Steve Jobs hosts the Macintosh Dating Game at the Macintosh pre-launch event (1983)

Steve Jobs likes to think different. During Apple’s Annual Sales Conference in October 1983, the same event where the “1984” ad was first revealed, he presented key Macintosh developers in a funny and original way based on the famous TV show of the time – The Dating Game.

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Date: October 1983
Location: Honolulu Civic Center, Hawaii
Steve was 28 years old.

The Software Developers

Software was critical for the Macintosh’s success, and Apple did everything they could to get the big players to create killer apps for it. At the time, Microsoft, Lotus and Software Publishing Corporation were rising stars.

Let’s have a closer look at the three men awkwardly sitting on the stools trying to impress Steve Jobs. What are they up today? Hint: They’re all doing something different.

Fred GibbonsFred Gibbons – Software Publish Corporation

Together with two other ex-HP employees, Fred Gibbons founded Software Publishing Corporation in 1980.

Software Publishing Corporation (SPC) was well known for its “pfs:” series of business software products for the Apple II and DOS. But that’s about as far as they went.

Although they were one of the few privileged software maker to learn about the Macintosh before it’s launch, they never capitalised on it. They’ve never even created an app for it…

They chose instead to focus on DOS and IBM which made good money in the 80′s. But when the industry, and Microsoft, switched to the Graphical User Interface, they were left behind and were never able to catch up.

The company stopped its activities in 1996 and Mr. Gibbons is now a consultant.



Mitchel Kapor – Lotus

Mitch KaporKapor founded Lotus in 1982 with Jonathan Sachs  and created Lotus 1-2-3 in January 1983. In 1983, Lotus’ first year of operations, the company achieved staggering revenues of $53,000,000 and had a successful public offering.

The name referred to the three ways the product could be used: as a spreadsheet, a graphics package, and a database manager. The last function was seldom used.

1-2-3 was the most powerful spreadsheet available in the new PC-compatible market; sales were enormous, turning Lotus into the largest independent software vendor in the world almost overnight. The business plan had called for $1,000,000 in sales in the first year, but the actual results were $53,000,000.

Kapor left Lotus in 1987. A few years later he was the Chair of the Mozilla Foundation at its inception in 2003.

Watch this funny Lotus 1-2-3 promo video from 1983

Bill Gates – Microsoft

Bill Gates and WindowsNo introductions needed here. Bill Gates is, by far, the most successful and known software entrepreneur of all time. For better or for worst.

There’s something interesting however with Gates being at the event.

The event happened on October 1983 and Windows 1.0 was announced a month later on November 10, 1983!! (Note: it was released 2 years later)

Did Steve Jobs knew about this before the event?  Looking at Steve’s genuine grin on the video, it seems he didn’t. Andy Herztfeld story at seems to corroborate the fact the Jobs was clueless about Bill’s betrayal. Tst,tst.

Following the path of America’s great entrepreneurs, Bill is now focussed various philanthropy activities of his own.


For more about Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, check out this post:

  • Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Microsoft – it’s complicated