Microsoft: So cool, it invented Apple, too

Microsoft's head of research claims to have invented Apple, but there's a big difference between writing code and creating a killer product.

Al Gore may have invented the Internet, but Microsoft's head of research, Rick Rashid, has an even bigger claim: he invented Apple.

Speaking at a recent Microsoft Professional Developers Conference, Rashid makes the claim that he wrote Apple before Apple was cool, as captured in All Things Digital:

If you use a Macintosh or an iPhone, which honestly, I would not recommend, you would be using code that I wrote more than 25 years ago. If you'd asked me 25 years ago if I thought code I was [writing would be] running today on a cellphone, my reaction would have been, 'What's a cellphone?' It just shows you things really do survive and get used in interesting ways.

It also shows why the US copyright system rewards those that implement ideas, and not merely those that have ideas, or why it's critical to move beyond "mere code" to implementing it in killer products and a rising company, as Apple has.

It's nice that Rashid was involved in writing Mach, the microsystem kernel powering Mac OS X today, but I'm guessing that Rashid would have preferred to have his company follow through and write OS X, rather than Vista.

Maybe in 25 more years, Rashid.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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