22 years ago a group spun out of Apple on the premise that computer companies, communications companies and consumer companies needed to co-operate to produce products. A brilliant name was adopted for the new company.
The company quickly recruited as partners and investors some of the industry’s most glittering names: Sony, Matsushita, Motorola, Philips and AT&T among others.
An OS and a programming language were developed and, in 1994, AT&T and Motorola produced PDA-type products using handwriting recognition.
The company IPO’d in 1995, and the stock doubled on the opening day.
The products failed.
In 1996, a new management team focussed on developing a system to support PDA-type devices with voice recognition, text-to-speech and multiple-language capability.
This was successful gaining 2.5 million users. The company’s stock rose from $1 in 1997 to $18 in 2000.
Then the people who developed the system left, a new management team came in and two years later, in 2002, the company went out of business.
Moral: Working on the edge is a rough ride.