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March 17, 1988: Apple sues Microsoft for stealing 189 elements of Macintosh OS
Posted by: pRICE cUBE
Date: March 17, 2020 12:46PM

March 17, 1988: Apple sues Microsoft for allegedly stealing 189 different elements of its Macintosh operating system to create Windows 2.0.

The incident, which causes a deep rift between Apple and one of its top developers, paves the way for an epic battle between the two companies that will rage for years.
Microsoft goes from friend to foe
As a valued developer, Microsoft got a behind-the-scenes look at the development of the Macintosh project prior to its 1984 release. Shortly after the Mac 128K went on sale, Microsoft founder Bill Gates wrote then-Apple CEO John Sculley. Gates suggested Apple should license the Macintosh operating system to outside manufacturers to help establish it as the standard interface for personal computing.

Sculley was tentatively open to the idea. But on June 25, 1985, Apple exec Jean-Louis Gassée shot down the proposal. (Gassée took over running the Mac division from Steve Jobs.)

Gates decided to capitalize on what he saw as a great business opportunity to create a mass-market operating system. He debuted Windows on November 15, 1985.

Sculley reacted furiously when he saw Windows, although version 1.0 did not compare well to Mac OS. For example, although the new Microsoft OS featured onscreen windows, they could not overlap one another.

However, in some ways Windows seemed eerily close to Mac. For one thing, Microsoft packaged it with built-in apps Write and Paint, which were reminiscent of MacWrite and MacPaint.

Since Microsoft made up two-thirds of software sales for Mac at the time, it was in nobody’s interest to break up the partnership. Mac sales were underperforming as it was, and Microsoft’s first version of Windows was no more threatening than any of the other Apple knockoffs floating around.

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