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Pirates of Silicon Valley Essay

1.) What does this story tells us? What happens in the story? How does it relates us?

The Pirates of Silicon Valley is a film about Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple Computers and Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft. This film historically traces the development of these two computer companies from the time these two gentlemen are college (the early to mid 1970’s) to approximately 3 months before Steve Jobs was fired by John Sculley, then CEO of Apple Computer in 1985.

This story shows not only the development of these two computer companies, but also the rivalry between Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. It highlights the computer giants of that time, who were Hewlett Packard, Xerox and IBM. However, the idea of the personal computer was just gaining speed and this is where both Steve Jobs and Bill Gates found their niche.

What many people don’t know about these revolutionaries is that they worked together until Steve Jobs realized that Bill Gates developed Windows from software Apple had designed for their computers.

Why is it called “Pirates of Silicon Valley?” The irony of this situation is that Apple stole the “windows concept” from Xerox; hence the title, “The pirates of Silicon Valley”. Silicon Valley is an area of northern California where the computer development of the 1980’s and 1990’s surged.

The button line of the story it relates the sad facts that Steve Jobs had disaffected so many of his former best friends that none of them wanted to toast him for his 30th birthday, in fact, three months later Steve Jobs was fired from the company he helped found. He was later re-hired in 1997 and became the architect of the second Apple Microsoft co-endeavor bringing the companies and the movie full circle. Even though Steve Jobs was fired from the company, it was then not a waste because he was happily living with his family.

This film is a wonderful illustration of modern day entrepreneurs and gives us an inside look at the management style of both Steve Jobs and Bill Gates.I would recommend this film to anyone, student or not. It is an enlightening depiction of the evolution of a true phenomenon, the age of personal computers. Even more so, this film shows the men behind the machines, a story that shouldn’t be missed.

2.) This tech-world biopic traces the fortunes of personal-computer companies Apple and Microsoft from their obscure dorm-room and backyard origins to their very public battle for corporate supremacy. Writer/director Martyn Burke follows the parallel lives of Microsoft founder Bill Gates (Anthony Michael Hall) and Apple co-founders Steve Jobs (Noah Wyle) and Steve Wozniak (Joey Slotnick) — the former a crafty Harvard dropout, the latter a pair of hippies with jobs at Hewlett-Packard and a yen to sell miniature versions of corporate mainframes to small businesses and at-home enthusiasts.

Much like the personal-computer industry itself, the action starts with Apple then gradually shifts to Microsoft. The former plot thread recounts how Jobs and Wozniak “borrowed” key concepts from a Xerox computer lab, eked out their success as countercultural businessmen, and finally fell out with one another over the pressure of success. The latter thread focuses on the way Gates learned from, then surpassed, the brains behind Apple and turned his company into the global powerhouse that it is today. Based on Paul Freiberger andMichael Swaine’s Fire in the Valley: The Making of the Personal Computer, the film actually focuses only on that book’s final chapters. Produced for cable channel TNT, Pirates of Silicon Valley debuted June 18, 1999. ~ Brian J. Dillard, Rovi

3.) The film opens with the creation of the 1984 commercial for Apple Computer, which introduced the first Macintosh. Steve Jobs (Noah Wyle) is speaking with director Ridley Scott (J. G. Hertzler), trying to convey his idea that “We’re creating a completely new consciousness.” Scott, however, is more concerned at the moment with the technical aspects of the commercial. The film then flashes forward to 1997 as Jobs, who has returned to Apple, is announcinga new deal with Microsoft at the 1997 Macworld Expo. His partner, Steve Wozniak (Joey Slotnick), is introduced as one of the two central narrators of the story.

Wozniak notes to the audience the resemblance between “Big Brother” and the image of Bill Gates(Anthony Hall) on the screen behind Jobs during this announcement. Asking how they “got from there to here,” the film turns to flashbacks of his youth with Jobs, prior to the forming of Apple. The first flashback of the film takes place on the U.C. Berkeley campus during the period of the early 1970s student movements. Jobs and Wozniak are shown caught on the campus during a riot between students and police. They flee and after finding safety, Jobs states to Wozniak, “Those guys think they’re revolutionaries.

They’re not revolutionaries, we are.” Wozniak then comments that “Steve was never like you or me. He always saw things differently. Even when I was in Berkeley, I would see something and just see kilobytesor circuit boards while he’d see karma or the meaning of the universe.” Using a similar structure, the film next turns to a young Bill Gates at Harvard University, in the early 1970s, with classmate Steve Ballmer (John DiMaggio), and Gates’ high school friend Paul Allen (Josh Hopkins). As with Wozniak in the earlier segment, Ballmer narrates Gates’ story, particularly the moment when Gates discovers the existence of Ed Roberts’ (Gailard Sartain) MITS Altair (causing him to drop out of Harvard).

Gates’ and Allen’s early work with MITS is juxtaposed against the involvement of Jobs and Wozniak with theHomebrew Computer Club, eventually leading to the development of the Apple I in 1976 with the help of angel investor Mike Markkula(Jeffrey Nordling). The story follows the protagonists as they develop their technology and their businesses. At a San Francisco computer fair where the Apple II computer is introduced, Gates (the then-unknown Microsoft CEO), attempts to introduce himself to Jobs, who snubs him. This is followed by the development of the IBM-PC with the help of Gates and Microsoft in 1981.

It also follows Jobs’ relationship with his high school girlfriend (Gema Zamprogna) and the difficulties he had acknowledging the birth and existence of their daughter, Lisa. Around the time his daughter was born, Jobs unveiled his next computer, which he named, The Lisa. The Lisa was then followed in 1984 by the Macintosh, a computer inspired by the Xerox Alto. The main body of the film finally concludes with a birthday toast in 1985 to Steve Jobs shortly before he was fired by CEO John Sculley (Allan Royal) from Apple Computer. It also includes a brief epilogue, noting what happened afterward in the lives of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. The movie ends with Steve Jobs returning to Apple after its acquisition of NeXT Computer, and Bill Gates appearing live via satellite at a MacWorld Expo in 1997, during Jobs’ first Stevenote keynote address, to announce an alliance between Apple and Microsoft. 4.)

Summary: This movie showed the progression of the computer since the 1970’s. It also shows the competition between IBM. Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs. The movie gives a real life perspective of the struggles they faced in their personal lives and the struggles they went through within their companies. Jobs started constructing computers with his partner, Wozniak, in a small garage, while Gates began building computer software in a motel warehouse. Jobs became more successful than Gates in the beginning when he created the Apple Company and was making new computers almost every year.

Although Steve Jobs had great marketing skills, he treated his employees horrible. They worked extremely long hours and when he got mad, he would take it out on them. Gates was a lot more laid back with his employees. Throughout the movie Gates and Jobs tried their hardest to make their companies better than the others. Apple was more focused on creating the computers themselves and Microsoft was eager to design the actual software and hard drives that were being put into the computers. At one point in the movie Bill Gates saw what Jobs’ was doing and wanted to make his prototype his own.

He convinced Steve Jobs to let him work for Apple only later to find out that Gates stole the computer information and redesigned it to create his own computer and sell it to other marketers. After stealing Job’s ideas, Bill Gates became one of the richest men in the world. At one point in the career of Apple, Steve Jobs was fired only to return a few years later with an attitude adjustment. In the end, both companies became very successful but neither were able to gain each others full trust and merge into one large company.

Thoughts: I liked this movie a lot because it was very informative but also very interesting. It was inspirational to see two different companies that started out as nothing becomes something so big. Both Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were incredibly intelligent people who had their own strengths and weaknesses. Though they were great marketers, I don’t think I would be able to work for either of them. Steve Jobs treated his employees so cruelly while Bill Gates was so brilliant he might be hard to keep up with. Steve Jobs took more risks and developed things more quickly while Bill Gates took his time and in the long run came out ahead. I think they should make a sequel to this movie and show how much farther computers have come today.


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