“He came to the board and lied to us,” Rock growled later. “He told us he was thinking of forming a company when in fact he had already formed it. He said he was going to take a few middle-level people. It turned out to be five senior
people.” Markkula, in his subdued way, was also offended. “He took some top executives he had secretly lined up before he left. That’s not the way you do things. It was ungentlemanly.”
Over the weekend both the board and the executive staff convinced Sculley that Apple would have to declare war on its cofounder. Markkula issued a formal statement accusing Jobs of acting “in direct contradiction to his statements that he wouldn’t recruit any key Apple personnel for his
company.” He added ominously, “We are evaluating what possible actions should be taken.” Campbell was quoted in the Wall Street Journal as saying he “was stunned and shocked” by Jobs’s behavior.
Jobs had left his meeting with Sculley thinking that things might proceed smoothly, so he had kept quiet. But after reading the newspapers, he felt that he had to respond. He phoned a few favored reporters and invited them to his
home for private briefings the next day. Then he called Andy Cunningham, who had handled his publicity at Regis McKenna. “I went over to his unfurnished mansiony place in Woodside,” she recalled, “and I found him
huddled in the kitchen with his five colleagues and a few reporters hanging outside on the lawn.” Jobs told her that he was going to do a full-fledged press conference and started spewing some of the derogatory things he was going to say. Cunningham was appalled. “This is going to reflect badly on you,” she
told him. Finally he backed down. He decided that he would give the reporters a copy of the resignation letter and limit any on-the-record comments to a few bland statements.
Jobs had considered just mailing in his letter of resignation, but Susan Barnes convinced him that this would be too contemptuous. Instead he drove it to Markkula’s house, where he also found Al Eisenstat. There was a tense
conversation for about fifteen minutes; then Barnes, who had been waiting outside, came to the door to retrieve him before he said anything he would regret. He left behind the letter, which he had
composed on a
printed on the new
“Steve, these are not low-level people,” Sculley said.“Well, these people were going to resign anyway,” Jobs replied. “They are going to be handing in their resignations by nine this morning.”
From Jobs’s perspective, he had been honest. The five were not division managers or members of Sculley’s top team. They had all felt diminished, in fact, by the company’s new organization. But from Sculley’s perspective,
these were important players; Page was an Apple Fellow, and Lewin was a key to the higher education market. In addition, they knew about the plans for Big Mac; even though it had been shelved, this was still proprietary information.
Nevertheless Sculley was sanguine. Instead of pushing the point, he asked Jobs to remain on the board. Jobs replied that he would think about it.
But when Sculley walked into his 7:30 staff meeting and told his top lieutenants who was leaving, there was an uproar. Most of them felt that Jobs had breached his duties as chairman and displayed stunning disloyalty to the
company. “We should expose him for the fraud that he is so that people here stop regarding him as a messiah,” Campbell shouted, according to Sculley.
Campbell admitted that, although he later became a great Jobs defender and supportive board member, he was ballistic that morning. “I was fucking furious, especially about him taking Dan’l Lewin,” he recalled. “Dan’l had built
the relationships with the universities. He was always muttering about how hard it was to work with Steve, and then he left.” Campbell was so angry that he walked out of the meeting to call Lewin at home. When his wife said he was
in the shower, Campbell said, “I’ll wait.” A few minutes later, when she said he was still in the shower, Campbell again said, “I’ll wait.” When Lewin finally came on the phone, Campbell asked him if it was true. Lewin ackno
wledged it was.
Campbell hung up
Lewin’s university consortium had been a godsend to the Macintosh group, but he had become frustrated after Jobs left and Bill Campbell had reorganized marketing in a way that reduced the role of direct sales to universities. He had been meaning to call Jobs when, that Labor Day
weekend, Jobs called first. He drove to Jobs’s unfurnished mansion, and they walked the grounds while discussing the possibility of creating a new company. Lewin was excited, but not ready to commit. He was going to
Austin with Campbell the following week, and he wanted to wait until then to decide. Upon his return, he gave his answer: He was in. The news came just in time for the September 13 Apple board meeting.
Although Jobs was still nominally the board’s chairman, he had not been to any meetings since he lost power. He called Sculley, said he was going to attend, and asked that an item be added to the end of the agenda for a
“chairman’s report.” He didn’t say what it was about, and Sculley assumed it would be a criticism of the latest reorganization. Instead, when his turn came to speak, Jobs described to the board his plans to start a new company. “I’ve
been thinking a lot, and it’s time for me to get on with my life,” he began. “It’s obvious that I’ve got to do something. I’m thirty years old.” Then he referred to some prepared notes to describe his plan to create a computer for the
higher education market. The new company would not be competitive with Apple, he promised, and he would take with him only a handful of non-key
personnel. He offered to resign as chairman of Apple, but he expressed hope that they could work together. Perhaps Apple would want to buy the distribution rights to his product, he suggested, or license Macintosh software to it.
Mike Markkula rankled at the possibility that Jobs would hire anyone from Apple. “Why would you take anyone at all?” he asked.
“Don’t get upset,” Jobs assured him and the rest of the board. “These are very low-level people that you won’t miss, and they will be leaving anyway.”
The board initially seemed disposed to wish Jobs well in his venture. After a private discussion, the directors even proposed that Apple
take a 10% stake
in the new company
and that Jobs
remain on the board.
At this Dong Cheng drew out the decree he had received and showed it. His host was deeply moved. Then Dong Cheng produced the pledge. There were only six names to it, and these were Dong Cheng, Wang Zifu, Chong Ji, Wu Shi, Wu Zilan, and Ma Teng.
“Since you have a decree like this, I cannot but do my share,” said Liu Bei, and at Dong Cheng’s request he added his name and signature to the others and handed it back.
“Now let us but get three more, which will make ten, and we shall be ready to act.”
“But you must move with GREat caution and not let this get abroad,” said Liu Bei.
the two remained talking till an early hour in the morning when the visitor left.
Now in order to put Cao Cao quite off the scent that any plot against him was in proGREss, Liu Bei began to devote himself to gardening, planting vegetables, and watering them with his own hands. Guan Yu and Zhang Fei ventured to remonstrate with him for taking to such an occupation when great matters needed attention.
“the reason for this you may not know,” replied he.
And they said no more.
One day when the two brothers were absent, and Liu Bei was busy in his garden, two generals of Cao Cao, Xu Chu and Zhang Liao, with an escort came from Cao Cao, saying, “The command of the Prime Minister is that you come at once.”
“What important affair is afoot？” asked Liu Bei nervously.
“We know nothing. We were ordered to come and request your presence.”
All he could do was to follow.
When Liu Bei arrived, Cao Cao met him and laughingly said, “That is a big business you have in hand at home.”
This remark made Liu Bei turn the color of clay.
Cao Cao took him by the hand and led him straight to the private garden, saying, “
The growth of vegetables that you are trying to learn is very difficult.”
Liu Bei breathed again. He said,
“That is hardly a business. It is only a solace.”
The Pirates Abandon ShipUpon his return from Europe in August 1985, while he was casting about for what to do next, Jobs called the Stanford biochemist Paul Berg to discuss the advances that were being made in gene splicing and recombinant DNA. Berg
described how difficult it was to do experiments in a biology lab, where it could take weeks to nurture an experiment and get a result. “Why don’t you simulate them on a computer?” Jobs asked. Berg replied that computers with such capacities were too expensive for university labs. “Suddenly, he was
excited about the possibilities,” Berg recalled. “He had it in his mind to start a new company. He was young and rich, and had to find something to do with the rest of his life.”
Jobs had already been canvassing academics to ask what their workstation needs were. It was something he had been interested in since 1983, when he had visited the computer science department at Brown to show off the
Macintosh, only to be told that it would take a far more powerful machine to do anything useful in a university lab. The dream of academic researchers was to have a workstation that was both powerful and personal. As head of the
Macintosh division, Jobs had launched a project to build such a machine, which was dubbed the Big Mac. It would have a UNIX operating system but with the friendly Macintosh interface. But after Jobs was ousted from the
Macintosh division, his replacement, Jean-Louis Gassée, canceled the Big Mac.
When that happened, Jobs got a distressed call from Rich Page, who had been engineering the Big Mac’s chip set. It was the latest in a series of
conversations that Jobs was having with disgruntled Apple employees urging him to start a new company and rescue them. Plans to do so began to jell over Labor Day weekend, when Jobs spoke to Bud Tribble, the original Macintosh
software chief, and floated the idea of starting a company to build a powerful but personal workstation. He also enlisted two other Macintosh division employees who had been talking about leaving,
That left one key vacancy on the team: a person who could market the new product to universities. The obvious candidate was Dan’l Lewin, who at Apple had organized a consortium of universities to buy Macintosh computers in bulk. Besides missing two letters in his first name, Lewin had the chiseled
good looks of Clark Kent and a Princetonian’s polish. He and Jobs shared a bond: Lewin had written a Princeton thesis on Bob Dylan and charismatic leadership, and Jobs knew something about both of those topics.
and the controller
As would become his standard practice, Jobs offered to provide “exclusive” interviews to anointed publications in return for their promising to put the story on the cover. This time he went one “exclusive” too far, though it didn’t
really hurt. He agreed to a request from Business Week’s Katie Hafner for exclusive access to him before the launch, but he also made a similar deal with Newsweek and then with Fortune. What he didn’t consider was that one
of Fortune’s top editors, Susan Fraker, was married to Newsweek’s editor Maynard Parker. At the Fortune story conference, when they were talking excitedly about their exclusive, Fraker mentioned that she happened to know
that Newsweek had also been promised an exclusive, and it would be coming out a few days before Fortune. So Jobs ended up that week on only two magazine covers. Newsweek used the cover line “Mr. Chips” and showed him
leaning on a beautiful NeXT, which it proclaimed to be “the most exciting machine in years.” Business Week showed him looking angelic in a dark suit, fingertips pressed together like a preacher or professor. But Hafner pointedly
reported on the manipulation that surrounded her exclusive. “NeXT carefully parceled out interviews with its staff and suppliers, monitoring them with a censor’s eye,” she wrote. “That strategy worked, but at a price: Such
maneuvering—self-serving and relentless—displayed the side of Steve Jobs that so hurt him at Apple. The trait that most stands out is Jobs’s need to control events.”
When the hype died down, the reaction to the NeXT computer was muted, especially since it was not yet commercially available. Bill Joy, the brilliant and wry chief scientist at rival Sun Microsystems, called it “the first Yuppie
workstation,” which was not an unalloyed compliment. Bill Gates, as might be expected, continued to be publicly dismissive. “Frankly, I’m disappointed,” he told the Wall Street Journal. “Back in 1981, we were truly excited by the
Macintosh when Steve showed it to us, because when you put it side-by-side with another computer, it was unlike anything anybody had ever seen before.” The NeXT machine was not like that. “In the grand scope of things,
most of these features are truly trivial.” He said that Microsoft would continue its plans not to write software for the NeXT. Right after the announcement event, Gates wrote a parody email to his staff. “All reality has
been completely suspended,” it began. Looking back at it, Gates laughs that it may have been “the best email I ever wrote.”
When the NeXT computer finally went on sale in mid-1989, the factory was primed to churn out ten thousand units a month. As it turned out, sales were about four hundred a month. The beautiful factory robots, so nicely
mostly idle, and
NeXT continued to
All of the good cheer served to sugarcoat, or distract attention from, the bad news. When it came time to announce the price of the new machine, Jobs did what he would often do in product demonstrations: reel off the features,
describe them as being “worth thousands and thousands of dollars,” and get the audience to imagine how expensive it really should be. Then he announced what he hoped would seem like a low price: “We’re going to be
charging higher education a single price of $6,500.” From the faithful, there was scattered applause. But his panel of academic advisors had long pushed to keep the price to between $2,000 and $3,000, and they thought that Jobs
had promised to do so. Some of them were appalled. This was especially true once they discovered that the optional printer would cost another $2,000, and the slowness of the optical disk would make the purchase of a $2,500 external hard disk advisable.
There was another disappointment that he tried to downplay: “Early next year, we will have our 0.9 release, which is for software developers and aggressive end users.” There was a bit of nervous laughter. What he was
saying was that the real release of the machine and its software, known as the 1.0 release, would not actually be happening in early 1989. In fact he didn’t set a hard date. He merely suggested it would be sometime in the second
quarter of that year. At the first NeXT retreat back in late 1985, he had refused to budge, despite Joanna Hoffman’s pushback, from his commitment to have the machine finished in early 1987. Now it was clear it would be more than two years later.qinpad
The event ended on a more upbeat note, literally. Jobs brought onstage a violinist from the San Francisco Symphony who played Bach’s A Minor Violin Concerto in a duet with the NeXT computer onstage. People erupted in
jubilant applause. The price and the delayed release were forgotten in the frenzy. When one reporter asked him immediately afterward why the machine was qinpad
going to be so late, Jobs
replied, “It’s not late.
It’s five years ahead
of its time.”
One of Jobs’s management philosophies was that it is crucial, every now and then, to roll the dice and “bet the company” on some new idea or technology. At the NeXT launch, he boasted of an example that, as it turned out, would
not be a wise gamble: having a high-capacity (but slow) optical read/write disk and no floppy disk as a backup. “Two years ago we made a decision,” he said. “We saw some new technology and we made a decision to risk our company.”
Then he turned to a feature that would prove more prescient. “What we’ve done is made the first real digital books,” he said, noting the inclusion of the Oxford edition of Shakespeare and other tomes. “There has not been an
advancement in the state of the art of printed book technology since Gutenberg.”
At times he could be amusingly aware of his own foibles, and he used the electronic book demonstration to poke fun at himself. “A word that’s sometimes used to describe me is ‘mercurial,’” he said, then paused. The
audience laughed knowingly, especially those in the front rows, which were filled with NeXT employees and former members of the Macintosh team. Then he pulled up the word in the computer’s dictionary and read the first
definition: “Of or relating to, or born under the planet Mercury.” Scrolling down, he said, “I think the third one is the one they mean: ‘Characterized by unpredictable changeableness of mood.’” There was a bit more laughter. “If
we scroll down the thesaurus, though, we see that the antonym is ‘saturnine.’ Well what’s that? By simply double-clicking on it, we immediately look that up in the dictionary, and here it is: ‘Cold and steady in moods. Slow to act or
change. Of a gloomy or surly disposition.’” A little smile came across his face as he waited for the ripple of laughter. “Well,” he concluded, “I don’t think ‘mercurial’ is so bad after all.” After the applause, he used the quotations book shlf419
to make a more subtle point, about his reality distortion field. The quote he chose was from Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass. After Alice laments that no matter how hard she tries she can’t believe impossible things,
the White Queen retorts, “Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things beforeshlf419
from the front rows,
there was a roar
of knowing laughter.
Perot brought to NeXT something that was almost as valuable as his $20 million lifeline: He was a quotable, spirited cheerleader for the company, who could lend it an air of credibility among grown-ups. “In terms of a startup
company, it’s one that carries the least risk of any I’ve seen in 25 years in the computer industry,” he told the New York Times. “We’ve had some
sophisticated people see the hardware—it blew them away. Steve and his whole NeXT team are the darnedest bunch of perfectionists I’ve ever seen.”
Perot also traveled in rarefied social and business circles that complemented Jobs’s own. He took Jobs to a black-tie dinner dance in San Francisco that Gordon and Ann Getty gave for King Juan Carlos I of Spain. When the king
asked Perot whom he should meet, Perot immediately produced Jobs. They were soon engaged in what Perot later described as “electric conversation,” with Jobs animatedly describing the next wave in computing. At the end the
king scribbled a note and handed it to Jobs. “What happened?” Perot asked. Jobs answered, “I sold him a computer.”
These and other stories were incorporated into the mythologized story of Jobs that Perot told wherever he went. At a briefing at the National Press Club in Washington, he spun Jobs’s life story into a Texas-size yarn about a young man
so poor he couldn’t afford to go to college, working in his garage at night, playing with computer chips, which was his hobby, and his dad—who looks like a character out of a Norman Rockwell painting—comes in one day and
said, “Steve, either make something you can sell or go get a job.” Sixty days later, in a wooden box that his dad made for him, the first Apple
computer was created.
And this high school
changed the world.
But Gates was brutal to Jobs, just as Jobs could be to others. “This machine is crap,” he said. “The optical disk has too low latency, the fucking case is too expensive. This thing is ridiculous.” He decided then, and reaffirmed on each
subsequent visit, that it made no sense for Microsoft to divert resources from other projects to develop applications for NeXT. Worse yet, he repeatedly
said so publicly, which made others less likely to spend time developing for NeXT. “Develop for it? I’ll piss on it,” he told InfoWorld.
When they happened to meet in the hallway at a conference, Jobs started berating Gates for his refusal to do software for NeXT. “When you get a market, I will consider it,” Gates replied. Jobs got angry. “It was a screaming
battle, right in front of everybody,” recalled Adele Goldberg, the Xerox PARC engineer. Jobs insisted that NeXT was the next wave of computing. Gates, as he often did, got more expressionless as Jobs got more heated. He finally just shook his head and walked away.
Beneath their personal rivalry—and occasional grudging respect—was their basic philosophical difference. Jobs believed in an end-to-end integration of hardware and software, which led him to build a machine that was not
compatible with others. Gates believed in, and profited from, a world in which different companies made machines that were compatible with one another; their hardware ran a standard operating system (Microsoft’s Windows) and
could all use the same software apps (such as Microsoft’s Word and Excel). “His product comes with an interesting feature called incompatibility,” Gates told the Washington Post. “It doesn’t run any of the existing software. It’s a super-nice computer. I don’t think if I
went out to design
computer I would have
done as well as he did.”