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and error write a specification
that said
- here's how the BIOS ROM needs to work.
It couldn't be close it had to be exact
- so there was a lot of detailed testing that went on.
You test how that all-important chip behaves,
and make a list of what it has to do
now it's time to meet my lawyer, Claude.
I've examined the internals of the ROM BIOS and
written this book of specifications
now I need some help because I've done
as much as I can do,
and you need to explain what's next.
- Well, the first thing I'm going to do is I'm going to
go through the book of specifications myself,
- but the first thing I can tell you Robert is that
you're out of it now.
- You are contaminated, you are dirty.
- You've seen the product that's the original work
of authorship, you've seen the target product,
- so now from here on in we're going to be working
with people who are not dirty.
- We're going to be working with so called virgins,
- who are going to be operating in the clean room.
I certainly don't qualify there.
- I imagine you don't.
- So what we're going to do is this: we're going to
hire a group of engineers
- who have never seen the IBM ROM BIOS.
- They have never seen it, they have never operated
it, they know nothing about it.
(Claude interrogates Mark) - Have you ever before
attempted to disassemble decompile or to
- in any way shape or form reverse engineer any IBM
Oh no.
- And have you ever tried to disassemble...
This is the Silicon Valley virginity test.
And good virgins are hard to find.
- You understand that in the event that we discover
that the information you are providing us
- is inaccurate you are subject to discipline by
the company
- and that can include but not limited to termination
immediately do you understand that?
Yes I do.
- OK
After the virgins are deemed intact,
they are forbidden contact with the outside world
while they build a new chip,
one that behaves exactly like the one in
the specifications.
In Compaq's case, it took 15 senior programmers
several months and cost $1 million
to do the reverse engineering.
In November 1982, Rod Canion unveiled the result.
- What I've brought today is a Compaq
portable computer.
When Bill Murto, another Compaq founder got
a plug on a cable TV show
their selling point was clear: 100 percent
IBM compatibility.
- ...It turns out that all major popular software runs
- on the IBM personal computer or the Compaq
portable computer.
-- That extends through all of this software for IBM?
- Eh Yes.
-- It all works on the Compaq?
The Compaq was an instant hit.
In their first year,
on the strength of being exactly like IBM but a little
cheaper, they sold 47,000 PCs.
- In our first year of sales we set an American
business record.
- I guess maybe a world business record.
Largest first year sales in history.
- It was a hundred and eleven million dollars.
So Rod Canion ends up in Aspen, famous for having
the most expensive real estate in America
and I try not to look envious while Rod tells me
which executive jet he plans to buy next.
- And finally I picked the Lear 31.
Oh really?
- Now that was a fun airplane.
Oh yeh.
Poor Big Blue! Suddenly everybody was cashing in
on IBM's success.
The most obvious winner at first was Intel,
maker of the PCs microprocessor chip.
Intel was selling chips like hotcakes to
and making them smaller, quicker and cheaper.
This was unheard of!
What kind of an industry had Big Blue
gotten themselves into?
- Things get less expensive every year. People
aren't used to that in general.
- I mean, you buy a new car, you buy one now
- and four years later you go and buy one it costs
more than the one you bought before.
- Here is this magical piece of an industry,
- you go buy one later it costs less, and it does
more, what a wonderful thing!
- But it causes some funny things to occur when
you think about an industry.
- An industry where prices

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