The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

Mobile computing pioneer Adam Osbourne died yesterday at the age of 64 in a remote village in India.

Osbourne's mark on computer history was brief but flashy. The machines his company produced (the Osbourne 1 and Osbourne Executive) today look like fugitives from some public school's audio-visual basement, but believe it or not they used to be top o' the line. My choice of computer these days is the portable notebook (screw the desktop!), and Osbourne's old clunkers helped bring us to where we are today.

The other thing he was known for was how not to run a business. He rapidly grew his company to the point where he was selling 10,000 computers a month, and then, thanks to his big mouth, demolished it on a vaporware promise. The hypergrowth phenomenon he went through would be emulated, on a larger scale, some 15 years later in the dot-com boom and bust.