Remembering eWorld

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CUPERTINO, Calif. — June 20, 1994 — From today, traveling the much discussed Information Superhighway could actually begin to make sense for people who want to keep in touch, stay informed and be entertained. Apple Computer, Inc. has launched eWorld, its innovative, informative, powerful yet easy to use online service which includes eWorld for Macintosh and NewtonMail, eWorld’s messaging service for Newton. eWorld for Macintosh is an ‘online town square’ which provides a global electronic mail system together with news, information and other services from around 100 partners such as Reuters America Inc., Tribune Media Services, ZiffNet/Mac and Inc. Magazine Online.

— Opening paragraph of the June 1994 Apple press release

Fourteen years ago, on March 31, 1996, eWorld was ultimately shut down after less than two years since its introduction.

I wasn’t an eWorld subscriber, yet I remember the phenomenon fondly. I believe it was another Apple creation with potential, but the high costs of the service (and perhaps Apple’s lack of belief, too) prevented it from really taking off. Too bad it was just discontinued without being morphed into something that could survive on the Web, Apple could have taken advantage of the faithful eWorlders’ sense of community to expand it online and pioneer today’s social networks, for instance. But I guess it was not the right timeframe for Apple, not in its best of shapes financially. (By the way, in Owen W. Linzmayer’s Apple Confidential 2.0, pag. 239, it is said that then-Apple CEO Spindler promised to change eWorld into an Internet-based service).

Here are some resources to give you a clearer picture of eWorld:

OK then, time to disconnect. So long, eWorld…

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7 thoughts on “Remembering eWorld

  1. You wrote, “Too bad it was just discontinued without being morphed into something that could survive on the Web.”

    But it did! The management team behind eWorld, headed by Peter Friedman, spun out as Talk City, taking with them eWorld’s moderation talent (people and expertise) and building a wholly new web-based environment. The company has become LiveWorld, Inc., one of the very few early-early Internet start-ups to have weathered both tech crashes, still going strong, and still a global leader in moderation services for our hosted community clients as well as those on other platforms, including Facebook.

    I was at Apple in ’96 (and a subscriber) when eWorld was shut down, building Apple’s intranet (AppleWeb) and managing http://www.apple.com. I’ve been a LiveWorld employee since 2003.

  2. Well I was Advisor RB and I was so shocked at the demise of eWorld. A New England company tried to outbid the advisors in 95 but lost. They had an Alpha Windows version which never came to beta. I remember people were so mad at buying more ram for Mac OS 7 vs 6 that most of the complaints were that and “when will I get 14.4k speed?” Actually it was the people with bad modems heck where I lived I was shocked they got up to 28k speed but people were too cheap to buy it. Let alone ask someone. So new iMac later I still miss them,
    as there are 50 million Mac users and no dedicated online services at all.

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