Apple Code Release Will Take Us Back to 1983

Apple's Lisa computer famously flopped that year
By Josh Gardner,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 6, 2018 8:30 AM CST

The source code for Apple's 1983 computer that cost $10,000, may have led to the ouster of Steve Jobs, and is widely seen as the tech giant's biggest ever flop could soon be yours. Al Kossow, software curator at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, announced to a public mailing list that the code for the Lisa computer has been recovered and will be shared publicly once Apple gives approval to do so, which is expected to happen sometime this year, the Mercury News reports. 9to5Mac points out that while Lisa emulators exist, "this is notable as it’s not just a third-party hack solution" but an Apple-involved effort. Kossow adds that "the only thing I saw that probably won't be able to be released is the American Heritage dictionary for the spell checker in LisaWrite."

Named after Jobs' eldest daughter, the Lisa was one of the earliest computers to use a graphical user interface and mouse. Despite costing $150 million to develop and an ad campaign that featured Kevin Costner, only around 10,000 units were ever sold (the Mercury News points out that in today's dollars, the Lisa cost an eye-popping $24,700). Following the failure, Jobs was moved off the project by Apple CEO John Sculley, likely creating the rift that led to Jobs' 10-plus-year exile from the company starting in 1985. It also caused a second rift, between Jobs and Bill Gates, a story that involves Xerox and 100,000 shares of Apple; Gizmodo details it here. However, like Jobs, the Lisa would later prove to be a success in the form of its smaller, cheaper and wildly popular successor: the Macintosh. (More Apple stories.)

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