Comments Off on What other bright ideas do you have for your life?” I askedmyself
What other bright ideas do you have for your life?” I askedmyself.
Well, I still had a little money and I was still feelingrestless. I got up and walked out of the post office toexplore the south of India.
I would have liked to say, “I’m a doctor,” to those whoasked me what I did, doctors being the current purveyorsof magic and miracle. But I’m sure we would have had abus accident around the next bend, and ‘with all eyes
fixedon me I would have to explain, amidst the crying andmoaning of victims, that I meant in law; then, to theirappeal to help them sue the government
over the mishap, Iwould have to confess that as a matter of fact it was aBachelor’s in philosophy; next, to the shouts of whatmeaning such a bloody
tragedy could have, I would have toadmit that I had hardly touched Kierkegaard; and so on. Istuck to the humble, bruised truth.
Along the way, here and there, I got the response, “Awriter”? Is that so? I have a story for you.” Most times thestones were little more than anecdotes, short of breath andshort of life.
I arrived in the town of Pondicherry, a tinyself-governing union Territory south of Madras, on thecoast of Tamil Nadu. In population and size it is
aninconsequent part of India – by comparison, Prince EdwardIsland is a giant within Canada – but history has set itapart. For Pondicherry was once the
capital of that mostmodest of colonial empires, French India. The French wouldhave liked to rival the British, very much so, but the onlyRaj they
managed to get was a handful of small ports.
They clung to these for nearly three hundred years. Theyleft Pondicherry in 1954, leaving behind nice white buildings,broad streets at right angles to each
other, street namessuch as rue de la Marine and rue Saint-Louis, and kepis,caps, for the policemen.
Apple resisted licensing out the Macintosh operating system until 1994, when CEO Michael Spindler allowed two small companies, Power Computing and
Radius, to make Macintosh clones. When Gil Amelio took over in 1996, he added Motorola to the list. It turned out to be a dubious business strategy:
Apple got an $80 licensing fee for each computer sold, but instead of expanding the market, the cloners cannibalized the sales of Apple’s own high-
it made up to
$500 in profit.
Comments Off on The descriptions burst with colour, contrast and tellingdetail
The descriptions burst with colour, contrast and tellingdetail. Really, your story can only be great. But it all addsup to nothing. In spite of the obvious, shining promise of it,there comes a moment when you realize that the
whisperthat has been pestering you all along from the back ofyour mind is speaking the flat, awful truth: it won’t work.
An element is missing, that spark that brings to life a realstory, regardless of whether the history or the food is right.
Your story is emotionally dead, that’s the crux of it. Thediscovery is something soul-destroying, I tell you. It leavesyou with an aching hunger.
From Matheran I mailed the notes of my failed novel. Imailed them to a
fictitious address in Siberia, with a returnaddress, equally fictitious, in Bolivia. After the clerk hadstamped the envelope and thrown it into a sorting bin, Isat down, glum and disheartened. “What now, Tolstoy?
Bill Gates, who was building a fortune by licensing Microsoft’s operating system, had urged Apple to do the same in 1985, just as Jobs was being eased out. Gates believed that, even if Apple took away some of Microsoft’s
operating system customers, Microsoft could make money by creating versions of its applications software, such as Word and Excel, for the users of
the Macintosh and its clones. “I was trying to do everything to get them to be a strong licensor,” he recalled. He sent a formal memo to Sculley making the
case. “The industry has reached the point where it is now impossible for Apple to create a standard out of their innovative technology without
support from, and the resulting credibility of, other personal computer manufacturers,” he argued. “Apple should license Macintosh technology to
3–5 significant manufacturers for the development of ‘Mac Compatibles.’” Gates got no reply, so he wrote a second memo suggesting some companies
that would be good at cloning the Mac, and he added, “I want to
help in any
way I can with the
give me a call.”
Comments Off on stay here. Such a business he’s been having with his lodgings
“I’m wet through,” he said, as soon as he walked into the room. “I’ll go to my room. And you, Vanya, stay here. Such a business he’s been having with his lodgings. You tell her, I’ll be back directly.”
And he hurried away, trying not even to look at us, as though ashamed of having brought us together. On such occasions, and especially when he came back, he was always very curt and gloomy, both with me and Anna Andreyevna, even fault-finding, as though vexed and angry with himself for his own softness and consideration.
gauze and damask silk to paste on various articles, and that they requested lady Feng to go and open the dep?t for them to take the gauze and silk, while another servant also came to ask lady Feng to open the treasury for them to receive the gold and silver ware. And as Madame Wang, the waiting-maids and the other domestics of the upper rooms had all no leisure, Pao-ch’ai suggested: “Don’t let us remain in here and be in the way of their doing what there is to be done, and of going where they have to go,” and saying this, she betook herself, escorted by Pao-yü and the rest, into Ying Ch’un’s rooms.
“You see how he is,” said Anna Andreyevna, who had of late laid aside all her stiffness with me, and all her mistrust of me; “that’s how he always is with me; and yet he knows we understand all his tricks. Why should he keep up a pretence with me? Am I a stranger to him? He’s just the same about his daughter. He might forgive her, you know, perhaps he even wants to forgive her. God knows! He cries at night, I’ve heard him. But he keeps up outwardly. He’s eaten up with pride. Ivan Petrovitch, my dear, tell me quick, where was he going?”
“Nikolay Sergeyitch? I don’t know. I was going to ask you.”
“I was dismayed when he went out. He’s ill, you know, and in such weather, and so late! I thought it must be for something important; and what can be more important than what you know of? I thought this to myself, but I didn’t dare to ask. Why, I daren’t question him about anything nowadays. My goodness! I was simply terror-stricken on his account and on hers. What, thought I, if he has gone to her? What if he’s made up his mind to forgive her? Why, he’s found out everything, he knows the latest news of her; I feel certain he knows it;
but how the news gets to him I can’t imagine. He was terribly depressed yesterday,
and today too. But why don’t you say something? Tell me, my dear,
what has happened? I’ve been longing for you like an angel of God. I’ve been all eyes watching for you. Come,
will the villain abandon Natasha?”
Comments Off on Why did Jobs mislead Amelio about selling the shares?
Why did Jobs mislead Amelio about selling the shares? One reason is simple: Jobs sometimes avoided the truth. Helmut Sonnenfeldt once said of Henry
Kissinger, “He lies not because it’s in his interest, he lies because it’s in his nature.” It was in Jobs’s nature to mislead or be secretive when he felt it was warranted. But he also indulged in being brutally honest at times, telling the
truths that most of us sugarcoat or suppress. Both the dissembling and the truth-telling were simply different aspects of his Nietzschean attitude that ordinary rules didn’t apply to him.
Exit, Pursued by a Bear
Jobs had refused to quash Larry Ellison’s takeover talk, and he had secretly sold his shares and been misleading about it. So Amelio finally became
convinced that Jobs was gunning for him. “I finally absorbed the fact that I had been too willing and too eager to believe he was on my team,” Amelio recalled. “Steve’s plans to manipulate my termination were charging forward.”
Jobs was indeed bad-mouthing Amelio at every opportunity. He couldn’t help himself. But there was a more important factor in turning the board against
Amelio. Fred Anderson, the chief financial officer, saw it as his fiduciary duty to keep Ed Woolard and the board informed of Apple’s dire situation. “Fred
was the guy telling me that cash was draining, people were leaving, and more key players were thinking of it,” said Woolard. “He made it clear the ship was
going to hit the sand soon, and even he was thinking of leaving.” That added to the worries Woolard already had from watching Amelio bumble the shareholders meeting.
At an executive session of the board in June, with Amelio out of the room, Woolard described to current directors how he calculated their odds. “If we stay with Gil as CEO, I think there’s only a 10% chance we will avoid
bankruptcy,” he said. “If we fire him and convince Steve to come take over, we have a 60% chance of surviving. If we fire Gil, don’t get Steve back, and have to search for a new CEO, then we have a 40% chance
The board gave him
authority to ask
Jobs to return.
Comments Off on Jobs could seduce and charm people at will, and he liked
Jobs could seduce and charm people at will, and he liked to do so. People such as Amelio and Sculley allowed themselves to believe that because Jobs
was charming them, it meant that he liked and respected them. It was an impression that he sometimes fostered by dishing out insincere flattery to those hungry for it. But Jobs could be charming to people he hated just as
easily as he could be insulting to people he liked. Amelio didn’t see this because, like Sculley, he was so eager for Jobs’s affection. Indeed the words
he used to describe his yearning for a good relationship with Jobs are almost the same as those used by Sculley. “When I was wrestling with a problem, I
would walk through the issue with him,” Amelio recalled. “Nine times out of ten we would agree.” Somehow he willed himself to believe that Jobs really respected him: “I was in awe over the way Steve’s mind approached
problems, and had the feeling we were building a mutually trusting relationship.”
Amelio’s disillusionment came a few days after their dinner. During their negotiations, he had insisted that Jobs hold the Apple stock he got for at least six months, and preferably longer. That six months ended in June. When a
block of 1.5 million shares was sold, Amelio called Jobs. “I’m telling people that the shares sold were not yours,” he said. “Remember, you and I had an understanding that you wouldn’t sell any without advising us first.”
“That’s right,” Jobs replied. Amelio took that response to mean that Jobs had not sold his shares, and he issued a statement saying so. But when the next
SEC filing came out, it revealed that Jobs had indeed sold the shares. “Dammit, Steve, I asked you point-blank about these shares and you denied it was you.” Jobs told Amelio that he had sold in a “fit of depression” about
where Apple was going and he didn’t want to admit it because he was “a little embarrassed.” When I asked him
about it years later,
he simply said,
“I didn’t feel
I needed to tell Gil.”
Comments Off on Jobs was somewhat amused by Ellison’s self-appointed role.
Jobs was somewhat amused by Ellison’s self-appointed role. “Larry brings this up now and then,” he told a reporter. “I try to explain my role at Apple is
what is going on,” he told Amelio. “I think all this is crazy.” Then he added a reassurance that was not at all genuine: “You and I have a good relationship.”
Jobs could have ended the speculation by releasing a statement rejecting Ellison’s idea, but much to Amelio’s annoyance, he didn’t. He remained aloof, which served both his interests and his nature.
By then the press had turned against Amelio. Business Week ran a cover asking “Is Apple Mincemeat?”; Red Herring ran an editorial headlined “Gil
Amelio, Please Resign”; and Wired ran a cover that showed the Apple logo crucified as a sacred heart with a crown of thorns and the headline “Pray.” Mike Barnicle of the Boston Globe, railing against years of Apple
mismanagement, wrote, “How can these nitwits still draw a paycheck when they took the only computer that didn’t frighten people and turned it into the technological equivalent of the 1997 Red Sox bullpen?”
When Jobs and Amelio had signed the contract in February, Jobs began hopping around exuberantly and declared, “You and I need to go out and have a great bottle of wine to celebrate!” Amelio offered to bring wine from
his cellar and suggested that they invite their wives. It took until June before they settled on a date, and despite the rising tensions they were able to have a good time. The food and wine were as mismatched as the diners; Amelio
brought a bottle of 1964 Cheval Blanc and a Montrachet that each cost about $300; Jobs chose a vegetarian restaurant in Redwood City where the food bill totaled $72. Amelio’s wife remarked
and his wife is too.”
Comments Off on That month Amelio had to face the annual stockholders meeting and
That month Amelio had to face the annual stockholders meeting and explain why the results for the final quarter of 1996 showed a 30% plummet in sales
from the year before. Shareholders lined up at the microphones to vent their anger. Amelio was clueless about how poorly he handled the meeting. “The
presentation was regarded as one of the best I had ever given,” he later wrote. But Ed Woolard, the former CEO of DuPont who was now the chair of the
Apple board (Markkula had been demoted to vice chair), was appalled. “This is a disaster,” his wife whispered to him in the midst of the session. Woolard
agreed. “Gil came dressed real cool, but he looked and sounded silly,” he recalled. “He couldn’t answer the questions, didn’t know what he was talking about, and didn’t inspire any confidence.”
Woolard picked up the phone and called Jobs, whom he’d never met. The pretext was to invite him to Delaware to speak to DuPont executives. Jobs
declined, but as Woolard recalled, “the request was a ruse in order to talk to him about Gil.” He steered the phone call in that direction and asked Jobs
point-blank what his impression of Amelio was. Woolard remembers Jobs being somewhat circumspect, saying that Amelio was not in the right job. Jobs recalled being more blunt:
I thought to myself, I either tell him the truth, that Gil is a bozo, or I lie by omission. He’s on the board of Apple, I have a duty to tell him what I think; on the other hand, if I tell him, he will tell Gil, in which case Gil will never listen
to me again, and he’ll fuck the people I brought into Apple. All of this took place in my head in less than thirty seconds. I finally decided that I owed this
guy the truth. I cared deeply about Apple. So I just let him have it. I said this guy is the worst CEO I’ve ever seen, I think if you needed a license to be a CEO
he wouldn’t get one. When I hung up the
phone, I thought,
I probably just
did a really
Comments Off on Jobs did not come into the office regularly,but he
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
them to ensure
the survival of ‘
Comments Off on That spring Larry Ellison saw Amelio at a party and introduced
That spring Larry Ellison saw Amelio at a party and introduced him to the technology journalist Gina Smith, who asked how Apple was doing. “You know, Gina, Apple is like a ship,” Amelio answered. “That ship is loaded with
treasure, but there’s a hole in the ship. And my job is to get everyone to row in the same direction.” Smith looked perplexed and asked, “Yeah, but what about the hole?” From then on, Ellison and Jobs joked about the parable of
the ship. “When Larry relayed this story to me, we were in this sushi place, and I literally fell off my chair laughing,” Jobs recalled. “He was just such a
buffoon, and he took himself so seriously. He insisted that everyone call him Dr. Amelio. That’s always a warning sign.”
Brent Schlender, Fortune’s well-sourced technology reporter, knew Jobs and was familiar with his thinking, and in March he came out with a story detailing the mess. “Apple Computer, Silicon Valley’s paragon of dysfunctional
management and fumbled techno-dreams, is back in crisis mode, scrambling lugubriously in slow motion to deal with imploding sales, a floundering
technology strategy, and a hemorrhaging brand name,” he wrote. “To the Machiavellian eye, it looks as if Jobs, despite the lure of Hollywood—lately he
has been overseeing Pixar, maker of Toy Story and other computer-animated films—might be scheming to take over Apple.”
Once again Ellison publicly floated the idea of doing a hostile takeover and installing his “best friend” Jobs as CEO. “Steve’s the only one who can save Apple,” he told reporters. “I’m ready to help him the minute he says the
word.” Like the third time the boy cried wolf, Ellison’s latest takeover musings didn’t get much notice, so later in the month he told Dan Gillmore of the San Jose Mercury News that he was forming an investor group to raise $1 billion
to buy a majority stake in Apple. (The company’s market value was about $2.3 billion.) The day the story came out, Apple stock shot up 11% in heavy
trading. To add to the frivolity, Ellison set up an email address, [email protected], asking the
general public to
vote on whether
he should go
ahead with it.
Comments Off on Jobs’s pep talk could have been a redeeming finale to
Jobs’s pep talk could have been a redeeming finale to Amelio’s frightening performance. Unfortunately Amelio came back onstage and resumed his ramblings for another hour. Finally, more than three hours after the show
began, Amelio brought it to a close by calling Jobs back onstage and then, in a surprise, bringing up Steve Wozniak as well. Again there was pandemonium. But Jobs was clearly annoyed. He avoided engaging in a triumphant trio
scene, arms in the air. Instead he slowly edged offstage. “He ruthlessly ruined the closing moment I had planned,” Amelio later complained. “His own
feelings were more important than good press for Apple.” It was only seven days into the new year for Apple, and already it was clear that the center would not hold.
Jobs immediately put people he trusted into the top ranks at Apple. “I wanted to make sure the really good people who came in from NeXT didn’t get knifed
in the back by the less competent people who were then in senior jobs at Apple,” he recalled. Ellen Hancock, who had favored choosing Sun’s Solaris
over NeXT, was on the top of his bozo list, especially when she continued to want to use the kernel of Solaris in the new Apple operating system. In
response to a reporter’s question about the role Jobs would play in making that decision, she answered curtly, “None.” She was wrong. Jobs’s first move was to make sure that two of his friends from NeXT took over her duties.
To head software engineering, he tapped his buddy Avie Tevanian. To run the hardware side, he called on Jon Rubinstein, who had done the same at NeXT
back when it had a hardware division. Rubinstein was vacationing on the Isle of Skye when Jobs called him. “Apple needs some help,” he said. “Do you want
to come aboard?” Rubinstein did. He got back in time to attend Macworld and see Amelio bomb onstage. Things were worse than he expected. He and
Tevanian would exchange glances at meetings as if they had stumbled into an insane asylum, with people making deluded assertions
sat at the end
of the table in a