Interesting Questions, Facts and Information
- There are a total of 30 general entries.
Interesting Questions, Facts, and Information
Pirates of Silicon Valley
|Another company actually developed the innovative feature of the Apple IIE's successor. One which its Board of Directors decided not to produce, but to turn over to Apple instead (for free). What company?||"Pirates of Silicon Valley" - Pt 1
Xerox. As Steve "Woz" Wozniak says "It's pretty neat. Right? Click - you're there. Click - you're somewhere else. This Graphic Interface stuff was like a miracle back then. And WE got it! (Steve got it.) From Xerox who just turned it all over for us to fool with. Like rich people giving junky old stuff to the SA. Only the junk turns out to be a Rembrandt!"
It had a mouse and a graphical user interface (GUI). Later in the film when Bill Gates sees a Lisa for the first time, he goes berserk because it makes Microsoft's stuff look 10 years out of date.
Lisa. Steve Jobs named it after his first daughter, the child of his ex-girlfriend Arlene. Even though he was still adament he was not the father (despite passing the paternity test) he insisted Arlene not call the baby anything 70s-ish like "Rainbow" or "Orisha".
BASIC. A lot of people think Bill Gates originally invented BASIC (Beginners All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) but it existed at Harvard before he and Paul Allen were there. They were able to alter it to work on non-mainframes like the Altair, though.
A lot of people also think Bill Gates invented DOS but as we see later on in the film, he did not.
Arlene. They broke up about a third of the way through the film. Mainly because she found out she was pregnant and Steve insisted the kid was not his and didn't want to know.
We are not told. I did some research and found out they got that name from a picture of Isaac Newton (the man who discovered gravity when an apple fell onto his head). The Steves originally used that picture as their logo, but decided later to use the more commonly known rainbow-coloured apple logo.
I can also tell you that a Macintosh is a kind of apple. So the computer they invented by that name had nothing to do with toffees or raincoats.
|In 1976, where were Bill Gates and Steve Bullmer when Paul Allen was off on a plane to generate Microsoft's very first business in New Mexico?||"Pirates of Silicon Valley" - Pt 1
Strip-Club. As Paul flies off to New Mexico with a new programming language in his briefcase, Ballmer and Bill are having a night out on the town. The former has overheard the latter try to converse with a dancer. Ballmer shakes his head saying "Bill, you're gonna have to come up with a better pickup line because asking her her SAT score is NOT going to do it!"
But Bill has been thinking about Paul's briefcase and not listening. Suddenly he exclaims "Damn! I forgot to write a loader!"
Ballmer says: "That's not an improvement." not realising Bill was referring to computers.
Blue boxes. Blue boxes could imitate AT&T's tollcall codes. The Steves had another techie friend nicknamed "Captain Crunch" who found you could use said cereal packets' free whistles to make free toll calls. So Steve Wozniak invented the blue box and sold lots.
Harvard, in Boston. It says on the back of the VHS cover "Watch the quirky visionaries who jump-started the future." And we do see them doing some strange things, like having races with unattended bulldozers and running their home/office from a motel. (Slightly embarrassing, when businessmen turn up for a meeting and one is asleep on the couch...)
Poker. As Steve Ballmer said when he was narrating Microsoft's side of the story: "The guy could turn any human situation into a poker game. Forget about classes...poker! The fact that the world might end tonight...no problem: poker! Or we're finally deciphering the meaning of life...more poker?"
Berkeley - California. We learn this when narrator Steve Wozniak has a flashback to 1971 when he and Steve Jobs were dodging tear-gas and a police riot-squad during a Vietnam protest. (Steve Jobs said when they'd reached a hiding place "Those guys think they're revolutionaries? They're not revolutionaries, we are.")
Noah Wyle. Apparently he's better known for a role as a doctor on TV's "ER". (I said "apparently" because I've never seen that show.)
Michael Anthony Hall. I couldn't resist putting the "$" in the company name!
Microsoft became the richest company in the world because of the events depicted in this movie (and Bill Gates the world's richest man). As a result Microsoft is often assoicated with money as well as computers. Which is ironic, because years ago it released some new software called "Microsoft Money"!
Bill Gates. And that's how it went. That's the story of how Bill Gates and Microsoft became so rich and famous.
It's true Gates used other peoples' brainchilds like DOS and Apple's operating system. But I couldn't argue his point: Apple acquired the mouse and GUI from Xerox without paying a cent or doing any work.
"Pirates of Silicon Valley" was a clever name.
Gates has used Apple's software to invent Microsoft Windows. Bill retorts when Steve accuses him of theft: "Get real, would ya? You and I are both like guys that had this rich neighbor - Xerox - that left the door open all the time. And you go sneakin' in to steal a TV set. Only when you get there, you realize that I got there first. I got the loot, Steve! And you're yellin'? 'That's not fair. I wanted to try to steal it first.' You're too late."
Ridley Scott. The actor John G. Hertzler who plays Ridley Scott also plays Martok, the Klingon General, in "Star Trek - Deep Space Nine 9". He's quite a versatile actor!
Rembrandt. Later on, Bill Gates makes the same quote but when asked who originally said he says "I think it was Van Gogh."
Pepsi-Cola. At his welcoming ceremony John told everyone "Steve Jobs said to me 'Do you want to sell sugared water for the rest of your life, or make history?'!"
His private plane had crashed. "He was sick" were probably the first words that leapt to mind.
"Woz" had started playing with "expensive toys", as he called his new private plane. After it had crashed, he commented wryly "A computer guy with *memory* problems! A crash!"
|Steve Wozniak was in hospital at the time. But when he comes out of hospital and visits all his Apple colleagues in a local bar, half of them are the new Macintosh team and are throwing food and jeering at the others, who are flinging food right back. While Steve Jobs sits to the side and just laughs. What famous 80s song is (appropriately) playing in the background?||"Pirates of Silicon Valley" - Pt 2
"Everybody Wants To Rule The World" - Tears For Fears. When you think about, Microsoft DOES rule the world. Just not in the way Tears for Fears meant.
The song "Burning Down The House" is actually in the ending credits. And it's just as appropriate, because David Byrne and co sing "Watch out, you might get what you're after."
You know IBM? They're gonna want all our stuff.. Jobs is looking at his newly printed "Apple" t-shirts and trying to ignore Bill. Bill actually says all these things which do not interest Steve...until he mentions IBM. Jobs always hated IBM and did whatever he could to undermine their reputation and efforts. Later in the movie though, he would be considering Microsoft an even greater enemy...
|Bill Gates discovers Apple's latest computer (the "Lisa") which makes him very angry because it makes his own products look antiquated. He decides to visit his "friendly" competitors Apple in Silicon Valley, California.
But he arrives at the airport late, just as his plane is leaving. What does he do to convince the gate's staff to make the plane wait for him?||"Pirates of Silicon Valley" - Pt 2
Exaggerates the danger of computer viruses. He says to the unyielding senior gateperson "Sir I ask you, are you prepared to accept responsibility for what might happen if the computers in the airport all fail because of a virus?"
Paul Allen and Steve Ballmer were already on the plane and Paul had bet that Bill would miss the flight.
When the plane suddenly stopped, turned around and headed back to the gate, Ballmer knew immediately who was responsible and snatched back his money from Paul, laughing.
|At the important meeting, Gates and co tell some well-dressed executives that Microsoft has what they need. What Microsoft product are they referring to?||"Pirates of Silicon Valley" - Pt 2
MS-DOS. DOS, or the Disk Operating System, was what Bill Gates said IBM needed to "compete head-on with Apple".
But (and this is one of my favourite bits of the movie) Steve Ballmer turns to face us, everyone else freezes, and he says "This is amazing. Not just amazing, it's historic. It should be taught in all the history books. I mean, hung and framed in the National Gallery or something, because this is the instant of creation of one of the greatest fortunes in the history of the world! I mean, Bill Gates is the richest guy in the world because of what started in this room. And you wanna know what else? It wasn't exactly smoke and mirrors, but we didn't HAVE ANYTHING!"
But later Paul Allen was able to buy DOS from an acquaintance, so they were able to make their millions after all...
|As the three Microsoft eccentrics run through Miami airport carrying their luggage in one hand (and suits in the other), they are late for an important meeting. In the toilets where they are about to put on their suits, Bill suddenly realises he's forgotten his tie. What happens next?||"Pirates of Silicon Valley" - Pt 2
Ballmer leans over a cubicle door and asks the man in there for his tie. I don't think the man wearing the tie particularly appreciated Ballmer intruding on him at that exact point in time...
I've often wondered if this bit was true. I must get the book "Fire In The Valley" out someday. That's the book this film is based on.
|In conversation with Paul and Steve, Bill said "You know what they say in the Mafia? 'Keep you friends close, and your enemies closer.'"
Which enemies is he talking about in this case?||"Pirates of Silicon Valley" - Pt 2
IBM. The other three, of course, became his enemies either later on in the movie or in the real Bill Gates' life.
You make people need you. He said to Ballmer and Paul "You know how you survive? You make people need you. You survive because you make them need what you have. And then they have nowhere else to go."
Then he adds bitterly "Right now we're dead, nobody needs us."
|After Bill and Paul had spent time in New Mexico with the Altair Computer (whose company MITS went out of business) they moved their business to Seattle, and were joined by their old college buddy, the unforgettable Steve Ballmer.
Also a narrator, Steve Ballmer comments "It was a 2-bit little company called "Microsoft"." ("Bit" pun intended?) But according to the movie, how did they come up with the name "Microsoft" in the first place?||"Pirates of Silicon Valley" - Pt 2
We are not told in the film. Writing this question has made me curious...I just checked and apparently they just abbreviated the words "Microcomputing Software."