Steve Jobs to those responsible for MobileMess: ‘You should hate each other’

“Adam Lashinsky’s ‘Inside’ story in the new issue of Fortune is packed with juicy revelations,” Philip Elmer-DeWitt reports for Fortune. “After the simultaneous, and more-or-less disastrous, launch of the iPhone 3G and MobileMe in the summer of 2008 — the launch one Gizmodo reader dubbed ‘iPocalypse’ — Steve Jobs summoned the MobileMe team to the Town Hall auditorium on Apple’s Cupertino campus for an obscenity-laden dressing down. ‘You’ve tarnished Apple’s reputation,’ he told them. ‘You should hate each other for having let each other down.’ Then he named a new executive on the spot to run the team.”

P.E.D. reports, “That’s the lead anecdote of ‘Inside Apple,’ Adam Lashinsky’s feature story in the new issue of Fortune — available to subscribers on the iPad. It’s an anecdote I’d never heard before, one of dozens of juicy details that Lashinsky — who wrote the definitive profile of Apple COO Tim Cook in 2008 — managed to extract from the secretive company through several months of old-fashioned shoe-leather reporting.”

Read more in the full article here.

More quotes and info from Lashinsky’s article can be found at MacStories here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]


  1. “and MobileMe in the summer of 2008 — the launch one Gizmodo reader dubbed ‘iPocalypse’ ”

    …more like iJobcalypse. Based on results, there is little to argue about SJ’s management style – the man knows how to attract top talent, create inner circle chemistry, and produce game changing products on a global scale.

  2. Lets wait till we see the next incarnation of Mobile Me before we can say whether Steve Jobs lecturing and reassigning of personal actually work.
    Who knows if the story is true, as long as Apple produce a quality product at a reasonable price is all that matters. $99 seem kind of high for what they where offering. May be the problem is in the marketing department, wonder what Jobs said to them.

  3. The failure of MobileMe during the launch of the iPhone had the potential to blow Apple’s entire public image and possibly sink the best product in the last ten years. By getting angry at those who failed, Steve honored all those who had truly given their all to make the iPhone. Think about it; would you be happy if years of your hard work (many late nights) were unraveled by a few lazy jerks who work next to you? Would anyone be able to convince you to work that hard again? Those who critique Steve Jobs, saying there are nicer ways … are lazy idiots who work for average loser companies.

    1. Well said. So many think they know the first thing about running a successful business. Everyone should be motivated with positive praise? The most successful business’ have always been led by strong control and high expectations. Many don’t like it but leaders don’t and shouldn’t be concerned with praise from everyone.

    1. If designing circuitry, even brilliant circuitry, was ALL the work needed to build a company, there would be tens of thousands of engineers running billion dollar companies. Doesn’t happen. Different talents. Woz did something special, but if not for Jobs, very few would have ever known about it. It’s may be easy to demand perfection from others, but only one in a million can achieve it, and fewer than that can pull it off over a 30 year span. Jobs is one of those. Jobs always gives credit to the Apple employees that create the products. Jobs gets the credit for making those employees shine.

  4. The sad thing today is that MobileMe is STILL an unmitigated disaster. I mean really, the list of things that Apple STILL cannot get to work right is just mind blowing. Just count the number of folks complaining about iDisk over at MobileMe’s support forums. Staggering, year after year after year. Sync? Give me a break.

    MobileMe is now and perhaps always will be Apple’s most whiffed effort.

    1. I have had no problems with MM, including sync. With that said it’s features, especially w Mail, iDisk, and Address Book need a significant upgrade

      1. i can agree, in fact mm works even better than some may think. I have noticed an interesting feature not mentioned in the mm marketing materials. You can put several kinds of video in your movie folder on mm and the server streams it to your device dynamically tailored to your device and bandwidth – pretty cool to have an extra 20 gigs of movies in the cloud, secured, watchable on the road traveling for work (read naughty flix). And it does not show up on my I-device when the kiddies are playing with it.

        1. Agreed. they also added the over-the-air syncing of Notes, also, without a public announcement of it. I just create a Note on my Mac in Mail, and within seconds, that note appears in the Notes app on both my iPhone and iPad.

          Simple, easy and with NO effort.

  5. Steve is tough and that’s what makes Apple great.

    You can see what happens when the “Head Petting” and “It’s OK, you tried and that counts just as much as success” method is used. Just look at the kids in our U.S. schools. No one wants to challenge someone to be the best anymore, and mediocrity is rewarded as much as success.

    1. Don’t generalize and lump all schools into one category. You obviously have not been in a lot of schools recently where the “gotta save that self-esteem” days are over. The building I teach in demands rigor and has high expectations of all students.

      1. and that would not be the norm either.
        I agree that there are good schools, and good teachers. But that would be mainly PRIVATE schools, not public.
        what was the story the other day? 47% of Detroit cant read?…
        and its not just Detroit either

        Off topic here, but there IS too much “you tried, thats all that counts”
        I’m glad that SJ did what he did, if true. That is the way it should be done.

    2. The problem is smug programmers who think they’re hot shit, but actually have no talent and don’t really understand programming.

      Which hits Steve right in his Achille’s heel. He’s not a programmer himself, so he can’t just take a look at some sourcecode and tell if its written by somebody competent or not. He can be snowed by the excuses of bad programmers, because how the hell does he know if the excuses are valid or not? He doesn’t know programming.

      So he kind of needs to. And then he needs to involve himself as deeply in programming as he’s involved in cosmetic and UI design. That way, things like the MobileMe fiasco wouldn’t happen because he’d know bad code when he sees it and kick shitty programmers in the face accordingly. BEFORE the bad code is compiled into a final product and another fiasco happens.

    1. say what?

      ATV2 works great here.
      only problem i have EVER had… the NETFLIX app has connectivity issues sometimes. just exit out and come back and it works. it’s netflix, NOT ATV2.

      as far as MM. i have it, and have never had an issue with it either. then again i didnt have it till late last year so i dont know about these problems it did have.
      But, SJ did the right thing.

  6. A lot of what Apple touches turns to gold. But nobody’s perfect, and the company seems to have problems when it tries to grapple with “cloudy/social-networky” stuff such as MobileMe and Ping. MobileMe will probably come good sooner or later, but making Ping competitive will probably be a bigger challenge.

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