paul Allen Group Former Vice-President Microsoft Gordon Eubanks Over 60 years, Tom Watson and his son, Tom Jr., built what their workers called Big Blue into the top computer company in the world. But IBM made mainframe computers for large companies, not personal computers -- at least not yet. Sam Albert Former IBM Executive IBM is like Switzerland -- conservative, a little dull, yet prosperous. It has committees to verify each decision. The

The Apple 1 was even less of a computer than the Altair -- a single circuit board that came with neither a case nor a keyboard. Still, Steve Jobs managed to sell 50 Apple 1's. That experience showed Jobs there was a market for a real computer -- the Apple II.

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safety net is so big that it is hard to make a bad decision - or any decision at all. Rich Seidner Former IBM Programmer Jack Sams Former IBM Executive In August 1979, as IBM's top management met to discuss their PC crisis, Bill Lowe ran a small lab in Boca Raton Florida. Chairman Frank Carey Bill Lowe Head, IBM IBM PC Development Team 1980 A PC is a boxful of electronic switches, a piece of hardware. It's useless until you tell it what to do. It requires a program of instructions...that's software. Every PC requires at least two essential bits of software in order to work at all. First it requires a computer language. *Remember it was a computer language called BASIC that Paul Allen and Bill Gates adapted to the Altair...the first PC. operating system is the internal traffic cop that tells the computer itself how the keyboard is connected to the screen or how to store files on a floppy disk instead of just losing them when you turn off the PC at the end of the day. Operating systems tend to have boring unfriendly names like UNIX and CPM and MS-DOS two contenders -- the late Gary Kildall, then aged 39, a computer Ph.D., and a 24 year old Harvard drop-out - Bill Gates. By the time IBM came calling in 1980, Bill Gates and his small company Microsoft was the biggest supplier of computer languages in the fledgling PC industry. Gary Kildall.Founder Digital Research. He ran a company modestly called Interglactic Digital Research. Gary had invented the PC's first operating system called CP/M. Jim Warren Founder West Coast Computer Faire 1978 Vice-President Microsoft

the operating system Tim Patterson wrote. He called in QDOSthe quick and dirty operating system. Microsoft and IBM called it PC DOS 1.0 As August 1981 approached, the deadline for the launch of the IBM Acorn, the PC industry held its breath. IBM secrecy had codenamed the PC 'The Floridian Project.' Bob Metcalfe Founder 3COM Sparky Sparks Former IBM Executive Based on Visicalc, but called Lotus 1-2-3,

Rod Canion Co-founder Compaq Only one part was IBM's alone, a vital chip that connected the hardware with the software. Called the ROM-BIOS, this was IBM's own design, protected by copyright and Big Blue's army of lawyers. Compaq had to somehow copy the chip without breaking the law. Claude Stern Silicon Valley Attorney *In November 1982, Rod Canion unveiled the result. Bill Murto another Compaq founder Jim Cannavino Former Head, IBM PC Division *The average Microsoftee is male and about 25. *They chose people who had no experience of life in other companies. In time they'd be called Microserfs.

Christine Comaford- CEO Corporate Computing Intl. Jean Richardson Former VP, Corporate Comms, Microsoft Jack Sams

Charles Simonyi Chief Programmer, Microsoft *IBM planned to steal the market from Gates with a brand new operating system, called OS/2. IBMers were buttoned-up organization men.

Steve Ballmer

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Microsoftees were obsessive hackers. With the development of OS/2 the strains really began to show. Microsoft was DOS. To keep DOS competitive, Gates had been pouring resources into a new programme called Windows. Larry Ellison Founder, Oracle Esther Dyson Computer Industry Analyst TheWindows software system that ended the alliance between Microsoft and IBM pushed Gates past all his rivals. ***END OF PARTII*** It's August 24th, 1995. In a suburb of Seattle in the Pacific Northwest, this is the biggest, noisiest product launch in the history of the personal computer. It'sWindows 95 software and Bill Gates is the star, chairman, chief nerd and spiritual leader of Microsoft. *It was said that of the top 100 computer researchers in the world, 58 worked at PARC. Strange, as the staff never exceeded 50. John Warnock Former Xerox PARC Researcher Larry Tesler Former Xerox PARC Researcher Adele Goldberg Former Xerox PARC Researcher This is a computer room in the basement of the Xerox Pala Alto Research Centre...about twenty five years ago they built the max time sharing system and now it's loaded with all sorts of other computers and eh there's one that we're really interested in here let's see here it is let me turn on the lights. OK here we have it. This is a Xerox/Alto computer built around 1973. Some people would argue that this is the first personal computer. Ah it really isn't because for one thing it wasn't ever for sale and the parts alone cost about $10,000 but it has all the elements of quite a modern personal computer and without it we wouldn't have the Macintosh, we wouldn't have Windows we wouldn't have most of the things we value in computing today and ironically none of those things has a Xerox name on it. *This promotional film made in the mid seventies, to flaunt XEROX PARC research, shows just how revolutionary the Alto was. It was friendly and intuitive. It had the first GUIusing a mouse to point to information on the screen. It was linked to other PCs, by a system calledethernet, the first computer network. Bob Metcalfe Former Xerox PARC Researcher Larry Tesler Chief Scientist, Apple Computer John Warnock *At the height of Apple's early success in December 1979, Jobs, then all of 24, had a privileged invitation to visit Xerox Parc. Adele Goldberg Founder, PARC Place Systems mouse is a pointing device that moves a cursor around the display screen.

** Bill Gates can claim that Windows 95 is the latest and perhaps the most significant improvement in the PC since it was invented. This is an IBMPC circa about 1983 and on it I have written a letter to my bank manager asking him to back one of my get rich quick schemes and I need to file the letter now and let me show you how I do it - there will be a test on this. OK the commands are - copy c, colon, backslash, quickrich, dot, doc space a colon bakcslash begging and return - well not very easy to do. Here's a windows PC about twelve years newer and we'll do exactly the same thing - I've written a document - quickrich, dot doc and I put it in the begging file and it yes I really do mean to do it and that's it. Pictures rather than words making the PC easy and intuitive. This is called a Graphical User Interface - GUI or gooey where they come up with these names. The battle to bring gooeys to PCs and make them more user friendly took ten years and is a helluva story - that is what this program is about. Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) Bob Taylor Former Head of Computer Science Lab, Xerox PARC -ran the Computer Science Lab

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Bill Atkinson Designer, Macintosh Development Team *Jobs found his answer from Jeff Raskin, Apple employee number 31. Raskin's idea was a $600 computer - as easy to use as a toaster - code-named Macintosh, after America's favourite apple. Jobs liked the price but not Raskin's design ideas. So Steve took over the Macintosh project, determined to make it a cheaper Lisa. Andy Hertzfeld Designer, Macintosh Development Team While Jobs pursued his MacMission he needed a more orthodox chief executive to run the company. A respectable face who could sell to corporate America. He chose Pepsi-Cola executive John Sculley. Sculley refused - leave Pepsi for 4 year old company that had been set up in a garage! Are you serious?! But it was hard saying no to Steve Jobs. John Sculley President, Apple Computer, 1983-93 For the young Mac team, average age 21, this was the start of the toughest, but most exhilarating assignment of their lives, relentlessly driven by Jobs' ego. The LISA had all its own applications but of course they required a lot of memory ah and we thought we could do better and so Steve signed a deal with us to actually provide bundled applications for the first Mac and so we were big believers in the Mac and what Steve was doing there. *Steve Jobs Most people don't remember, but until the Mac Microsoft was not in the applications business...it was dominated by Lotus. And Microsoft took a big gamble to write for the Mac. Bill Gates I signed up for Excel and Chart and File. He didn't buy Word because he had Macwrite going on and so we were part of that Mac development. Jeff Raikes Vice-President, Microsoft And so we got started in early 1982 on our Macintosh software effort and I think at that point in time you know, it really clicked with Bill that you know, graphic user interface was going to be the way, the way of the future. But while Bill was having his own GUI revelation, Jobs believed that Apple's true enemy was IBM. Chris Espinosa Manager Media Tools, Apple

It was now all or nothing, because Lisa had turned out an expensive flop. The fate of the whole company seemed to rest on the launch of the Mac. John Sculley had even authorised a 15 million dollar advertising campaign to coincide with the Mac's public unveiling - January 24th, 1984. Macintosh -first affordable personal computer with a genuine graphical user interface. It was also the first computer to be a monument to one man's ego. John Scully I was standing off-stage and as he came off he said this is the proudest happiest moment of my life and it was all over his face it clearly was cause he had launched a revolution. Steve Jobs I think part of what made the Macintosh great was that the people working on it were musicians and poets and artists and zoologists and historians who also happened to be the best computer scientists in the world. a PC must have an application which alone justifies buying the whole box. The IBM PC had Lotus 1-2-3. The Mac needed its killer application. Wysiwyg - another bunch of initials, from the world of the nerds. Eighty per cent of our brain is devoted to processing visual data but that's not the same for computers. **Apple's problem was the dot matrix printer. It gave everything a type-writer quality. But salvation was at hand and once again it owed a lot to Xerox Parc. John Warnock, One of Parc's former brains, -had invented a technology that allowed a laser printer to print exactly, precisely what was on your screen. -He started a company called Adobe to market his invention - when along came Steve Jobs. John Warnock Co-founder, Adobe Systems The power of precise laser-printed images and a user friendly gui gave birth to a brand new business - desk-top publishing. *Now using break-through software we could create fancy artwork, snappy-looking note-paper - even counterfeit money. The Mac had found its killer application - and would soon become the PC of choice for any creative business. Dana Muise Founder, Hypnovista

John Sculley, whom Jobs saw as his own creation, presented the board with his strategy to save the company. The plan did not include Steve Jobs. Steve Ballmer was the development manager for Windows 1.0 The launch of Windows 3 in 1990 killed off Apple's hopes that the Macintosh would win the gui wars. On August 24th 1995, Gates delivered the coup de grace to his software rivals. Windows 95 - combines a PC's operating system and its graphical interface into one package. *Bill Gates isn't resting on his laurels. He's making new alliances, like investing in Steven Spielberg's new movie studio, Dreamworks. He's in cable TV with broadcaster NBC and in competition with Rupert Murdoch and Mickey Mouse. Gary Kildall -became businessmen by accident. Larry Ellison is the boss/ president of Oracle, a booming business that sells software to companies who share information among hundreds of users.

Apple, the company Jobs took from a garage to the Fortune 500 is in trouble. It is now a fading force in the PC marketplace. Apple's other millionaire founder Steve Wozniak spends much of his time teaching computing to 11 and 12 year olds. IBM created the mass market for the PC but no longer sets industry standards. And most of the guys who built IBM's first PC have left Big Blue. And Ed Roberts who built the Altair, the very first PC, he turned his back on computing and returned to his first love, medicine. ***END OF PARTIII***