[NTLK] iPhone is not the new Newton (& announcing a Newt sell-off shortly)

James Fraser wheresthatistanbul-newtontalk at yahoo.com
Mon Dec 28 03:08:43 EST 2009


--- On Sun, 12/27/09, Riccardo Mori <rick at poc.it> wrote:

> quoth James Fraser:
>> However, as Mr. Sattler asserts, Steve Jobs was
>> anxious to sweep out everything liked by John Scully, and
>> that included Scully's willingness to open things up (if
>> only a little).
> This "Jobs killed the Newton because Scully liked it" is an
> urban legend. When Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, he was
> faced with a company in a very bad financial shape, bleeding
> money in too many projects that were not focussed on the
> main Apple product: the Macintosh line of computers. So he
> started cutting off everything that at the time was not
> centered on the Mac and everything that wasn't helping Apple
> make money. It pains me to even write this, but the Newton,
> at the time, was a financial dead weight. 

I agree that Jobs was faced with having to "clean house" at a company that was bleeding red ink.  

At the same time, I think it's worth mentioning that the term "PDA" itself was identified exclusively with Scully, not Jobs.  So while Jobs cleaning house certainly made sense from a business perspective, (as you outline above) I'm not entirely convinced that all of Jobs' decisions were completely devoid of any egotistical considerations.  :)

Perhaps it's all a matter of how you happen to view the fellow.  If you view Jobs as functioning purely as a cold-eyed businessman, (something which his record at NeXT belies) it's easier to attribute what he did solely to a concern with the bottom line.  However, if you, instead, view Jobs as being an ego-driven kinda guy (and he's certainly shown traces of this) the claim that he axed the Newton in order to expurgate the last traces of a much-hated rival from Apple (as *well* as improve the bottom line) certainly holds water.

I think his actions can be viewed either way, depending on how charitable you care to be.  For myself, I'm convinced that giving the heave-ho to the Newton and the whole PDA concept was, for Jobs, a pleasure first and a business second. :)

> I've always bought devices for what they are, what they
> offer and whether they can be the best option for me,
> without really caring about Jobs' attitudes, especially
> because the anectodes about the man are so many I don't even
> know (and don't even bother to learn) which are true and
> which are not. 

Just so you know, the "keyboard and the car keys" story I related is not an apocryphal one.  Steve Jurvetson has a picture of the offending keyboard up:


...and Alan Deutschman saw fit to document the moment in his book "The Second Coming of Steve Jobs" (the "book" that Jurvetson alludes to).

For myself, I found it to be a revealing moment as far as what just Jobs thinks of end users, (not much, apparently) but I acknowledge that not everyone views it in the same light and your point is well taken. :)


James Fraser 

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