Sculley: `No Backpedaling' From The Great Digital Hope

Your article "The great digital hope could be a heartbreaker" (Information Processing, Nov. 30) says "Sculley has backpedaled" from the vision of a digital world of handheld PDAs personal digital assistants, and accuses me of prematurely hyping the market. I would like to respond that there was, and is, no backpedaling from the vision on my part.

A year ago, Apple was conspicuous by its absence in the hype from almost everyone else in the personal computer industry around the proposed coming of the pen-computer revolution, which the pundits forecasted would be widely available by this fall. In January, 1992, I publicly stated that we at Apple thought pen computing wouldn't amount to much and were unfazed by the rush of companies that were then jumping on the bandwagon. I said at that time that we saw a far more important and exciting future centered on the convergence of digital-formatted information that could be widely shared over wireless digital networks using new classes of devices called PDAs, based on computer miniaturization and a new generation of intelligent software.

While PDAs might use pen input, this was not the big idea. The big idea was how telecommunications would be revolutionized in ways more significant than anything we have seen since the invention of the telephone. I said this was a vision that would begin in 1993 and become broadly available before the turn of the century.

We have not lost any of our enthusiasm for this vision. If anything, we are more confident that this new industry will turn out pretty much as we indicated last January and then again later in May. I found it curious that you chose to talk mostly with computer companies rather than telecommunications corporations and content providers. We can only wonder what AT&T, Motorola, McCaw Cellular Communications, News Corp., or R.R. Donnelley & Sons might have had to say.

John Sculley, CEO

Apple Computer Inc.

Cupertino, Calif.

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