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Q&A With George Crow, Reflections On Engineering The First Macintosh

Screen Shot 2015-04-02 at 10.55.14 AMGeorge Crow was part of the original Macintosh team, working alongside Steve Jobs at Apple, then later went on to co-found NeXT with Jobs before returning to his Apple stomping grounds in 1998. He retired barely eight years ago and recalls Macintosh’s early days and the current state of computing hardware.

I got to sit down with George and discuss today’s 30th anniversary of the Macintosh. Here’s an excerpt––you can read the whole conversation here.

Q:  30 years ago and the time leading up to it, did you expect it to get as big as it did and transformed the computer and other industries?

A: knew we were doing something important with the Macintosh and expected it to be successful, but I never dreamed that Apple would someday be the world’s most valuable company. The Mac certainly had an immediate impact on the software industry and really was the product that spawned Windows, but as recently as 17 years ago, the Mac was on the verge of becoming irrelevant. It’s interesting that the product that saved Apple, the iMac, was really the original Mac repackaged and updated to late ’90s technology.

Screen Shot 2015-04-02 at 11.12.55 AM

The original Apple Macintosh team. (George Crow on right)

Q: Is it bittersweet for you to not have Steve (Jobs) here on the 30th anniversary of the Macintosh?

A: Oh, absolutely. I worked with Steve for so long, I always feel loyalty to Steve and just a tremendous amount of respect so it’s very sad he’s not here. In fact, I was sad because when he was ill, of course, nobody was willing to admit he was ill and I didn’t feel comfortable approaching him since we didn’t have a real relationship after I left Apple. I’m sorry looking back. But the problem was he and Apple were trying to present this positive perspective that he was doing fine and I didn’t feel it was my place to call him up and ask him if he was OK.

Q: Do you wish you had reached out to him?

A: Emotionally, I do. But, intellectually I know why I didn’t do it. I was no longer involved with Apple and not really a part of Steve’s life and as much as I cared for him, he had bigger problems than talking to me. It was very difficult for me to not do it.

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