Former Apple engineers at OQO call it quits

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
OQO, a company formed by two members of Apple's Titanium PowerBook G4 team who left the company to deliver the micro-sized laptops that Steve Jobs refused to build at Apple, is shutting down after nearly a decade of trying.



Jory Bell and Nick Merz left Apple in 2000 to form OQO after a struggle within Apple to develop prototype designs for a new micro-sized laptop that resembled a miniaturized Titanium PowerBook. By 2004, OQO had produced a tiny Windows XP device using the Transmeta Crusoe processor.



Since then, the company has shipped machines based on Microsoft's UMPC reference designs, which have found a small but ecstatic fan base. The company's sales have been unable to keep the operation afloat however, underlining Jobs' instincts that the market wouldn't support a tiny mobile handheld laptop even if it were a cool bit of engineering.



"We are sad to report that due to financial constraints, OQO is not able to offer repair and service support at this time," the company has stated. "We are deeply sorry that despite our best intentions, we are unable to provide continued support for our faithful customers. Please accept our sincerest apologies." OQO is no longer answering phones.



A blogger for GottaBeMobile.com reported comments from Bob Rosin, OQO's SVP of sales and marketing, who expressed hope that the company's technology and engineering teams could stay together "if a deal they?re working on with another PC vendor pans out."



The company is currently out of stock of its devices, and plans to complete a final manufacturing run didn't work out as hoped. There's no word yet on the identity of the PC maker interested in acquiring the group.



Apple has expressed no interest in developing a conventional netbook or UMPC-like device, but has signaled intentions to both deliver lower cost, WWAN enabled MacBooks later this year and to deliver a wider array of iPhone and iPod touch models, including a new tablet device many observers expect to see next year. The company is also actively hiring engineers.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 53
    taurontauron Posts: 911member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    OQO, a company formed by two members of Apple?s Titanium PowerBook G4 team who left the company to deliver the micro-sized laptops that Steve Jobs refused to build at Apple, is shutting down after nearly a decade of trying.



    ROFLMAO!!!

  • Reply 2 of 53
    mactrippermactripper Posts: 1,328member
    They just didn't have...







    ...a "Reality Distortion Field" generator.





    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reality_distortion_field
  • Reply 3 of 53
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    By all accounts it was a nice piece of engineering, but if that type of machine can't make it as a Windows device, what chance would it have had in the much, much smaller Mac market?



    There's a quote around somewhere from Jobs to the effect that he's just as proud of some of the things Apple has said "no" to as the things Apple has built.
  • Reply 4 of 53
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,840member
    As Jobs might say: "Boom".
  • Reply 5 of 53
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,221member
    They were too early.



    Had they launched a product now they'd have had more options for design and better processors. Consumers now are moving away from thinking of portable computers as a "laptop" and towards thinking of Smartphones and other internet enabled devices are portable.



    9 years ago this "mobility" ideology wasn't as pervasive.
  • Reply 6 of 53
    zunxzunx Posts: 620member
    The OQO was a magnificent piece of hardware. But it failed simply because it was too expensive at 3,000 USD.



    The OQO is absolutely awesome to carry it in your pocket (just 450 g) and use it for PowerPoint presentations using the VGA-out port. Because even the MacBook Air is too heavy and too large.



    There is no alternative to the OQO. Unless Apple makes something like a 300 g tablet with VGA video out and Mac OS X inside to run PowerPoint and Keynote NATIVE files.
  • Reply 7 of 53
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    Doesn't the rise of netbooks kind of obviate things like the OQO?
  • Reply 8 of 53
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,743member
    LOL, it seems Apple really does know best.
  • Reply 9 of 53
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,229member
    You'd be amazed at the hundreds of former Apple colleagues who think they can be the next Steven P. Jobs.
  • Reply 10 of 53
    tofinotofino Posts: 697member
    i seem to recall this thing costing thousands of dollars. can you imagine the outcry if apple had introduced it? we never would have heard the end of it...
  • Reply 11 of 53
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,743member
    Let's see if Apple re-hires these folks.
  • Reply 12 of 53
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post


    Let's see if Apple re-hires these folks.



    Probably about the time they welcome the Pre people back into the fold.
  • Reply 13 of 53
    jimdreamworxjimdreamworx Posts: 1,063member
    So there's this alleged red-hot market for netbooks, and with today's price/performance technology, these guys are getting out when the getting is supposedly good?



    Next thing you know, IBM will sell their PC division to - oh, I dunno, a Chinese company, let say - and stop making PCs because it's a sound business decision.
  • Reply 14 of 53
    addaboxaddabox Posts: 12,660member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JimDreamworx View Post


    So there's this alleged red-hot market for netbooks, and with today's price/performance technology, these guys are getting out when the getting is supposedly good?



    Next thing you know, IBM will sell their PC division to - oh, I dunno, a Chinese company, let say - and stop making PCs because it's a sound business decision.



    But they didn't make netbooks, they made a relatively powerful, expensive, but tiny PC.



    The disadvantages of a sliding keyboard cellphone at the price of a higher end laptop.
  • Reply 15 of 53
    bsenkabsenka Posts: 799member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post


    LOL, it seems Apple really does know best.



    Perhaps they knew best that a $3000 UMPC wouldn't sell. That itself should have been self evident, IMO. Plus, I never saw any in any stores, so how could a customer ever see one to know if they wanted one, even if the price WAS reasonable.



    Nothing about this is in any way related to the rest of the netbook market. Different products, pricing, and distribution. Netbooks are in every Best Buy, Futureshop, etc. Macs are in every Best Buy, Futureshop, etc. Totally different economic conditions than what OQO was facing.
  • Reply 16 of 53
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,743member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JimDreamworx View Post


    So there's this alleged red-hot market for netbooks, and with today's price/performance technology, these guys are getting out when the getting is supposedly good?



    Next thing you know, IBM will sell their PC division to - oh, I dunno, a Chinese company, let say - and stop making PCs because it's a sound business decision.



    Hehe, they coulda pulled a Psystar and made netbooks . . .
  • Reply 17 of 53
    pg4gpg4g Posts: 383member
    Quadra, please don't mention the name Psystar around here... Prince McClean will come out with a useless, contentless rant on the topic. I don't know about you, but I'd rather not see that...



    Leave Psystar to the courts now :P
  • Reply 18 of 53
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,743member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PG4G View Post


    Quadra, please don't mention



    who? what?
  • Reply 19 of 53
    tbelltbell Posts: 3,146member
    Yes, but as Steve Jobs himself would admit a lot of his success is due to blind luck. He was lucky enough to be born in a time when the computer boom was just beginning. Once you make that first billion, the second billion is much easier.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post


    You'd be amazed at the hundreds of former Apple colleagues who think they can be the next Steven P. Jobs.



  • Reply 20 of 53
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,792member
    I think this should silence the critics who think Apple doesn't know customers want. They obviously aren't stupid!
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