PIRATES OF SILICON VALLEY (1999)
Cast: Noah Wyle, Anthony Michael Hall, Joey Slotnick, Jeffrey Nordling, Josh Hopkins Director: Martyn Burke
This past weekend I watched the movie Pirates of Silicon Valley by Martyn Burke. The movie is a flawed but intriguing character study of two of the most extraordinary individuals of our modern technological era. The movie is historically inaccurate. Nevertheless, it manages to capture the essence of how much of modern computing came to be: the cluelessness of Xerox about what its own computer scientists were doing; Steve Jobs' artistic vision at Apple; and Bill Gates' ruthless business practices at Microsoft. This is a must see picture as it shows how Bill Gates "borrowed" the whole concept of Windows from Steve Jobs, and turned it into his own program to monopolize the world of computer programming. After all, the two technology wizards dueled for the top spot for years. Sometimes they were partners, sometimes they were opponents; but, through it all, they constantly challenged each other like rivals.
-The movie does suffer from several historical inaccuracies. I believe that at least some of those inaccuracies were deliberate--attempts to oversimplify the historical record in order to shorten the length of the movie. It was a great depiction of the rise to power of Microsoft headed by Bill Gates. For example, the movie makes it appear that Apple's first attempt at a computer with a modern graphical user interface--the Lisa--was a tremendous success, when in fact it was a commercial failure. The story is somewhat standard but filled in with cool details that keep it interesting Jobs as a deadbeat Dad; Gates pitching his product to IBM (the IBM guy actually thinks all the money is in the hardware!), and the late-night screaming matches between Jobs and Gates. But portraying it as a success made it simpler to explain why Bill Gates got interested in dealing with Apple at that time. -Many people may not "get" it...
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