In a long-needed move suggested by Steve Jobs, Apple finally dropped the Newton division and will spin it off as its own, separate, company. The official announcement came this afternoon but sources have leaked that Apple had unsuccessfully shopped the technology around to Hewlett Packard, Sun, Inventec, and others but no one was interested. The Newton has never turned a profit and while new hardware running the operating system--the Newton MessagePad 2000 and eMate--is selling relatively well, Newton is being left behind in a handheld market dominated by the USR PalmPilot and devices based on Windows CE. Early models were plagued by buggy handwriting recognition and poor displays. The biggest problem, however, was that Newton was visually dissimilar with the Macintosh, Apple's popular line of desktop computers. When Microsoft created Windows CE, they used Newton's failure as an inspiration for what not to do: Windows CE looks and feels just like Windows 95 and it has reinvigorated the handheld PC (formerly known as "Personal Digital Assistant" PDA) market.

The new company will be called Newton, Inc. and it will see the MessagePad devices. Apple retains the rights to the eMate handheld, however. Newton Inc. will target new markets, such as health care and education and will provide developers with tools and products. Apple is currently looking for a "seasoned CEO" to run the company.

Might I suggest Gil Amelio for the job