About one hundred Newton users, developers, ex-employees and enthusiasts demonstrated at Apple headquarters in Culpertino last week over the manufacturer's decision to cease production of the handheld.
The organisers were happy with the turnout in California, which had only been called two days before, but admitted that they had little hope of influencing Apple's decision.
He said: 'Apple has a reputation for listening. But do I think it will change its mind? No.'
Another protester, a computer dealer who sells Newtons as well as PalmPilots and Psion Organisers, said: 'Something has got to be done to keep this product alive. There's nothing out there that does what the Newton does. I consider it one of the best products Apple has come up with.'
He suggested Apple either sell off the Newton product line, or bring the Newton OS source code into the public domain.
One protester said: 'The Newton had reached the point where it was years ahead of the competition.'
Among demonstrators were a number of former Newton employees. Most said they had left after the spun-off Newton division was sucked back into Apple. 'Steve Jobs lied to us,' said one. 'He told us that no one was interested in buying Newton. But we knew there had been offers from Umax and Ericsson. He also said he was totally committed to the eMate (the low-price notebook for schools based on the Newton OS)'.
Newton workers maintained that sales had been on target despite minimal marketing. Maurice Sharp, an ex-Newton worker, said: 'By December, the Newton was dead. There's no one left at Apple who knows anything about the Newton.'
He said he and 16 other former employees were now working for 3Com, which sells the competing PalmPilot product.
Mark Rabkin, business development manager at Apple, greeted the protesters but said the decision to terminate Newton was unlikely to be reversed.
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