Speaking on Sunday MIDDAY, a programme run on India’s NDTV network, Woz conceded that the Apple III had been a failure – something that few would dispute – but also said that the Macintosh had been a failure too.
“The Apple III was a failure, the LISA was a failure and the Macintosh was a failure. It was only by modifying the Macintosh hugely and over time that we made it a good computer,” Wozniak said.
The failure of the Apple III was caused by marketing executives being in charge of the project. “If the guys at Apple had built the machine that they would love, it would have been successful. It came instead from formulas from Apple executives.
“Marketing people were in charge and some very bad decisions got made, in my opinion. There were hardware failures. You put out a product that has failures right away, and even if you fix it a year later, it just doesn’t sell. It’s the same thing with any smartphone today. It comes out and it has something horribly wrong about it. You can fix everything wrong about it, and it still won’t sell. It has missed its window of opportunity.”
In contrast, Wozniak said that the success of the Apple II was in large part due to his fellow Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. “Steve Jobs had a large part to play in it, and he knew where he wanted to go with it. It was an excellent product. Steve Jobs sought the best things in the world. He knew that I was the best designer, and that Apple II was the best computer, and that’s why he wanted both.”
Wozniak claims in the interview not to have read Walter Isaacson’s biography of Jobs, though he does actually own the title. “I have been so busy that I never read it. But I have lived a lot of it. So I am sure it is accurate. Steve Jobs was himself after honesty in the book, and he did not want the book to be closed or to hide the truth.”
He describes Jobs’ death as a “shock”. “Steve Jobs was such an important part of my life that sometimes I tear up,” he said.