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Lot #5004
Steve Jobs Signed 1982 Apple Contract for Macintosh Word Processor

Steve Jobs sets the stage for the desktop publishing revolution—remarkable 1982 software development contract for the "MacIntosh Word Processor"

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Steve Jobs sets the stage for the desktop publishing revolution—remarkable 1982 software development contract for the "MacIntosh Word Processor"

DS, signed “steven jobs, chairman,” twelve pages, 8.5 x 11, July 12, 1982. Significant "Computer Software Development Agreement" between Apple Computer, Inc., and Randy Wigginton, as a semi-independent developer for a "MacIntosh Word Processor" and core editing routines. The contract provides the terms of the deal, including equipment to be loaned to Wigginton by Apple ("2 MacIntosh computer, 1 Lisa computer, 1 ProFile Disk Drive"), milestones to be met, and compensation/royalties to be paid. Signed at the conclusion in blue ballpoint by Steve Jobs as chairman of Apple Computer ("steven jobs, chairman"), and countersigned in black felt tip by Wigginton as the developer ("K. R. Wigginton, Member, Technical Staff"). In fine condition.

This significant document set the stage for the desktop publishing revolution—led by the Macintosh computer and MacWrite software—introduced two years later in 1984. Randy Wigginton was originally hired in 1976 as Apple Computer employee #6, making several key contributions to the company's early, cutting-edge work in hardware and software: he collaborated Steve Wozniak on the circuit design and ROM software for the Apple II in 1977, contributed to the RWTS (read/write track-sector) routines for the Disk II floppy system, developed an early spreadsheet program, and was a member of the original Apple Macintosh design team. Wigginton left Apple in September 1981 to work independently, but was soon contracted by Apple to help work on MacWrite on a semi-formal basis—the project outlined in the present document.

During this period, Apple was developing the Macintosh—an accessible personal computer which offered a radically new approach, featuring a graphical user interface (GUI), built-in screen, and mouse. All of these revolutionized the user's experience, marking the transition from command-line computing to a point-and-click model. In order for the Macintosh to be a success, it had to ship with 'killer applications' that demonstrated the new interface to the fullest extent. These would become MacWrite and MacPaint—a WYSIWYG word processor and a raster graphics editor, both of which introduced consumers to the possibilities of the GUI and propelled the broad adoption of the Macintosh.

In its preamble, this document acknowledges the importance of MacWrite in the Macintosh rollout: "Wigginton is in the business of developing computer products and has developed a computer software program described below that Apple recognizes is of value to its product marketing plans." Per the agreement, Wigginton shall own "the Product (including source code and object code)" while granting Apple "the exclusive license to market the Product for the MacIntosh family of computers only." However, Wigginton agrees that "as of the time that Apple first distributes copies of the core editing routines as part of a system sold to the public, then the license of the core editing routines hereunder is hereby converted to a transfer of ownership to Apple of all rights, title and interest in the core editing routines for use on any computer." The core editing routines—representing the ability to manipulate elements like font styles, fractional character width, leading, and full justification—were critical to the WYSIWYG process and were necessary to deliver a professional layout on a personal computer.

A remarkable, early Macintosh document signed by Steve Jobs as Apple's chairman, representing a pioneering product in the field of personal computing.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Apple, Jobs, and Computer Hardware
  • Dates: #673 - Ended August 24, 2023

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