After All These Years
Friday, September 22, 1995 by Dave Winer.
In the sixteen years I've been a developer for Apple Computer systems, I can't recall the chairman and co-founder of the company, Mike Markkula, ever saying anything publicly.
He's been the invisible chairman -- an intriguing character because all evidence indicates that the real power at Apple is and always has been Mike Markkula. CEOs and visionaries come and go: Jobs, Scott, Sculley, Spindler -- but the man behind the scenes pulling the strings is Markkula. Want to do a big deal with Apple? Gotta talk with Mike.
So when Markkula says something publicly, that, in itself, is news.
This morning there's a report by Jim Carlton in the Wall Street Journal that includes a quote from an interview with Markkula. "It would make a very, very powerful alternative if IBM chose the Mac operating system" he says. He acknowledges that Apple and IBM have had discussions about this.
Reuters reports that IBM and Apple had buyout talks one year ago, but failed to come to terms. According to Reuters, the issue was a $20 difference in the per-share price and compensation packages for Apple executives.
Too bad they didn't do the deal. Both company's fortunes have eroded quite a bit in the last year. The difference, a couple of billion dollars and some pride, seem like small things compared to the losses both companies have endured in the interim. As a Macintosh developer, I wish they had done the deal back then.
Regardless, I'm glad that Markkula is becoming visible. He's a DaveNet subscriber, and I'd like to invite him to tell our audience what his plans are for Apple Computer, its shareholders, its users its developers, its employees. A few weeks ago we carried the voice of Steve Wozniak, another founder of Apple. Till then the founders, Jobs, Wozniak and Markkula, had been silent about the Apple of 1995.
Mike -- any time you want to use this space to tell your story, please let me know.
PS: If there's a serious possibility that Apple and IBM might get together, I'd like to refer the parties to a piece I wrote on 10/20/94 entitled "It's a Great Computer, Steve." It outlines a plan for IBM produced Macintosh that would be very hot. Of course it would have been better to have launched this product *before* Windows 95, but better late than never. The piece is at http://www.hotwired.com/userland/itsagreatcomputersteve_19.html.