Apple kills off Newton PDA

Apple has finally shot its handheld albatross - the Newton operating system.

Ever since its launch, the Newton has been victim to external mockery and internal sharp changes in policy. After being spun off last year, the Newton division was reined back in by stand-in CEO Steve Jobs but this is definitely the end of the road for the troubled OS, the firm said.

As well as the system software, the Newton's demise means a discontinuation of the MessagePad and eMate 300 products. The latter sold well in US educational establishments but clearly not well enough to justify the heavy research and development expense Apple put into Newton.

However, handhelds based on Apple technology are still on the drawing board as Apple expects to produce devices based on a flavour of the Mac OS as early as 1999.

"This decision is consistent with our strategy to focus all of our software development resources on extending the Macintosh operating system," said Steve Jobs in a prepared statement.

Apple said it would continue to support Newton-based products for a substantial time.