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15th Anniversary: How General Magic Engineered Our World

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Old 11-14-2008
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15th Anniversary: How General Magic Engineered Our World
Four**** years ago, a company called General Magic promised a handheld device that would make calls, send email, play music, and do almost everything else that makes today's iPhone so drool-worthy. "Bill and Andy's Excellent Adventure II" (April 1994) was about the two Macintosh vets—Atkinson and Hertzfeld—leading the project.
Unfortunately, they were far too early.
General Magic sank in 2002. But its legacy lives on, in part because the effort was a formative experience for a team of brilliant young engineers. Pierre Omidyar went on to start eBay. Tony Fadell heads Apple's iPod hardware group. Kevin Lynch cooked up Flash. And Andy Rubin created the Sidekick and Google's Android mobile platform. Not too shabby. As for Bill and Andy, they are still adventuring excellently: Atkinson works with the artificial intelligence startup Numenta, and Hertzfeld codes for Google.


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