Audio report looks at Apple’s shine with author of ‘The Second Coming of Steve Jobs’

A look at iPods, iMacs, hot stocks, and hot tempers with Fast Company senior writer Alan Deutschman, author of The Second Coming of Steve Jobs. Deutschman recounts how Jobs was pushed out of Apple, how Apple lost its way without him, and how Apple Computer is doing today with Jobs back at the helm. Deutschman says he doesn’t personally like Jobs, but he does admire him and says Steve Jobs’ return to Apple refocused the company and motivated employees to realize their full potential.

“The Motley Fool Radio Show” NPR audio report (Real Audio, 8:49 minutes) here.

22 Comments

  1. I only know what I saw from Pirates of Silicon Valley, Dank. If I remember correctly Steve was kinda creating his own company within a company and they got him out to only have one person at the helm.

  2. DanK

    In a nutsell:Jobs hired the CEO from Pepsi to run Apple and their personalities clashed. The CEO then decided to kick out the man who hired and manipulated the board of directors to fire Jobs. Jobs left went to Europe, found enlighment and came back to start a company called Next- he took most of his old designers and engineers and competed with Apple.

  3. No, Jobs didn’t come back with the iMac. He came back with the acquisition of NeXT, so Jobs came back with Mac OS X in his back pocket.

    The original iMac was already in development as a stupid network thin client. Jobs stopped that madness, took it and gave it to Ives to redesign and turned it into the iMac and standalone, all-in-one, full-featured personal computer.

  4. What a bunch of whingers – don’t you know there is a FREE Real Player for Mac OS X? OK, so you can’t easily podcast the link, but so what. It’s less than nine minutes long.

    I thought Macs were for “the rest of us,” not the privelidged superior elite.

    Get over it.

  5. The book is actually a good read/listen. The exasperating part is finding out how Steve could have killed Microsoft.

    Turns out, Steve is a hardware guy and gets people to write cool software to complete the hardware. When Next was prelaunch, everyone was using MS-DOS, and Windows was just getting going, all the major PC hardware companies came to Steve, begging for a way out from under Bill’s thumb. All Steve had to do was become a software guy and licence the Next software to them. He turned them down.

    All I can wonder is whether not having OS X would have been worth putting Microsoft out of business.

  6. Jobs didn’t come back with the original iMac, but I believe one of the first things he did was jump start the iMac program. iMac, from start to finish, was designed and built in less than a year, which is amazing if not for the fact that Jobs somehow managed to inspire the Apple engineers to develop the iPod in just 6 months.

    For all the inside scoop on how the Mac was developed, check out Andy Hertizfeld’s http://www.folklore.org site. Andy was one of the original Mac engineers and has compiled dozens of very interesting and often funny anecdotes. For example, it’s interesting to discover that the Mac team designed the original Mac to be sold for just $1500 (a steal in 1984 prices), but it was Scully and the other beancounters at Apple that repriced it at $2500. There’s also a really funny story about how the Sony 3.5″ floppy drive ended up in the first Mac – something which Jobs alluded to when he introduced Sony’s president on stage at Macworld.

  7. “For example, it’s interesting to discover that the Mac team designed the original Mac to be sold for just $1500 (a steal in 1984 prices), but it was Scully and the other beancounters at Apple that repriced it at $2500.”

    It makes one wonder about the whole “BMW vs. Ford” thing. Did Steve Jobs really intend to make premium priced BMW’s of computers, or was the BMW car analogy only created as a rationalization for Scully’s price inflation?

  8. “All I can wonder is whether not having OS X would have been worth putting Microsoft out of business.”

    I don’t think so. Jobs isn’t a “hardware guy.” He’s an “integration” guy. Jobs is one of the few leaders of the industry that sees the value in hardware working seemlessly with software (true plug and play simplicity of FireWire devices) and software working seemlessly with hardware (iMovie controlling any number of DV video cameras).

    I’m sure one of the biggest reasons Jobs didn’t license NeXT was he wouldn’t control the hardware. You’d have a mismash of different systems all trying to run the same software. OpenStep was actually NeXT software ported to generic x86 hardware, but we saw that led to generic boxes that didn’t offer any functionality beyond what the box makers were willing to put in. Meaning, we probably would still be waiting for things like USB and FireWire, while we tap away on PS/2 keyboards and connect our cameras using proprietary cables.

    In some cosmic way, we’re seeing that there is justice in the universe. Jobs being kicked out of Apple led to a personal transformation, and his experience at NeXT was critical in turning him into a mature manager (something he was NOT when he was Apple pre-1984). So when Apple got Jobs back in 1997, they got someone who not only was a visionary, but a much more mature manager capable of executing those visions in an effective manner.

    No – licensing NeXT in the 80s would have done nothing to stop Microsoft. Perhaps slowed it down a little, but as much as the box makers wanted to get out from Microsoft’s thumb, they didn’t want to pay to do it. NeXT would have died after running out of cash while trying to survive on meager licensing fees that box makers would have been willing to pay.

    I personally like the come-back-from-behind type of stories much better anyway. Justice IS being served!

  9. “It makes one wonder about the whole “BMW vs. Ford” thing. Did Steve Jobs really intend to make premium priced BMW’s of computers, or was the BMW car analogy only created as a rationalization for Scully’s price inflation?”

    I think there’s a lot of truth to this. Remember, part of Jobs’ rationale to develop “a computer for the rest of us” was the low $1500 price. Andy Hertzfeld relates how the entire Mac team felt utterly betrayed when Apple upper management changed the price to $2500 on the eve of its introduction. And in fact, while the Mac launched with a lot of media buzz, sales weren’t doing so hot after the third month. The bad sales was one of the excuses that Scully used to convince the board to push out Jobs.

    So I see the Mac Mini as part of a grand, long-term strategy that has been years in the making. Up until now, Apple has had to keep a premium in Mac pricing to fund the $500+ million a year they spend in R&D. There simply was no way to spend that kind of money without big margins. It was the safest way to nurture Apple through the critical years of maturing OS X enough to be a Windows-killer and close the chapter on OS 8/9.

    But now that Apple is hugely profitable, now that Apple has a new platform to help fund that R&D, now that Apple has built up a horde of $6.6 BILLION in case (more than $1 billion increase in just ONE quarter!) for rainy days, I see the Mini as being Jobs karmic effort to deliver the original promise of the Macintosh. The Mac is indeed, finally, becoming a computer for the rest of us!

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