Apple Rehires Newton Developer Michael Tchao

The New York Times reports that Apple has rehired Michael Tchao, one of the developers of the Newton, Apple's personal digital assistant platform that launched in 1993. Tchao, who returned to Apple today after a 15-year absence, serves as vice president of product marketing and reports directly to senior vice president Phil Schiller.

It is not clear what his new duties at Apple will entail; Apple would not comment further on the matter, and Mr. Tchao did not immediately respond to a phone message. But identifying a market for the much-rumored Apple tablet could certainly be among them. Mr. Tchao gets the credit (or perhaps the blame) for convincing John Sculley, Apple's former chief executive, to integrate the company's handwriting-recognition technology into a consumer device.

Tchao worked at Apple from 1986 until 1994, holding three different positions during that time and eventually advancing to Group Manager for Product Planning and Strategy in the company's Personal Interactive Electronics division. He then spent several years in consulting and product development before taking the position of General Manager of the Nike Techlab in 2002, where he has overseen the development of a number of Nike+iPod products and technologies.

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