Fumbling the Future: How Xerox Invented, Then Ignored, the First Personal Computer
Ask consumers and users what names they associate with the multibillion dollar personal computer market, and they will answer IBM, Apple, Tandy, or Lotus. The more knowledgable of them will add the likes of Microsoft, Ashton-Tate, Compaq, and Borland. But no one will say Xerox. Fifteen years after it invented personal computing, Xerox still means "copy."
More than anything
Paperback, 276 pages
Published May 1st 1999 by iUniverse
(first published September 1988)
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Bibliography from Scott Berkun's "The Myths of Innovation"
30th out of 96 books — 2 voters
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I've been meaning to read this book for 20 years and finally got around to getting hold of a copy and reading it. It provides a good high-level overview of the story of Xerox's ground-breaking research at PARC into some of the most important ideas and technologies that eventually made up the personal computer. However, the book mainly focusses on the management of Xerox and how they failed to take advantage of the huge lead they built in this area. Written by 2 management consultants, the book d...more
Xerox hired the best and brightest computer guys in the early 1970s. In 1973 they produced the Alto, a personal computer with bitmap graphic display & mouse; ethernet local area networking; and a laser printer. They called the system EARS (Ethernet, Alto, Research character generator, Scanned laser output). That’s right, they invented the PC, ethernet, the mouse, and the laser printer. Corporate management thought they were nuts and ignored it. This book describes in sweet detail the origin...more
I read this because the CEO of my company was in it. It is an interesting story about the failures of Xerox to capitalize on the computer revolution, ultimately to concede it to Apple, IBM, and Sun. It also showed how the culture of Silicon Valley was set by Xerox PARC, where so many future technology greats worked and eventually left to start their own companies (like Bob Metcalfe).