Monday, May 22, 2023

An only partly apocryphal story about Xerox’s early work on personal computers

The story I heard in Palo Alto in the mid-1980s went like this: The designers from Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center went to Xerox HQ with prototype personal computers to show to the higher-ups. The higher-ups were unimpressed, but the wives of some of them were there, and as former secretaries, they were very impressed. So the higher-ups thought the thing was just a glorified typewriter. — I posted this story to a Language Log post today as a comment, and commenter Gregory Kusnick confirmed that the story I heard is not entirely apocryphal (the key difference being that it wasn't the wives but the current secretaries who liked the new devices). (Andrew Shields, #111words, 22 May 2023)


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