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Instead It's in the Dark Ages

February 05, 1996|JAMES BATES

With troubled Apple Computer Inc. having flirted with being acquired by Sun Microsystems Inc. and now plagued by turmoil amid the ousting last week of Chief Executive Michael Spindler, the odds appear to be growing that Apple will be a very different company--or even just a memory--by the time the 21st century rolls around.

That's a long way from the days when then-Apple Chief Executive John Sculley was touting Apple as a "21st century company."

Indeed, the index of Sculley's 1987 best-selling autobiography "Odyssey" lists three pages devoted to Apple as a company for the next century. His writings now seem especially ironic.

"It's as if we already are a 21st century company that has miraculously been able to come back to the late 20th century to make sure we don't fail or compromise our mission along the way," Sculley wrote.

Super Bowl of Cliches

Little did Pete Rozelle and the others at the National Football League know that they were not only creating an annual sports ritual back with the first Super Bowl in 1967, they were also creating one of the all-time cliches.

West Publishing, which owns WESTLAW legal research service, sent out a list of recent references it found to "the Super Bowl of" using the Dow Jones News/Retrieval system.

There was writer Dominick Dunne referring to the O.J. Simpson trial as the "Super Bowl of murder trails," and a reference on the NBC Nightly News to the computer trade show COMDEX as the "Super Bowl of computer shows."

Dallas Morning News dubbed the Texas State Championship Domino Tournament as the "Super Bowl of dominoes."

Then there was Creators Syndicate's reference to a prospective divorce between Prince Charles and Princess Diana. It was the "Super Bowl of dirty laundry."

Name That (Former) Company

The name change of SCEcorp, parent of Southern California Edison, to Edison International is hardly a first by a major Southern California company.

So here's a memory test: What were the previous names of these well-known Southern California entities? (Answers appear at the end).

a) Pacific Enterprises (Gas Co. parent)

b) Unocal Corp.

c) RLA

d) First Interstate Bancorp

e) Amgen

f) unnamed NFL football franchise

Briefly . . .

The Starbucks coffee chain, known for being environmentally correct, says its napkins are made from recycled fibers that come from "minimum 95% post-consumer material." . . . Yet another one of those designated "days": Next Monday is being touted as National Clean Out Your Computer Day. . . . Answers to above: a) Pacific Lighting Corp., b) Union Oil Co. of California, c) Rebuild L.A., d) United California Bank (future name: Wells Fargo Co.), e) Applied Molecular Genetics and f) Seattle Seahawks (assuming they win in court).

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