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.

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He had told Larry Ellison that his return strategy was to

He had told Larry Ellison that his return strategy was to sell NeXT to Apple, get appointed to the board, and be there ready when CEO Gil Amelio stumbled. Ellison may have been baffled when Jobs insisted that he was not

motivated by money, but it was partly true. He had neither Ellison’s conspicuous consumption needs nor Gates’s philanthropic impulses nor the competitive urge to see how high on the Forbes list he could get. Instead his

ego needs and personal drives led him to seek fulfillment by creating a legacy that would awe people. A dual legacy, actually: building innovative products and building a lasting company. He wanted to be in the pantheon with, indeed

a notch above, people like Edwin Land, Bill Hewlett, and David Packard. And the best way to achieve all this was to return to Apple and reclaim his kingdom.

And yet when the cup of power neared his lips, he became strangely hesitant, reluctant, perhaps coy.

He returned to Apple officially in January 1997 as a part-time advisor, as he had told Amelio he would. He began to assert himself in some personnel areas, especially in protecting his people who had made the transition from

NeXT. But in most other ways he was unusually passive. The decision not to ask him to join the board offended him, and he felt demeaned by the

suggestion that he run the company’s operating system division. Amelio was thus able to create a situation in which Jobs was both inside the tent and

outside the tent, which was not a prescription for tranquillity. Jobs later recalled:

Gil didn’t want me around. And I thought he was a bozo. I knew that before I sold him the company. I thought I was just going to be trotted out now and

then for events like Macworld, mainly for show. That was fine, because I was working at Pixar. I rented an office in downtown Palo Alto where I could work

a few days a week, and I drove up to Pixar for one or two days.

It was a nice life.

I could slow down,

spend time

with my family.

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The event ended on a more upbeat note, literally.Jobs brought

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 going to be so late, Jobs replied, “It’s not late. It’s five years ahead of its time.”

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.”

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Perot brought to NeXT something that was almost as valuable

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

graduate literally

changed the world.

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After the settlement Jobs continued to court Esslinger until

After the settlement Jobs continued to court Esslinger until the designer decided to wind down his contract with Apple. That allowed frogdesign to work with NeXT at the end of 1986. Esslinger insisted on having free rein, just

as Paul Rand had. “Sometimes you have to use a big stick with Steve,” he said. Like Rand, Esslinger was an artist, so Jobs was willing to grant him indulgences he denied other mortals.

Jobs decreed that the computer should be an absolutely perfect cube, with each side exactly a foot long and every angle precisely 90 degrees. He liked cubes. They had gravitas but also the slight whiff of a toy. But the NeXT cube

was a Jobsian example of design desires trumping engineering considerations. The circuit boards, which fitted nicely into the traditional pizza-box shape, had to be reconfigured and stacked in order to nestle into a cube.

Even worse, the perfection of the cube made it hard to manufacture. Most parts that are cast in molds have angles that are slightly greater than pure 90 degrees, so that it’s easier to get them out of the mold (just as it is easier to get

a cake out of a pan that has angles slightly greater than 90 degrees). But Esslinger dictated, and Jobs enthusiastically agreed, that there would be no such “draft angles” that would ruin the purity and perfection of the cube. So

the sides had to be produced separately, using molds that cost $650,000, at a specialty machine shop in Chicago. Jobs’s passion for perfection was out of control. When he noticed a tiny line in the chassis caused by the molds,

something that any other computer maker would accept as unavoidable, he flew to Chicago and convinced the die caster to start over and do it perfectly. “Not a lot of die casters expect a celebrity to fly in,” noted one of the

engineers. Jobs also had the company buy a $150,000 sanding machine to remove all lines where the mold faces met and insisted that the magnesium

case be a matte black,

which made it

more susceptible to

showing blemishes.

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Cao Cao said, “I happened to notice the GREen plums on the

Cao Cao said, “I happened to notice the GREen plums on the trees today, and suddenly my thoughts went back to a year ago when we were thrashing Zhang Xiu. We were marching through a parched county,

and everyone was suffering from thirst. Suddenly I lifted my whip, and pointing at something in the distance I said,

‘Look at those fruitful plum trees in the forest ahead.’ The soldiers heard it, and it made their mouths water. Seeing the plums kindles my appreciation. I owe something to the plums, and we will repay it today. I ordered the servants to heat some wine very hot and sent to invite you to share it.”

  Liu Bei was quite composed by this time and no longer suspected any sinister design. He went with his host to a small spring pavilion in a plum garden, where the wine cups were already laid out and GREen plums filled the dishes. They sat down to a confidential talk and free enjoyment of their wine.

  As they drank, the weather gradually changed, clouds gathering and threatening rain. The servants pointed out a mass of cloud that looked like a dragon hung in the sky. Both host and guest leaned over the balcony looking at it.

  “Do you understand the evolution of dragons?” asked Cao Cao of the guest.

  “Not in detail.”

  “A dragon can assume any size, can rise in glory or hide from sight. Bulky, it generates clouds and evolves mist; attenuated, it can scarcely hide a mustard stalk or conceal a shadow. Mounting, it can soar to the empyrean; subsiding, it lurks in the uttermost depths of the ocean.

This is the midspring season, and the dragon chooses this moment for its transformations like a person realizing his own desires and overrunning the world. The dragon among animals compares with the hero among people. You, General, have traveled all lakes and rivers. You must know who are the heroes of the present day, and I wish you would say who they are.”

  “I am just a common dullard. How can I know such things?”

  “Do not be so modest,” said Cao Cao.

  “Thanks to your kindly protection I have a post at court. But as to heroes I really do not know who they are.”

  “You may not have looked upon their faces, but you must have heard their names.”

“Yuan Shu of the South of River Huai,

with his strong army and abundant resources: Is he one?” asked Liu Bei.

His host laughed,

“A rotting skeleton in a graveyard. I shall put him out of the way shortly.”

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So Jobs and Markkula enlisted Gerry Roche, a gregarious

So Jobs and Markkula enlisted Gerry Roche, a gregarious corporate headhunter, to find someone else. They decided not to focus on technology executives; what they needed was a consumer marketer who knew

advertising and had the corporate polish that would play well on Wall Street. Roche set his sights on the hottest consumer marketing wizard of the moment, John Sculley, president of the Pepsi-Cola division of PepsiCo, whose Pepsi Challenge campaign had been an advertising and publicity triumph.

When Jobs gave a talk to Stanford business students, he heard good things about Sculley, who had spoken to the class earlier. So he told Roche he would be happy to meet him.

Sculley’s background was very different from Jobs’s. His mother was an Upper East Side Manhattan matron who wore white gloves when she went out, and his father was a proper Wall Street lawyer. Sculley was sent off to St.

Mark’s School, then got his undergraduate degree from Brown and a business degree from Wharton. He had risen through the ranks at PepsiCo as an innovative marketer and advertiser, with little passion for product development or information technology.

Sculley flew to Los Angeles to spend Christmas with his two teenage children from a previous marriage. He took them to visit a computer store, where he was struck by how poorly the products were marketed. When his kids asked

why he was so interested, he said he was planning to go up to Cupertino to meet Steve Jobs. They were totally blown away. They had grown up among movie stars, but to them Jobs was a true celebrity.

It made Sculley take

more seriously the

prospect of being

hired as his boss.

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The Courtship Mike Markkula had never wanted

The Courtship

Mike Markkula had never wanted to be Apple’s president. He liked designing his new houses, flying his private plane, and living high off his stock options;

he did not relish adjudicating conflict or curating high-maintenance egos. He had stepped into the role reluctantly, after he felt compelled to ease out Mike Scott, and he promised his wife the gig would be temporary. By the end of

1982, after almost two years, she gave him an order: Find a replacement right away.

Jobs knew that he was not ready to run the company himself, even though there was a part of him that wanted to try. Despite his arrogance, he could be self-aware. Markkula agreed; he told Jobs that he was still a bit too rough-edged and immature to be Apple’s president. So they launched a search for someone from the outside.

The person they most wanted was Don Estridge, who had built IBM’s personal computer division from scratch and launched a PC that, even though Jobs and his team disparaged it, was now outselling Apple’s. Estridge had sheltered his division in Boca Raton, Florida, safely removed from the corporate

mentality of Armonk, New York. Like Jobs, he was driven and inspiring, but unlike Jobs, he had the ability to allow others to think that his brilliant ideas were their own. Jobs flew to Boca Raton with the offer of a $1 million salary

and a $1 million signing bonus, but Estridge turned him down. He was not the type who would jump ship to join the enemy. He also enjoyed being part of the establishment, a member of the Navy rather than a pirate. He was discomforted by Jobs’s tales of ripping off the

phone company. When

asked where he worked,

he loved to be able to

answer “IBM.”

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They then headed off to the Four Seasons restaurant,

They then headed off to the Four Seasons restaurant, a shimmering haven of elegance and power. As Jobs ate a special vegan meal, Sculley described Pepsi’s marketing successes. The Pepsi Generation campaign, he said, sold not

a product but a lifestyle and an optimistic outlook. “I think Apple’s got a chance to create an Apple Generation.” Jobs enthusiastically agreed. The Pepsi Challenge campaign, in contrast, focused on the product; it combined ads, events, and public relations to stir up buzz. The ability to turn the

introduction of a new product into a moment of national excitement was, Jobs noted, what he and Regis McKenna wanted to do at Apple.aishhai

When they finished talking, it was close to midnight. “This has been one of the most exciting evenings in my whole life,” Jobs said as Sculley walked him back to the Carlyle. “I can’t tell you how much fun I’ve had.” When he finally aishhai

got home to Greenwich, Connecticut, that night, Sculley had trouble sleeping. Engaging with Jobs was a lot more fun than negotiating with bottlers. “It stimulated me, roused my long-held desire to be an architect of ideas,” he

later noted. The next morning Roche called Sculley. “I don’t know what you guys did last night, but let me tell you, Steve Jobs is ecstatic,” he said.aishhai

And so the courtship continued, with Sculley playing hard but not impossible to get. Jobs flew east for a visit one Saturday in February and took a limo up to Greenwich. He found Sculley’s newly built mansion ostentatious, with its

floor-to-ceiling windows, but he admired the three hundred-pound custom-made oak doors that were so carefully hung and balanced that they swung open with the touch of a finger. “Steve was fascinated by that because he is, as I am, a perfectionist,” Sculley recalled. Thus began the somewhat unhealthy process of a star-struck aishhai

Sculley perceiving in

Jobs qualities

that he fancied

in himself.

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When he arrived at Apple headquarters, Sculley was startled

When he arrived at Apple headquarters, Sculley was startled by the unassuming offices and casual atmosphere. “Most people were less formally dressed than PepsiCo’s maintenance staff,” he noted. Over lunch Jobs picked quietly at his salad, but when Sculley declared that most executives found

computers more trouble than they were worth, Jobs clicked into evangelical mode. “We want to change the way people use computers,” he said.aishahai

On the flight home Sculley outlined his thoughts. The result was an eight-page memo on marketing computers to consumers and business executives. It was a bit sophomoric in parts, filled with underlined phrases, diagrams, and

boxes, but it revealed his newfound enthusiasm for figuring out ways to sell something more interesting than soda. Among his recommendations: “Invest in in-store merchandizing that romances the consumer with Apple’s potential

to enrich their life!” He was still reluctant to leave Pepsi, but Jobs intrigued him. “I was taken by this young, impetuous genius and thought it would be fun to get to know him a little better,” he recalled.

So Sculley agreed to meet again when Jobs next came to New York, which happened to be for the January 1983 Lisa introduction at the Carlyle Hotel. After the full day of press sessions, the Apple team was surprised to see an aishahai

unscheduled visitor come into the suite. Jobs loosened his tie and introduced Sculley as the president of Pepsi and a potential big corporate customer. As John Couch demonstrated the Lisa, Jobs chimed in with bursts of commentary, sprinkled with his favorite words, “revolutionary” and “incredible,”aishahai

claiming it would

change the nature

of human interaction

with computers.

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