February 27, 1998: Out, Out Damned Newton
You can't tell by looking at them but they are out there: hardcore Newton fans. The Newton, many people will remember, was a personal digital assistant before PDAs were known as PDAs. It is difficult to say why the Newton has such a loyal following after all the intervening years and product enhancements. Perhaps some people just know a good thing when they see it.
John Sculley certainly thought he knew a good thing when he saw the pre PDA device and gambled that the Newton would carry Apple into the future on its handwriting recognition shoulders. John Sculley was mistaken; you could read the handwriting on the screen. It said, "Joan ScuIIey if bired" which translated from Newtonspeak is "John Sculley is Fired." Having hastened Sculley's departure or not, the Newton made it through two more CEOs and hundreds of thousands of wasted development dollars before it was spun off as an independent company.
The world will never know if the Newton could have stood on the merits of the product without Apple's backing, and true Newton fans cried a bitter tear on February 27, 1998, when Apple announced that further development of the Newton would cease.