Jobs did not come into the office regularly, but he was on the phone to Amelio often. Once he had succeeded in making sure that Tevanian, Rubinstein, and others he trusted were given top positions, he turned his
focus onto the sprawling product line. One of his pet peeves was Newton, the handheld personal digital assistant that boasted handwriting recognition capability. It was not quite as bad as the jokes and Doonesbury comic strip
made it seem, but Jobs hated it. He disdained the idea of having a stylus or pen for writing on a screen. “God gave us ten styluses,” he would say, waving
his fingers. “Let’s not invent another.” In addition, he viewed Newton as John Sculley’s one major innovation, his pet project. That alone doomed it in Jobs’s eyes.
“You ought to kill Newton,” he told Amelio one day by phone.
It was a suggestion out of the blue, and Amelio pushed back. “What do you mean, kill it?” he said. “Steve, do you have any idea how expensive that would be?”
“Shut it down, write it off, get rid of it,” said Jobs. “It doesn’t matter what it costs. People will cheer you if you got rid of it.”
“I’ve looked into Newton and it’s going to be a moneymaker,” Amelio declared. “I don’t support getting rid of it.” By May, however, he announced
plans to spin off the Newton division, the beginning of its yearlong stutter-step march to the grave.
Tevanian and Rubinstein would come by Jobs’s house to keep him informed, and soon much of Silicon Valley knew that Jobs was quietly wresting power from Amelio. It was not so much a Machiavellian power play as it was Jobs
being Jobs. Wanting control was ingrained in his nature. Louise Kehoe, the Financial Times reporter who had foreseen this when she questioned Jobs and Amelio at the December announcement, was the first with the story. “Mr. Jobs has become the power behind the throne,” she reported at the end of
February. “He is said to be directing decisions on which parts of Apple’s operations should be cut. Mr. Jobs has urged a number of former Apple colleagues to return to the company, hinting strongly that he plans to take
charge, they said. According to one of Mr. Jobs’ confidantes, he has decided that Mr. Amelio and his appointees are unlikely to succeed in reviving Apple, and he is intent