Pirates of Silicon Valley – the original Jobs vs Gates film

Just in time for the new ‘Steve Jobs‘ film that launches next weekend, cnet have an article re-reviewing the 1999 film, ‘Pirates of Silicon Valley’. I’ve written before how I’m fascinated by these dramatizations of IT history, although beyond historical facts you have to wonder how much of the character portrayal is exaggerated for show.

Anyway, Pirates is one of my favorites – for some reason I have a copy on VHS, DVD, and a few months back I paid to watch it again on streaming when I forgot I already had a copy on DVD. Must be getting old. It’s based in part on the classic textbook ‘Fire in the Valley‘ by Swaine and Freiberger, which was recently updated and re-released (2014 3rd Edition) to cover the death of Jobs, Gates and Balmer retiring from Microsoft, and start of the ‘post-PC’ era of mobile devices. The 2nd Edition that I picked up as used copy a while back (that I’m about 4/5 through right now) is subtitled “The Making of the Personal Computer”. The 3rd edition has been retitled ”The Birth and Death of the Personal Computer”. It’s a fascinating read (although long), covering far more history that the material that was used for the Pirates film. It covers early development of the MITS Altair and the IMSAI 8080, the Apple I, and several years before we even got to release of the IBM PC. It’s a fascinating read if you’re less familiar with the early days of microcomputer history. I’ll be picking up a copy of the updated 3rd edition at some point too.

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