Startup: A Silicon Valley Adventure

Jerry Kaplan, Author, S. Jerrold Kaplan, Author
Jerry Kaplan, Author, S. Jerrold Kaplan, Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $22.95 (322p) ISBN 978-0-395-71133-0
Reviewed on: 05/01/1995
Release date: 05/01/1995
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-14-025731-1
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Kaplan founded GO Corp. in 1987 to develop a pen-based portable computer. He lost control of the company to an investor group that included AT&T in late 1993 after spending nearly $75 million in a failed effort to create a marketable product, and GO's successor company was closed down by AT&T in July 1994. What separates Kaplan's tale from other start-up stories is the insight he provides about dealing with two of America's largest computer companies--IBM and Microsoft. Kaplan negotiated with layers of IBM bureaucracy to get the company to invest tens of millions of dollars in GO, and yet with the downsizing that rocked IBM, Kaplan doubted whether anyone remaining at IBM knew or cared about its GO involvement. GO's relationship with Microsoft evolved from a potential partnership to a fierce competition. As the two companies became more competitive, the pressure Microsoft exerted on the industry to support its own pen-based efforts over those of GO makes one think that federal judge Stanley Sporkin is right in trying to reopen the antitrust investigation of the software powerhouse. Readers interested in entrepreneurial adventurism will find Kaplan's tale entertaining, but the book will appeal most to those familiar with the computer industry. (May)
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