The printing company of XEROX but they thought it was useless and gave it away to Apple (ironic). Then Microsoft took it from Apple causing them to get sued. But Microsoft won.(interesting fact.. you may delete if you want... Microsoft's lawyer was Jon R.Stark... My math teacher and retired lawyer LOL).wiki.answers.com»
It was the first computer to use the desktop metaphor and mouse-driven graphical user interface (GUI). It was not a commercial product, but several thousand units were built and were heavily used at PARC, other Xerox facilities, at least one government facility and at several universities for many years. The Alto greatly influenced the design of some personal computers in the following decades, notably the Apple Macintosh and the first Sun workstations.
Beginning in 1979, started by Steve Jobs and led by Jef Raskin, the Apple Lisa and Macintosh teams at Apple Computer (which included former members of the Xerox PARC group) continued to develop such ideas. The Macintosh, released in 1984, was the first commercially successful product to use a multi-panel window GUI. A desktop metaphor was used, in which files looked like pieces of paper.
File directories looked like file folders. There were a set of desk accessories like a calculator, notepad, and alarm clock that the user could place around the screen as desired; and the user could delete files and folders by dragging them to a trash-can icon on the screen. There is still some controversy over the amount of influence that Xerox's PARC work, as opposed to previous academic research, had on the GUIs of the Apple Lisa and Macintosh, but it is clear that the influence was extensive, because first versions of Lisa GUIs even lacked icons.
These prototype GUIs are at least mouse-driven, but completely ignored the WIMP ( "window, icon, menu, pointing device") concept. Screenshots of first GUIs of Apple Lisa prototypes show the early designs. Note also that Apple engineers visited the PARC facilities (Apple secured the rights for the visit by compensating Xerox with a pre-IPO purchase of Apple stock) and a number of PARC employees subsequently moved to Apple to work on the Lisa and Macintosh GUI.
However, the Apple work extended PARC's considerably, adding manipulatable icons, and drag&drop manipulation of objects in the file system (see Macintosh Finder) for example. A list of the improvements made by Apple, beyond the PARC interface, can be read at Folklore.org. 5 Jef Raskin warns that many of the reported facts in the history of the PARC and Macintosh development are inaccurate, distorted or even fabricated, due to the lack of usage by historians of direct primary sources.
In 1986 the Apple IIgs was launched, a very advanced model of the successful Apple II series, based on 16-bit technology (in fact, virtually two machines into one).en.wikipedia.org»