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XEROX PARC: /zee´roks park´/, n.

The famed Palo Alto Research Center. For more than a decade, from the early 1970s into the mid-1980s, PARC yielded an astonishing volume of groundbreaking hardware and software innovations. The modern mice, windows, and icons style of software interface was invented there. So was the laser printer and the local-area network; and PARC's series of D machines anticipated the powerful personal computers of the 1980s by a decade. Sadly, the prophets at PARC were without honor in their own company, so much so that it became a standard joke to describe PARC as a place that specialized in developing brilliant ideas for everyone else.

The stunning shortsightedness and obtusity of XEROX's top-level suits has been well anatomized in Fumbling The Future: How XEROX Invented, Then Ignored, the First Personal Computer by Douglas K. Smith and Robert C. Alexander (William Morrow & Co., 1988, ISBN 0-688-09511-9).