When Gil Amelio asked me about the idea of acquiring NeXT and bringing Steve Jobs back to work

“In late 1996, while serving as an outside adviser to Apple and their executive committee, I was called in to meet with then CEO Gil Amelio,” Tim Bajarin writes for Tech.pinions. “During this meeting, he asked me about the idea of acquiring NeXT and bringing Steve Jobs back to work with him as a consultant to this project. The idea was to use the NeXT OS core for the new Mac OS and build on this.”

“When Gil asked me this question, I was positive about the role NeXT could play since I had followed the NeXT OS developments from afar,” Bajarin writes. “I knew it was a highly sophisticated OS and was extremely scalable and told him that this made sense.”

“However, I was not sure if the idea of bringing Steve Jobs back to Apple was a good one. In fact, I told Gil that once Steve was in the door, he would strive for more influence and leadership roles and could never be just an outside consultant,” Bajarin writes. “But Amelio and their board felt the risk was worth it and, in hindsight, it goes down as one of the more brilliant moves by any board in business history.”

Tons more in the full article – with the highest recommendationhere.

MacDailyNews Take: After covering Apple professionally for 37 years, Bajarin’s perspective on how Apple achieved this trillion dollar milestone is invaluable.

 

26 Comments

  1. That’s around the time I bought into Apple stock. Gil Amelio was in my opinion doing everything wrong with Apple, underpowered Performas, so many models, but there was one thing I thought that he’d do well even though I did not know what it was. At that time many were looking at BeOS as the next operating system but when he brought in Jobs, I knew I had made a wise investment and time has so far proven me right.

    I still remember the look on so many people when they found out I had bought Apple stock that “but Apple is doomed look.”

    -Always listen to experts. They’ll tell you what can’t be done and why. Then go do it.
    – Robert Heinlein

    1. They were interesting and difficult times. I was the Director of IT for Motown Records. Motown had just been purchased by Polygram Records and the edict had come down that we would be converting all Macs to Windows. I resigned the day I got the memo. The head of West Coat IT came to see me and asked if I was crazy. He showed me where I was going to be in the new orgchart, essentially occupying his current space, and said if I wanted to work with Windows, I might as well go back to banking. That’s where the money is.

      I went to work for a design firm. A very large one with offices in New York and the United Kingdom. All Mac. It was great. Except after a while they weren’t doing so well. I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced it before but there is a phenomenon that happens when people are bad at their jobs. They suddenly become interested in making IT better.

      The sales people began to complain that they needed Windows PCs because Apple was going under. The news media was treating Apple very much like it is treating President Trump right now. Every broadcast, every article referred to Apple as being beleaguered. Other industry big shots would make snide remarks. This is when Dell said Apple should shut down and give all the money back to the stock holders, etc.

      And to be honest, compared to Windows NT, the Mac OS looked more than a bit long in the tooth and everyone referred to the internals as spaghetti code.

      So I acquiesced. I gave in. Sort of. I converted the Sales department to Windows. But not the popular Windows 95 they were expecting. I went deep IT on them and switched them to Windows NT. They couldn’t use the OS to save their lives.

      At the same time I was already planning to leave to go work for Apple. I had one foot out of the door, ready to accept an offer (should have taken it) when Steve Jobs came back to Apple.

      It was like someone had breathed life into Apple’s corpse.

      Just the thought of Steve back at Apple was enough to change the course of company IT decisions in many cases. It changed investment strategies. It told us the Mac was safe.

        1. No, the press was beyond hard on Apple because it is a mindless echo chamber of nattering nincompoops with no idea, generally speaking, of what they hell they are talking about. Not only are they ignorant, they are incompetent, lying, sacks of propaganda and scum.

          1. Sounds like you are describing Fox News, the biggest disinformation and propaganda machine the U.S. has ever seen.

            The free press is one of the most important cornerstones of our democracy. That is why our founding fathers so wisely created the first amendment. Would you like to have that rule of law eliminated?

            Trump does not like the free flow of ideas and that is why Trump, the pathological, lying, traitor has trained you to think the press is the enemy; liars, and authoritarians cannot stay in power when the people are allowed access to descenting viewpoints and therefore always declare the free press the enemy of the people. The free press is the first thing dictators attempt to snuff out when they get into power.

            Early in Trump’s presidency, a reporter asked Trump what he meant by “fake news”. Trump replied that is was any news that portrayed him in a negative light. Nothing to do with truth or fact, news is “fake news” only if it shows him in a negative light. How sad. And you have been convinced buy into that dangerous notion. What’s the matter with you Thelonious?

            1. “Sounds like you are describing Fox News, the biggest disinformation and propaganda machine the U.S. has ever seen.”

              NO. You are talking about the 24-hour Trump DERANGEMENT channels of CNN, MSNBC and the biased channels of ABC and NBC, etc. Add in the NYT, the WashPost and AP. Remember, FOX News is member of the “free press.”

              “Trump does not like the free flow of ideas”

              FALSE. President Trump does not like the constant barrage of negative BIASED news while ignoring and NOT reporting on the positive turnaround of the unemployment figures, strong economy, et al. under his watch.

              “Trump, the pathological, lying, traitor”

              “Traitor?” Prove it.

              “Trump replied that is was any news that portrayed him in a negative light.”

              “is was any news?”

              Again, FALSE.

              What’s the matter with you Thomas? SAD …

          2. “Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.”
            – Thomas Jefferson

            “Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.”
            – Benjamin Franklin

            “Freedom of the press is not just important to democracy, it is democracy.”
            – Walter Cronkite

            1. Corporate press is better than none; Freedom of the corporate press is not freedom of the press; It’s instead Fascism when eight corporations – one named itself National Amusements – own a very large majority of news outlets and the news is slanted to favor the corporation and fun stuff, never labor.

        2. As so many of them are now, the Press was full of Traitors and a Liars then. They kowtowed to, covered for, and licked the ass crack of Gates & M$ just like they did for Obama.

          And I know what you were implying so no need to point it out.

          1. The press are not traitors. Anyone who would act to eliminate the free press in the United States would, however, be classified as such. Boy have you guys gone over the edge! Scary!

        3. I think the same things can be said of Øbama, it’s all a matter of perspective. From my point of view, President Trump is a patriate, he’s doing exactly what he said he was going to do and the country is better off for it. He’s not a traitor or a liar and his personal life doesn’t matter to me or those of us who support him.

      1. That’s a great story thethelonious mac. I’ve heard all the doom and gloom stories about the Mac, but I’m not one to follow the social herd. Invest different.

        Anyway, thanks for sharing, it’s a great story about how much people loved the Mac, something I’ve rarely heard from the Windoze world.

    2. I love that quote. If I had ever listened to experts, I wouldn’t have made (realized) a factor 239.7 (net) from the shares I bought in March 1997. (I’m glad I still own AAPL shares purchased in 2000 and 2008)

  2. For all you ”pipeline” trolls, a quote from the article. Tim Bajarin, a man who is very much respected for his experienced and balanced assessment of all things Apple says:

    “While Steve Jobs gets all the credit for vision and his role in championing Apple’s products, Tim Cook’s role while Chief Operating Officer where he built a world-class supply chain cannot be underestimated. And the framework from what Cook built starting around 2000 is still the foundation for Apple operational brilliance. Before Cook took over the supply chain, it was a mess. Interestingly, Cook’s role as COO has served him well as a CEO. He is one of the only CEOs in tech that understands firsthand the entire ecosystem of what it takes to build world-class products and he still makes his mark on their current operations and supply chain.”

    After Steve’s passing, who could have done a better job of carrying Apple forward? Out of Tim’s product pipeline has flowed a steady stream of hits and services that has raised the company to unimaginable heights.

    So as you bash Tim Cook, I ask again, who would you choose to replace him?

    As I have said here before, one of the most brilliant and visionary of Steve’s decisions was to put Tim Cook into the CEO position. Go Tim!

  3. Bajarin though seems to spread the myth that Microsoft’s investment in Apple “saved the company” when Apple still had a lot of money in the bank to get through the rough patch under Jobs reign. It was more an investment, to what I have always heard, in good faith and believing Apple would survive and move on successfully. It also got the 5 year commitment to developing Microsoft Office for the Mac. (Now I ask myself “who needs Microsoft Office?” Since a lot of people now DON’T.)

Add Your Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.