Re: More Napster Pablum

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From: Jeff Bone (
Date: Thu Jul 27 2000 - 20:52:08 PDT

One last bit, of probably no interest...

> * Since software for home use is still mostly distributed on CDs in
> boxes
> Support that. Over 70% of people that buy a home computer *never buy
> another application for that computer* except for games and edutainment
> / content titles. I'd have a hard time digging up the support for that,
> and it's likely stale anyway: that's a recollection from the market
> research that supported the first and second Active Paper business
> plans, back in '94-'95.

I've been racking my brain and my archives trying to find where that 70%
number came from; I think where it actually came from was Michael Dell,
when I pitched him in late '94 or early '95 for Active Paper. Our model was
to produce software --- a standards-based Web browser and e-mail client ---
for GenMagic's Magic Cap platform and sell that via distribution deals -w-
Sony, Motorola, etc. via store shelves to device owners. I believe that the
factoid mentioned came up in approximately the following context: he said
we couldn't win with that model, as people just didn't buy applications,
based on PC experience. Dell was doing deals all over the place to gut up
the number and variety of bundled applications to make the boxes more
useful. His suggestion: move up the food chain, do a licensing deal -w-
GenMagic, and be "in the box." Which, ultimately, is exactly what we did in

For the terminally curious, he didn't invest in the company, because he said
(approximately) "nobody's ever going to want an underpowered handheld
computer when they can get a laptop that does more and has a bigger screen."

His intuition was probably right not to invest in 1994-1995 in a General
Magic-based play, but I think his reasoning was a bit off.



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