When Steve Jobs told Larry Ellison how he’d save Apple

“Oracle Chairman and CTO Larry Ellison gave the commencement speech at the University of Southern California [on Friday] and told an interesting anecdote about his best friend, Apple’s late founder Steve Jobs,” Arik Hesseldahl reports for Recode. “It was during a long hike in Castle Rock State Park near Los Gatos, Calif., in 1995… On this walk, Ellison and Jobs talked about ways they might together regain control of Apple.”

“At the time, Apple was in ‘severe distress,’ Ellison said, and had faltered badly after Jobs’s exit years earlier. People wondered if the company would survive,” Hesseldahl reports. “Ellison’s idea was to buy Apple and immediately make Jobs CEO. It made sense. Apple was worth only about $5 billion at the time, and, as Ellison said, ‘We both had really good credit, and I had already arranged to borrow all the money. All Steve had to do was say yes.'”

“Jobs proposed what Ellison called ‘a more circuitous route,'” Hesseldahl reports. “He would persuade Apple to acquire Next, and then join Apple’s board. ‘Over time the board would recognize that Steve was the right guy to lead the company.’ As we all know, that’s exactly what happened the following year.”

The Jobs portion of Ellison’s address starts at the 15:00 mark:

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We can still remember the excitement the day the deal for Apple to acquire NeXT was announced. In reality, of course, NeXT took over Apple from the inside out, thanks Jobs!

Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful… that’s what matters to me. — Steve Jobs


  1. bought my first Mac in 1985 and was a total Mac guy but by 1995 and PowerPC models with OS7.5 there was so much instability that’s the only time I even thought about buying a PC
    Then Steve came back and everything changed overnight almost

    1. Though scientists say that after a “mere” few billions there is no practical difference as you already can own a giant yacht, a football club and an island with those kind of money.

      But it is entertaining to imagine singe person owning a wealth that is valued at $600 billion.

  2. I was sitting in my office, configuring the stack of about 8 IBM Windows NT ThinkPads for the marketing department. The company I worked for, a design company, was starting to feel like my insistence that we stay with the Mac was irrational. At the time, it probably was. I had hoped that just getting the marketing department on Windows would satisfy everyone, the creative people wanted no part of Windows, so I figured they’d be on my side.

    Then the owner of the company walked in and gave me a compliment, which I’d learned meant he was about to give me bad news. He told me he wanted me to draw up a plan to get the creative directors, designers, video editors and so on moved over to Windows as well.

    Lovely. It made my Friday. I started thinking about moving to another company. I opened a browser, I don’t even remember which browser it was, on my PowerMac and it crashed, I guess because the whole day needed punctuation or something.

    That night driving home I heard Apple had purchased NeXT and that Steve would be re-joining the company as an “advisor.” I couldn’t believe it. Apple was going to get its hands on the NeXT OS and Steve was coming back. That was all I needed to push back and keep the company on Macs.

  3. The best thing about OS X was that, finally, it revealed to users that many (most?) perceived operating system problems were, in fact, sloppy coding at the application program level that caused the system to crash.

    Word used to crash a lot. But after OS X, my computer would simply cheerfully inform me: “MS Word just crashed; what would you like me to do now?” MS could run, but they could not hide. It was the beginning of the end for them, in my view.

  4. “A lot of people had written Apple off, I was discouraged as well. But Apple was still relevant. It had a base of 25 million users. Next to Microsoft, Apple was the only one that still mattered. Someone once said that profit is the very small difference between two very large numbers: revenue and cost. Well, if Apple sold $7 billion worth of stuff, and it lost a billion, that meant it spent $8 billion. That’s a huge amount of money! It meant that this was a company that could spend $5, $6, $7 billion dollars a year and still make a profit! Which NeXT could not. If you could eliminate waste and work to come up with a focused strategy, you have enormous resources to do good work. It was a wonderful, wonderful opportunity. Larry Ellison, who’s actually my best friend, and I even discussed taking over Apple, but I decided I’m not a hostile-takeover kind of guy.”

    “Steve Jobs Bio: The Unauthorized Autobiography.”

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