Can’t you just hear Dr. Evil reading this statement: “Logitech announced today that it has manufactured one billion mice since it first started producing the digital rodents for retail in 1985.”
As remarkable as that statistic may be, we were even more impressed to learn that Logitech is now manufacturing these ubiquitous devices at the rate of 376,000 every day: That’s 7.8 million every month and 94 million every year. The company reached the 100 million mark in 1996 and had sold 500 million of them by 2003.
Looked at from another angle, Logitech has spawned enough mice to supply nearly the entire population of China with one (they’re about 300,000 short, but they have enough to span the length of the Great Wall 20 times over). The company came up with a seemingly endless supply of other fun facts to commemorate the occasion. Did you know that weight of one billion mice would be enough to sink the Titanic? Their combined weight is three times that of famous ocean liner.
Logitech didn’t invent the mouse. That distinction belongs to Douglas Engelbart of the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). Engelbart called his invention the “X-Y Position Indicator for a Display System” when he demonstrated it publicly on December 9, 1968. But mice didn’t become essential to PCs until Microsoft released its first operating system with a graphical user interface, Windows 1.0, in 1985. The device has been part of the Macintosh experience since that machine’s debut.
These days, it’s difficult to imagine using a desktop computer without a mouse, even machines like HP’s TouchSmart series that come equipped with touch-screens. While some experts, including Microsoft’s Bill Gates, have suggested the mouse is nearing the end of its useful life, Logitech’s Rory Dooley isn’t buying it. Senior vice president of Logitech’s Control Devices business unit, Dooley writes in a bylined article Logitech released today “…the mouse is a fantastically Intuitive HCI [human-computer interface] device that has opened up the world of computing to the masses. It’s ideal for activities that require precision and efficiency and is the perfect tool for navigating the command interface of almost every modern software application.”
Dooley argues that the mouse will continue to evolve and improve alongside computer user interfaces. “As we look to the future and the introduction of new applications,” Dooley writes, “I believe that the mouse will maintain its status as the primary input device for the computer, but that it will be complemented by voice, gesture, and touch.
Logitech also released details of several mouse designs that never made it out of their R&D lab. Here are four of the stranger design failures Logitech was willing to admit to.