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Office Hours

Windows 95 was the answer; plus, Sagan vs. Apple and how that turned out

We have a winner. Tmeatzie correctly noted that early on Windows 95 bore the codename “Spokane.” Our sources, who worked at the Redmond company, say the name lasted a short while, replaced by the official codename “Chicago.”

We gathered up this other odd little tidbit in our research: all the rest of this explanation is taken from the Wikipedia entry on Apple Inc. litigation.

In 1994, engineers at Apple Computer code-named the mid-level Power Macintosh 7100Carl Sagan” after the popular astronomer in the hope that Apple would make “billions and billions” with the sale of the PowerMac 7100. The name was only used internally, but Sagan was concerned that it would become a product endorsement and sent Apple a cease and desist letter.

Apple complied, but engineers retaliated by changing the internal codename to “BHA” for “Butt-Head Astronomer”. Sagan then sued Apple for libel. The court granted Apple's motion to dismiss Sagan's claims and opined that a reader aware of the context would understand Apple was “clearly attempting to retaliate in a humorous and satirical way, adding “One does not seriously attack the expertise of a scientist using the undefined phrase 'butt-head'.”

Sagan then sued for Apple's original use of his name and likeness, but again lost. Sagan appealed the ruling. In November 1995, an out of court settlement was reached and Apple's office of trademarks and patents released a conciliatory statement that “Apple has always had great respect for Dr. Sagan. It was never Apple's intention to cause Dr. Sagan or his family any embarrassment or concern.”

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The Spokesman-Review business team follows economic development in Spokane and the Inland Northwest.

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