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Many of the quotes on this page come from Owen Linzmayer’s excellent book Apple Confidential 2.0. Link points to external site

On Lisa’s rationale...

“Steve [Jobs] had an incredible ability to rally people towards some common cause by painting an incredibly glorious cosmic objective. One of his favorite statements about the Lisa was, “Let’s make a dent in the universe. We’ll make it so important that it will make a dent in the universe.’” (Trip Hawkins, manager of marketing planning for Lisa)

“The primary objective of LISA is to provide the cornerstone around which we can build Apple Computer into a $500 million dollar [sic] per year company. In order to do this, the product must allow us to make a unique contribution to a large segment of the small computer marketplace.” (from Lisa Marketing Requirements Document, 1980)

On expectations for Lisa...

“We want to drive this industry. We could have introduced Lisa a year ago, but we wanted to make it perfect. We’re prepared to live with Lisa for the next ten years.” (Steve Jobs, Time magazine, January 1983)

“We’re really banking everything on Lisa’s technology. If Lisa fails we’ll be just another half-billion or billion dollar computer company.” (Steve Jobs, BusinessWeek, January 1983)

“We’re going to blow IBM away. There’s nothing they can do when this computer comes out. This is so revolutionary, it’s incredible.” (Steve Jobs to John Sculley)

“We will continue to refine Lisa 7/7, in light of customer inputs regarding bugs in the software, and we will continue to work on ways of linking Lisa and Macintosh software. I hope these conditions and actions show to you our commitment to Lisa. We will in the coming months reinforce that commitment to our salesforce and our dealers.” (Timothy J. McNally, Lisa Product Manager, Cupertino, CA, October 1984)

On Lisa as a computer...

“I purchased my Lisa 2/10 last August and am, in general, extremely pleased. In comparison to the early CP/M and current non-Apple products, my Lisa is an absolute, unequivocal, resounding, superbly elegant dream machine. I cannot say enough about what a pleasure it is to use a computer that completely redefines the hackneyed phrase ‘user friendly.’ What a difference a few years makes in this industry!” (Al Seyle)

“The interesting part of the story is why [my friend] owned a Lisa in the first place. It seems his father promised that he would buy him a Porsche if he could get accepted at Harvard. He got into Harvard, but he decided instead of the Porsche he’d rather have a Volkswagen and a Lisa. That’s what he wanted, so that’s what he got.” (Robert Munyer)

On Lisa’s hardware...

“Measured by the hardware specification, Lisa is not a micro. It’s a fair-sized mini-computer studying to become a mainframe.” (Richard King, Apple’s Lisa)

“There is also a little arrow on the screen which points NNE. This is the mouse-pointer.” (Richard King, Apple’s Lisa)

“[Lisa] turns the tedious chore of drafting office reports into something close to playing a video game.” (Peter Nulty, Apple’s bid to stay in the big time)

“When the mouse is moved on the surface of a desk, an arrow moves on Lisa’s TV-like monitor screen. This permits the user to juggle words or statistics around in much the same way that a child uses a joystick to manipulate spaceships in a video game.” (Peter Nulty, Apple’s bid to stay in the big time)

“The mouse is quite sturdy and can tolerate a lot of rolling and button-pressing. However, a sudden impact could damage the sensors inside. Avoid dropping the mouse or hitting it against hard objects.” (from Lisa Owner’s Guide)

On Lisa’s failure...

“Whatever Apple’s plans are, we think it extremely unlikely that it would introduce a similar product that would undercut their Lisa system so soon after its costly development and introduction. Indeed, we cannot see the benefit that would be gained by such action. So, whatever MacIntosh [sic] may turn out to be and whenever it finally appears, we think it is more likely that it will be clearly differentiated from the Lisa offering.” (Joseph L. Ehardt, The Seybold Report on Professional Computing, January 1983)

“The Lisa failed because it was very underpowered, and so, while it did beautiful things, it did them very slowly.” (Alan Kay)

“We had to abandon [the Lisa] without honor or glory since we failed to raise sales to an adequate profit margin at a time when market growth was slowing down. All of which proves that it is difficult to revive a product that has made a poor start.” (Jean-Louis Gassée)

“[The Lisa] was a great machine. We just couldn’t sell any.” (Bruce Tognazzini)

“[It] can perhaps be called Apple’s most eccentric flop; a computer that saw the future, a computer that briefly stunned the industry, a computer that remains unknown to many. The Apple Lisa.” (Tom Stepleton)

Page added on 22nd January 2005.

Copyright © 2002-2006 Marcin Wichary, unless stated otherwise.