[Not single-page] A look back at one of Apple’s most beloved failures, starting with a purchase of the original Newton on eBay:
“Once I’d put four AAA batteries and a watch-battery backup into the MessagePad for the first time, powering it up felt like bringing it out of cryogenic suspension. Newtons, it turns out, begin their lives believing that it’s 5am on January 1, 1993. And the only way to set the year to 2012 is to flip the calendar forward, one month at a time. I tapped the MessagePad’s screen 230 times to set the date, watching the months flutter by like pages falling off a calendar to indicate the passage of time in some old movie.
“As I did, I was already struck by a fact about the PDA’s screen: It’s terrible. Terrible.“
[Not single-page] IBM and Microsoft teamed up on what was supposed to be the operating system that changed everything. It didn’t turn out that way:
“Meanwhile, Microsoft was two-timing the operating system it had co-created. In May 1990, it released Windows 3.0, the first version that was sort of decent. In terms of technical underpinnings, it remained creaky, but it gave garden-variety PCs the same sort of Mac-like pretty front end that OS/2 aspired to deliver. Consumers and businesses embraced Windows by the millions, instantly turning it from an apparent dud into a blockbuster. Every PC maker in the industry except IBM soon standardized on it.
“With Windows suddenly flourishing, Microsoft decided it didn’t have to share the future of operating systems with anyone else. It not only began to sever ties with IBM but also argued that OS/2 was, in senior vice president of systems software Steve Ballmer’s cheery words, ‘a dead end.’ The software that was originally supposed to be OS/2 3.0 morphed into Windows NT, the modernized version of Windows that both Windows XP and Windows 7 eventually descended from.”