Franklin Electronic Publishers
Franklin Electronic Publishers, Incorporated (formerly Franklin Computer Corporation) is an American consumer electronics manufacturer based in Burlington, New Jersey, founded in 1981. Since the mid-1980s it has primarily created and sold hand-held electronic references, such as spelling correctors, dictionaries, translation devices, medical references and Bibles. It was publicly traded on the American Stock Exchange under the symbol FEP until September 30, 2009 when it merged with Saunders Acquisition Corporation.
Franklin was originally named Franklin Computer Corporation. It was a manufacturer of clones of the Apple II series computer, which it first marketed in 1982.
In early 1982, Franklin released the Franklin Ace 100, and in March of the same year, the Franklin Ace 1000; they were very close copies of the Apple II Plus computer, respectively. The motherboard design is nearly identical and Franklin also copied Apple's ROMs. Two months later, Apple Computer sued Franklin for copyright violation. Franklin initially won. (See Apple Computer, Inc. v. Franklin Computer Corp..)
Franklin followed with the Ace 1200, which included two built-in 5¼" floppy drives and a Zilog Z80 processor for CP/M compatibility—a popular third-party option for the Apple II. The Ace 1200 was identical to the Ace 1000, but with the addition of a built-in floppy drive and four expansion cards pre-installed (one of which offered color video; the 1000 was monochrome).
In August 1983, a court ruled against Franklin, which had argued that because computer code generally did not exist in printed form, it could not be copyrighted. Franklin freely admitted it had copied Apple's ROM and operating system code. However, Franklin was able to get an injunction that allowed it to continue marketing its computers. This case had lasting implications, setting precedent for copyright and reverse engineering. The case was still frequently cited more than 30 years after the August 1983 ruling.
Starting in October 1985, Franklin released a second-generation line of Apple II clones, consisting of the Ace 2000 (based on the Apple IIe) and Ace 500 (based on the Apple IIc). These included more memory, as well as offering many features unique to the Apple IIe and Apple IIc, all while undercutting Apple's price. Franklin's last Apple II clone, the Ace 2200, sported a detached keyboard and dual internal 5.25-inch floppy disk drives. It was released in the 1987–1988 time frame.
Franklin also released a pair of IBM PC compatible computers, the Franklin PC6000 and PC8000, during 1986–1988. Both were based on the Intel 8088 running at 4.77 MHz. The PC6000 had 512K of RAM and a single floppy drive, while the PC8000 had 640K and dual drives. These matched the most common configurations of the time.
Soon after the Ace 2200's release, Apple was able to force Franklin out of the desktop computer market entirely, including its IBM-compatible PCs. As a result, the only Apple-compatible computer that remained on the market was VTech's Laser 128.
With the loss of its desktop computer business, Franklin concentrated on its handheld line, which it had introduced in 1986.
In 1987, Franklin released the Spelling Ace, which could provide spelling corrections to 80,000 English words based on technology from Proximity Technology. Franklin also released its Language Master device, which included spelling correction, dictionary definitions and a thesaurus. In 1988, Franklin acquired Proximity Technology. In 1989, Franklin released an electronic version of the Bible in the King James, Revised Standard and New International versions. Johnny Cash was a spokesperson for the company, recording Bible passages for their line of electronic Bibles.
In 1995 Franklin launched its Bookman product line, which came with an installed database and included a slot for plugging in a second electronic book. Prices varied depending on the title. Previously, the Digital Book System (DBS) product was a player only, with two slots for electronic book cards. Franklin collaborated with Bien Logic to create educational titles for the Bookman platform.
Currently FEP makes electronic versions of dictionaries, translators, tutors, puzzles, Bibles, Rolodex organizers, calculators, books.
The company marketed its first handheld reference device, the Spelling Ace spelling corrector, in 1986.
The company also designs and licenses linguistic software to third party software application providers through its Proximity Technology Division.
The company's first product for the Asian market, the Japanese-English Electronic PageMark Dictionary, was distributed through its partner Seiko Instruments, Inc.
The eBook products are sold in BOOKMAN Book Card, digital download (Franklin Reader, Mobipocket Reader, or other file formats) formats. They also made an eBook reader called eBookMan.
- "Franklin Electronic Publishers Reports Approval of a Merger Agreement". PR Newswire. 2010-09-30.
- Pollack, Andrew (1987-10-21). "Business Technology; At Last, Help On The Crossword Puzzle". The New York Times.
- Louie, Elaine (1987-11-08). "Holiday Gifts For the Thinker". The New York Times.
- "Mergers, Acquisitions". The Palm Beach Post. Mar 30, 1988. p. 28.
- Richard N. Ostling; Michael P. Harris (Oct 30, 1989). "Religion: High-Tech Bible". Time (magazine). Retrieved 2010-05-30.
- Yianilos, Peter N. (n.d.). "The Franklin Bibles". Retrieved 2013-10-18. "The Franklin KJ-21 was introduced in 1989 and marked the first publication of the Holy Bible in hand-held electronic form. This King James version was followed by a Revised Standard Edition (model RS-22), and the New International Version (NIV-20)."
- Staff reporter (1999-04-21). "Biblically speaking". The Post and Courier. Retrieved 2013-10-18.
- Key, Peter (1999-07-19). "Johnny Cash recites from Bible for Franklin". Philadelphia Business Journal. Retrieved 2013-10-18.
- Nicholson, Leslie J. (2000-07-32). "E-books Fuel Firm's Recovery". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 2013-10-18. "The speaking electronic Bibles feature country music legend Johnny Cash reading aloud daily devotional passages."
- "Photos of U.S. R&D Last Day". PB. Retrieved 2009-08-06.
- Franklin official home page
- After the Franklin affair, Apple added a backdoor into their ROMs so that stolen Apple code could be detected
- A timeline of Apple II products, including mention of compatible Franklin computer products
- Another timeline of Apple II and competing products
Apple–Franklin Lawsuit Articles
- A brief recap of the lawsuit
- IMPACT OF APPLE VS. FRANKLIN DECISION By Rob Hassett
- Refusal of Apple's injunction request
- The Making of a Computer by Perry Greenberg