Film by Matt Maude and Sarah Kerruish shows what went right and what went spectacularly wrong with a pioneering company and its revolutionary product
Billions of smartphones have been sold in the last 10 years, causing a massive shift in the way people around the world live and communicate. Apple, Samsung, Google and other companies have made colossal fortunates off the devices and underlying software, and apps available through smartphones have disrupted numerous industries, from retail to banking and transportation (think Uber).
Who put the phone in your pocket? You might think Steve Jobs did. But the credit (or blame, depending on how you feel about smartphones) really goes to a company called General Magic and the visionaries who ran it. Going back to the late 1980s they foresaw that computers would become smaller and smaller, until they could fit in your hand. And they married that concept to a phone.
So why didn't General Magic succeed, reaping the kind of billions that have fattened Apple into the world's biggest company by market valuation? The new documentary General Magic, now playing in LA, San Francisco, Houston and other cities, shows how a brilliant idea somehow led to catastrophic failure.
In this video I speak with Marc Porat, who co-founded General Magic, and the documentary's co-director, Matt Maude.
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on Deadline.com, CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and in Documentary magazine.