Re: answer to What's the difference

Jerry Graves (jerry@math.utep.edu)
Thu, 20 Mar 97 20:51:07 MST

The question was:

>>Why has HP discontinued the OmniGo line?

And the answer:

> I think that they are planning to come out with a Windows CE
> model similar in features to the OmniGo.

My two cents:

Perhaps not many of you are aware that the entire Omnigo product line
from HP has been discontinued: the 100, the 120, the connectivity
pack, clip & go, sync & go, strategy games, everything.

It would be my guess that the reason for this is Microsoft blackmail.
We all know how Microsoft feels about genuine competition. HP
probably struck an agreement with Microsoft after the release of the
120 to discontinue the Omnigo line before the release of their Windows
CE machine. The death of the only quality affordable alternative to
the Windows CE platform puts to rest the lie that the Omnigo was
targeted to a different market (so-called "organizers"), a fiction put
forward by the handheld PR hacks at HP who knew better. If it were
merely the case that the Omnigo were unprofitable, the accessories
would still be available from HP. But this is not the case. So in
spite of the happy pronouncements of a partnership with Geoworks, they
sandbagged their own superior product and removed a major opportunity
for GEOS to gain a signicant share of a potential market boom. I'm
sure that HP's CE machine will be a success, for the same reason the
200lx was (and still is), but abandoning the Omnigo and forcing those
who would like to have purchased the next Omnigo with GEOS 3.x with
it's communications support seems to me an act of cowardice. They
decided to bet on a winner with meager per unit returns (with lots of
unit sales) rather than a dark horse that might have paid off big.
Microsoft could care less who makes the hardware as long as it
requires their software, and HP is now right in line with their new
world digital order. This is so sad because Microsoft needed HP to
legitmize CE, but HP didn't need Microsoft until after they had
already invested large sums of money developing their CE machine.
Since the specifications for the platform require upgradeable ROM, it
is possible that GEOS may one day run on the HP machine, provided
Microsoft hasn't gotten exclusivity agreements from all the hardware
manufacturers, but by then all the third party applications available
for CE will have blinded most puchasers of handheld devices to any
alternative but the Apple Newton. Long live Microsoft. Microsoft
forever. Praise be to Microsoft. The company led by a vacuous,
visionless man now owns the handheld market.