a spoof which they had been planning – BAZIC

This cracked me up. And I’m not even gong to try to explain how I came across it and i can’t even verify if it is true. From: http://akghona.webs.com/documents/Return_to_the_Little_Kingdom_-_Michael_Moritz.pdf

Wozniak, staggered to learn that the booth cost $5,000, was preoccupied with a more entertaining diversion. Along with Wigginton he was putting the finishing touches to a spoof which they had been planning for several weeks. Wozniak had composed an advert promoting a new computer called the Zaltair: a hybrid play on a new microprocessor, the Z- 80, and the Altair computer.

Imagine the computer surprise of the century here today. Imagine Z-80 performance plus. Imagine BAZIC in ROM, the most complete and powerful language ever developed. Imagine raw video, plenty of it. Imagine auto-scroll text, a full 16 lines of 64 characters. Imagine eye- dazzling color graphics. Imagine a blitz-fast 1200- baud cassette port. Imagine an unparalleled I/O system with full Altair-100 and Zaltair-150 bus compatibility. Imagine an exquisitely designed cabinet that will add to the decor of any living room. Imagine the fun you’ll have. Imagine Zaltair, available now from MITS, the company where microcomputer technology was born.

Wozniak described the computer’s software BAZIC: “Without software a computer is no more than a racing car without wheels, a turntable without records, or a banjo without strings. The best thing of all about BAZIC is the ability to define your ownlanguage. . . a feature we call perZonality. TM.”

With its corporate logo on the spoof and a coupon offering prospective customers trade-in allowances on their Altairs, the MITS management was not amused. It frantically stamped FRAUD and NOT REAL on all the brochures it could find. Finally, despite the $400 he had sunk into the prank, Wozniak began to get nervous, and worried that thousands of computers would be returned to MITS, he and his accomplices dumped cartons of dummy ads down stairwells.

Jobs picked up one of the advertisements and started to examine the details of the surprising new competitor—which Wozniak had plotted in a chart against machines like the Sol, IMSAI, and Apple beneath the line: “The mark of a microcomputer champ is performance.” Wozniak and Wigginton, who couldn’t smother their giggles, slid out through a side door, leaving Jobs inside gasping, “Oh, my God! This thing sounds great.” Jobs looked at the detailed rankings given in a performance chart on the back, discovered that the Apple II ranked third behind the Zaltair and the Altair 8800-b, and with an air of intense relief, sighed, “Hey, look! We didn’t come out too bad.”