Mice race

Source: Dave Evans, "Mouse OEM Vendors (Whetstone)," internal memorandum (4 March 1982), n.p.
Location: Jim Sachs personal papers (reproduced courtesy of Jim Sachs).

To: T. Hawkins, R. Tompane, L. Garvey, W. Lapson, P. Swearingen, L. Tesler, J. Scott, B. Yarkoni, W. Rosing, D. Hovey (Hovey-Kelley Design)
From: Dave Evans
Re: Mouse OEM Vendors (Whetstone) Response and Confidentiality
Date: 3/4/82

Today, Steve Kirsch of Whetstone (baby start up) came in to make a presentation to some POS Marketing and Peripherals Div. Engineering staff regarding his new optical mouse (as opposed to a mechanical mouse). Apple attendees included P. Swearingen, W. Lapson, R. Tompane, L. Garvey, and D. Evans.

We listened and said virtually nothing, but looked semi-interested. Needless to say, Steve would like to sell billions of mice to Apple, or at least license his design to us. He is going to develop some proposal to us for potential evaluation of the device for product opportunity analysis.

Steve's device is definitely inferior to ours. It is.more expensive ($100/ea. at 10,000 units/yr.) and requires the use of a reflective grid pad as its sliding surface. It could determine rotation as well as translation, but the value of that is hardly obvious (except for aiming while playing tank)-- especially at 3X our current costs. We never confirmed or denied anything whatsoever regarding our mouse. We also did not confirm or deny the existence of a mouse or the desire to use a mouse for any current or future products.

I strongly recommend that we kindly receive Steve's proposal, then respond that Apple is impressed with his technology, has investigated pointer technologies such as mice, but is not presently in a position to further discuss any OEM or co-development arrangements for pointing devices with any groups or individuals.

It may seem that "everyone knows" about Lisa and the mouse, but they don't really. They for the most part are going on rumors. Steve indicated that a mechanical mouse required a pad under it in order to work properly (e.g.: the Alto mouse), clearly showing that he does not know anything about the universal surface mouse that we have in the Hovey-Kelley design. The Apple mouse is state-of-the-art in terms usability and cost of manufacture. We should retain our uniqueness by not giving these guys the time of day.

SO.... even though it may be interesting to talk about new technologies, lets not use our valuable time educating these entrepreneurs and others like them in a technology area that we spent over a year (2 years!) developing to its current state. Please do not speak to anyone about our mouse. All future inquiries should receive a kind "Thank you, we are looking at pointing technologies but cannot talk with any 3rd parties at this time-- period."

Please be sure people in your areas follow these instructions and remind any knowledgeable suppliers that their work with Apple on this product remains fully confidential regardless of what they see in the media.

Document created on 6 April 2000;