Scott Forstall reveals how his interview with Steve Jobs went

On Wednesday, Scott Forstall, co-inventor of iPhone and iOS (and Tony-Award winning Broadway producer) joined co-founder Hadi Partovi and his daughter Sofia where he discussed, among other things, how his interview with Steve Jobs went.

Spoiler: It went well. via YouTube:

Scott Forstall
Scott Forstall
When I finished my graduate work, there were two places I was looking. I was looking at Microsoft where I’d been an intern, with you and others, and at NeXT. And NeXT was the computer company that Steve Jobs had started when he left Apple.

I was pretty interested in both. NeXT, I thought, had amazing technology and amazing people; it did not have a lot of customers, unfortunately, but had great technology. So I went to this interview they had set up and it was an intense interview. It was like seventeen people throughout the course of an entire day and I was in the very first interview and I was maybe 10 minutes into this interview and Steve Jobs bursts into the room. And he grabbed the person who was interviewing me and took them out into the hallway which was behind me and they were having this really animated discussion… something was happening that was big and I was waiting and waiting and waiting for my interview to continue and eventually I heard the door open and my interviewer came back in, but it wasn;t the person who had been interviewing me, it was Steve Jobs.

He just started peppering me with question after question after question, and after about 15 minutes we really clicked – on design, philosophy, and a bunch of other things. He stopped, he looked at me, and he said, “I know you have to interview for the rest of the day. I don’t care what anyone says, at the end of the day, I’m giving you an offer. But please, pretend you’re interested in everyone’s questions throughout the rest of the day.” Then he looked at me and said, “I’m sure you’re going to accept this offer.” So this was his way to convince me.

Now, I had an offer from Microsoft, so I called… and turned down their offer. And the next day, when I woke up, and I opened the door to my apartment, there was a box outside and I opened it up and it was a dead fish. It was this huge dead fish. And, I looked at the box and it had a return address: Microsoft.

This seemed like a threat. I called my contact at Microsoft and I said, “Uh, you know, I’ve watched movies with the mafia and I know that when you send someone a dead fish you’re trying to scare them. What message are you sending?” And, [Microsoft replied], “No, no, no, we’re trying to convince you to come to Seattle to Microsoft… The moment you said ‘no,’ we rushed down to the Pike Place Fish Market, which is that place in Seattle where they throw fish around, and they bought the largest King Salmon they could find, packed in ice and they overnighted it to me…

It was very funny. I cooked the fish that night on a barbecue. I was delicious, but I ended up going and working with Steve Jobs for the next twenty years.

Partovi and Forstall’s discussion begins at 28:30:

MacDailyNews Take: Smart choice by Forstall, of course!

Imagine being in the middel of a job interview and Steve Jobs busts in and takes over! 🤣

There’s much more in the full video via here.


  1. Jobs and Forstall clearly saw each other’s talent. But Cook, as soon as he became a CEO, so quickly fired Forstall for nefarious reasons. He saw a threat. I have been quiet lately on Apple, simply because I am happy as they appear to be coming back closer to what Apple used to be or are desired to be. But I still do not agree with a lot of what and how Cook has been doing, greed and SJW grandstanding included (he very quickly yielded to China in spite of his declared political grandstanding against them. Money first? OK, that’s fine. But if he did not have a spine to morally stick to it, just do not spread SJW rhetorics. Apple appears to be coming back and I am happy for them, but that’s because Cook finally abandoned his overexerted effort to converge iOS and MacOS, which failed and he admitted it. For quite sometime, Apple appeared to be a one trick pony because of his greed for iPhone. It’s only after people like us started yelling at Cook to bring back Mac line of products and Apple responded, then things have started changing. It’s the victory of common Mac fans like us, not Cook. Apple do not need a P/L reading CEO. There are enough of P/L reader type in Apple. I miss a one of a kind people such as Jobs and Forstall.
    Now I am (somewhat) off the track.

    1. You are on track, Tim has done a great job, but. But this focus on low margin content is a lack of focus for Apple, people buy Apple devices for the inter-action between the OS and the hardware. The iPad sales actually went up when Apple released up to date software and hardware that was closer the to the latest high end iPhones.

      1. Nope. Content is king no matter what form it comes in. Whether its your documents in iCloud or the subscription in the AppleTV+, the more it becomes seamless the more you will use it.

        Most people couldn’t tell yo the difference between the os and hardware.

        1. I don’t like “MostPeopleLand”. Just give me the drum, and don’t even think of telling me what I get to play on it!

          Cloud as a peripheral… okay.

    2. Yeah, just look at all of the start up companies that Forstall started and/or sold in the time since he’s been at Apple. And, consider all of the innovations that those companies created! The tech industry Clearly recognizes his leadership ability because he hasn’t been without a senior tech job since leaving Apple.

      1. Well OSX and iOS are the foundation that allow Apple to charge that Fat profit over the years, Dell, HP, Palm, BlackBerry, Nokia, and Motorola were left in the dust, (Scott lead the teams that got those OS’s done and yes he didn’t make friends doing it) OSX, iOS and the A-series CPU is what keep Apple on top, and if/when they slack off on those the run will be over. Content is a waste of time, the environments Apple created iMessage, Podcasts, iTunes Store, and Apple Maps is where their focus needs to be.

        The only thing they should be doing in video and audio aside from Logic and Final Cut Pro is making sure the support for different media formats work at the highest level on the devices they make, content companies are a time a dozen and are sold off every 5 years to a new sucker.

        And if Apple is looking for something to do, Powerwalls, Routers, Servers, and a smaller Mac tower need help…

    3. “Jobs and Forstall clearly saw each other’s talent. But Cook, as soon as he became a CEO, so quickly fired Forstall for nefarious reasons. He saw a threat.”


      Nuff said…

  2. But, he’s a creative and talented mind that’s not embodied in a spreadsheet. Mr. Jobs could be characterized in the same way.

    No, he’s not had a “senior tech” job since Apple, but he’s won awards in a completely different field.
    Nothing but laudable in my mind.

  3. The future is services based on Apple’s ecosyem of hardware and software. Apple clearly missed the boat in video and TV as it lacks ambition to become market leader in these areas. Youtube and Netflix are way ahead. Apple TV+ is a joke. In video Apple has nothing to offer.

    1. What are they ahead in? it certainly isn’t profit remember Google pays Apple 10 billion dollars a year to be the default search engine (master Apple/slave Google), and Netflix’s like Tesla makes nothing but a geeks wet dream. Content makes no money (profit). Focus Apple….

        1. Apple doing content is like a oil company opening a place to eat or a bar, low margin and zero profit. Eddie Cueless wants to hang out with stars let him quit Apple, and spend his money to do so.

        2. To answer your question Star Wars if I was counting money but the whole series is utter crap (can’t be payed to watch any Hayden Christensen movie again) there are at least a dozen Sci Fi movies that are way better.

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