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Actually this isn't quite true either. In fact Xerox would later sue Apple (which was dismissed for legal reasons -- largely because they waited too long to sue):

http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=3538913398421433...

Here's what Andy Hertzfeld says about it: Well, we had no formal relationship with PARC while we were developing the Mac. We got a single demo before the Mac project got off the ground, when the LISA project, that sort of cousin or bigger brother of the Mac, was in development. And so from that one demo we were already pointed in that direction but I would say that Xerox PARC demo galvanized and reinforced our strong opinion that the graphic user-interface was the way to go. And then the influence of PARC was strong in the project, but not through a formal relationship with PARC; more through PARC people getting wind of what we were doing and coming to work at Apple.

http://www.mac-history.net/the-history-of-the-apple-macintos...

And note that Gates also visited Xerox PARC in the same time frame. And speaking of people leaving PARC to work at Apple -- Simonyi applied to Microsoft in 1981. Clearly he was fairly familiar with the work at PARC.

All this is to say that claiming that Apple had exlusive rights to the Xerox technology and everything Microsoft learned about it came from Apple is an absurd claim. Bill's quote is pretty accurate.




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