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Path: utzoo!mnetor!uunet!seismo!sundc!pitstop!sun!warp!rock
From: rock%w...@Sun.COM (Bill Petro - Program Management Office)
Newsgroups: comp.sys.mac
Subject: MacWorld Expo Report: Gassee's address
Message-ID: <39319@sun.uucp>
Date: 19 Jan 88 20:11:15 GMT
Sender: n...@sun.uucp
Reply-To: r...@sun.UUCP (Bill Petro - Program Management Office)
Organization: Sun Microsystems, Mountain View
Lines: 116
Summary: "How to Keep Japan Inc. from Eating our Sushi".


Macworld Expo 1988 Report
  by Bill Petro

Report on keynote address by Apple VP Jean-Louis Gassee:
"How to Keep Japan Inc. from Eating our Sushi".

The outspoken and flamboyant vice president of research and development
for Apple Computer told the more than two thousand present that if
America licenses its processor technology and system software to the
Japanese it would lose its supremacy in the personal computing market.

In his twenty-six minute keynote address to the MacWorld Expo held at
Moscone Center in San Francisco Saturday morning, Gassee identified
what he believed were three trends that threatened America's position
in world economy.  First, he said, "In technology we are losing our
jewels."  "In the workplace", he said, "we are losing our spirit, and in
education we are losing our minds."  In education he said, we are
graduating from our colleges only one half of the engineers we need.
In the industry only 5% of the employees are engineers.  He said that
75% of the MIT graduating engineers are snatched up by Digital
Equipment Corporation.  In Japan, 30-40% of the employees are
engineers.  In the Japanese parliament, 53% of the members have
technical backgrounds, in the U.S. congress, only 2.  Not 2% but 2
people.  It escaped no ones notice that Gassee's background is as a
mathematician.

In the workplace, he pointed out that one of the most exciting
automobile manufacturers in America is in Ohio - Honda of Ohio.  But he
spent the most part of his time discussing the technological area,
where he felt that we are giving away our "crown jewels".  (He said
that the Apple legal department recommended against using the phrase
"family jewels".)  He pointed out that one of the things that has kept
the Japanese from developing a strong "home grown" personal computer
market is the difficulty of their language, their very difficult
script.  A fully developed vocabulary can take over ten thousand
characters, not words, to fully express it.  However, if America were
to license its two most significant technological weapons - its
processor technology and its system software, the Japanese would be
eager to test it, refine it and then offer to the market a cheaper,
faster, and better alternative.

"Freely licensing system software to all comers would be to give away
the crown jewels", said Gassee.  "Since Japan can get access to RISC
technology and the new standard operating system, in the same way the
Japanese can claim a huge market share as when the transistor was
licensed."  "Apple will not do this."  "It will adapt standards as they
will help customers."  This was greeted by a round of applause.  Gassee
did congratulate Digital Equipment Corporation for their "David-like"
success against the "Goliath" of the industry by using a proprietary
operating system.

Following his address were twenty-five minutes of question and
answers.  When asked what Americans should do, he said that
protectionism would not solve the problem of maintaining the
competitive edge we currently have in the personal computing market.
However, he did suggest voting with wallets.  Although he did not
mention any particular vendors by name, a question from the audience
mentioned Sun Microsystems.  He was careful to avoid a direct comment
about any particular company and tried to keep his answers general, but
did say that companies that followed the practice of licensing their
microprocessor technology and system software to the Japanese would see
their margins decrease.  He recommended that the "David's" must protect
their research and development ability, and that "a shot in the arm
now" could be "a shot in the head later".  "The Japanese are willing to
examine your product and offer some helpful comments about bugs, but
will then later say to the market, 'Yes that is nice, but we have
something that is cheaper, faster, and better'".

Gassee is an entertaining and engaging speaker, and is the most
personable and colorful of the Apple spokesmen.  He made jokes about
MBA's and lawyers.  However, on a couple of occasions he responded to
questions by not answering them in a way that one would hardly notice.
To the question, "How does Apple's local operating system avoid the
'Tower of Babel' situation we have now", Gassee curiously and rather
conveniently misunderstood the question and answered instead by
explaining that the Macintosh OS "resource files" could be customized
for any particular language in the world, replacing English with French
for example.  It was clear, at least to this reporter, that the
question dealt with a closed operating system in a world of emerging
standards.

A thirty minute panel discussion titled "Macintosh - Wizard of '88"
followed his address during which he was asked other questions.  To the
question about whether Apple was endeavoring to produce a second
standard with its QuickDraw page description language when it appears
that the industry is moving toward a universal acceptance of
PostScript, his answer was rather circumlocutious, suggesting
differences with screen and printer resolutions, and the difficulty of
re-engineering.  However, this view is not shared by all, and Cary Lu,
the "philosopher-writer" of the Macintosh world as much as said so in
the panel discussion.  He believes that there will and must be one
standard page description language.

When Gassee was asked about the rumor of whether Apple will supply a
answerlow cost" Macintosh, Gassee answered that Apple needed to maintain its
profit margin in order to supply the research and development needed to
maintain its high standards.  This answer was less than convincing and
Cary Lu made a number of interesting comments.  "Apple offers no
portable Macintosh, no low cost Macintosh, and no high powered
Macintosh", said Lu.  "Can one computer company supply the need?  If
RCA had not licensed its technology where would the television be
now?"  Lu wanted to see "just enough profit margin for research and
development".

Cary Lu offered three scenarios for the future.  "Apple could hold on
to its private operating system and others would compete like Windows,
X.11, and OS/2 and prices for the high end competitors would come
down."  Secondly, "it could be cloned without permission, and
forgetting the legal issues, there would be the difficulty of software
compatibility."  Thirdly, "Apple could license its ROM.  This might not
seem to be in Apple's interest.  But how about second or third
sources?  This would allow for a high performance or a low cost
machine."

{cbosgd,decwrl,hplabs,seismo,ucbvax}!sun!warp!rock  Bill Petro

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