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Fumbling the Future: How Xerox Invented, then Ignored, the First Personal Computer Paperback – 1 Jun 1999

3.6 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: iUniverse (1 Jun. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1583482660
  • ISBN-13: 978-1583482667
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.8 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,137,118 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From the Author

Now Available On-Line
Through an arrangement with a "print on demand" publisher, Fumbling The Future is now available for order through Amazon.Com as well as others. We appreciate your continuing interest in this important chapter in American business history and the history of the Personal Computer!

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I have been a fan of the story of Xerox PARC ever since reading "Fumbling the Future" several years ago. In fact the lessons I learned contributed to my leaving engineering to get a business degree. Recently I read "Dealers of lightning" by Michael Hiltzik and was surprised to read through it and come across the Epilogue. In fact, I was actually disturbed by how easily the author relieved Xerox of its opportunity (and obligation from a shareholders perspective) to capitalize on the creativity and ingenuity of Xerox PARC. Those of us within the high-tech community certainly appreciate the open ended research that Xerox PARC conducted which has lined the pockets of so many that were never in any way associated with Xerox. However, if I was a shareholder of Xerox or any other company, I would be horrified by any management rationale that 'you are not obligated to exploit the technologies created within your labs'. Granted you may not be able to exploit all, but how about most? Xerox is not the government and is not using tax dollars for a collective good. I found the logic flawed and violates the basic motivations for establishing a commercial entity. I would recommend that for a business minded individual that you go read "Fumbling the Future" - which I have since reread. Reading "Dealers of lightning" was like watching a lawyer weave a case for premeditated murder against an accused and then claim temporary insanity as the final defense.
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Format: Paperback
This book tells the story of the greatest failure of a corporation in our time to create marketable products from truly great research. It starts by telling the story of how PARC was conceived and how it operated.

In 1973, a number of researchers at Xerox PARC demonstrated the "Alto". The Alto was the first "personal computer" designed not only on a human scale for a single individual but supported by a number of improvements that rendered it "instantly responsive to the user's demands", each of them revolutionary in the computer field. They included: a graphics-oriented monitor with "icons" and overlapping "pages" on the screen that was coordinated by the "mouse" input device; a word-processing program "for nonexpert users"; a local area network, the "Ethernet"; and an object-oriented programming language that combined data with certain commands, which hugely simplified computer operations.

These attributes represented nothing less than a paradigm shift for the computer industry, away from the punch cards, unwieldy printouts of results, obscure programming codes, and the awkward time-sharing arrangements that were the hallmarks of mainframe computers. At that moment, Xerox had a full five-year head start over its future rivals. (Amazingly, PCs have changed little. with the exception of incremental improvements, from this fundamental prototype.)

Unfortunately, few at Xerox headquarters understood the importance of these developments. From its beginning, many executives at Xerox headquarters viewed PARC as a kind of uncontrollable island of insolence and arrogance. When Xerox managers visited PARC, they were struck by the rudeness and counter-cultural feel of the place.
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By A Customer on 1 Aug. 1999
Format: Paperback
Dated, biased account of what happened at PARC and at Xerox headquarters. Very out of date, especially given PARC's foresight in terms of distributed, connected computers. It seems like the authors decided to bash Xerox even before they began their research. Save your money on this one. A better bet is "Dealers of Lightning" by Michael Hiltzik. That one points out what Xerox did wrong, and, oh, by the way, what they did right. (For example, make a couple of billion dollars out of the Laser Print industry.) The authors of this one just seemed to have it "in" for Xerox. I wonder if they used a windows based PC or Mac to type the original manuscript? Not without PARC, they wouldn't have.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Essential reading for all interested in the history of the evolution of the Personal Computer.Great insights into the inner workings of a major corporation.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Gives a fascinating account
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