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Major shakeup at General Magic

Beleaguered General Magic announces a top management shakeup.

Jeff Pelline Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Jeff Pelline is editor of CNET News.com. Jeff promises to buy a Toyota Prius once hybrid cars are allowed in the carpool lane with solo drivers.
Jeff Pelline
2 min read
A top management shakeup was announced today at troubled software maker General Magic (GMGC).

As previously reported by CNET, the software company's cofounder and CEO Marc Porat and President Robert Kelsch have resigned. Novell Executive Vice President Steve Markman has been named as a replacement for Porat, who is to stay on in an advisory role with cofounder Andy Hertzfeld.

"I'm delighted to be on board," Markman said today. "Earlier this year, General Magic announced that it was turning toward the Internet in a big way. My plan is to accelerate that direction."

Porat said he will continue to sit on General Magic's board and be an active adviser. "We are focused as an Internet company, but with (Markman's) strength, he will tunnel right into the intranet too."

The company has suffered a series of setbacks this year. Sony halted plans to make another handheld computer based on the company's Magic Cap operating system, and AT&T scaled back its ties to the company.

The company's chief financial officer, Dennis Raney, resigned in May.

More recently, General Magic unveiled plans to turn into an Internet company, trying to capitalize on the Internet boom. Founded in 1990, General Magic was bankrolled by AT&T, Motorola, and Apple Computer.

Markman initially was approached by General Magic about taking a board seat, but in the past month the talks turned toward him taking the CEO slot.

Markman denied that he was leaving Novell because of any problems there. "The company is doing extremely well," he said.