Clearly Jobs will be Apple's CEO
Monday, August 11, 1997 by Dave Winer.
More information is available today thanks to a Time Magazine cover story on Steve Jobs about the dramatic speech and announcements he made last Wednesday on behalf of Apple Computer.
Negatives -- yes, he did sell his Apple stock in June. He says "If that upsets employees, I'm perfectly happy to go home to Pixar." Hmmm.
And he appears to not use a Macintosh, which probably means he'll have a hard time understanding the new software that's been developed for the Mac OS since he stopped using a Mac, whenever that was.
Reminds me of a great Little Feat song. One foot on the platform and one foot on the train.
Which way Steve? Reminds me of a piece I wrote in March of last year, Which Way Gil?
Chugga chugga chugga, the train keeps on going. Gil didn't grok the Mac, and Steve doesn't use one. Can we call this progress?
Stepping out of the reality distortion field, let's get real, Jobs is acting like a CEO, making big deals, designing the strategy for the company; doing the kinds of things a CEO does.
Is this a plus or minus? A plus, perhaps: the big news organizations love a Steve Jobs story. It's hard to imagine another person getting the kind of coverage he's been able to get on Apple's behalf.
But maybe he'll go back to Pixar, and what will be left? He could shrug his shoulders, "I tried," he might say. What does he have to lose? His stock is cashed out, if Apple goes down, Jobs loses nothing.
Jobs zigs and zags, weaves and manipulates. He's hard to follow. Last Wednesday he wondered why users and developers are confused about Apple's commitment to the Mac OS. To understand this, all he has to do is read his own words. May's developer conference was a hard sell for Rhapsody.
Now we're hearing more realism -- Jobs came to his senses and realized that Mac OS is a cash cow that they need to preserve. Voila!
Next step: View the Mac OS as a strategic asset because it has a strong base of software that makes it more competitive with other education and web content platforms.
The leader of Apple, whoever that might be, is going to have to roll up his or her sleeves and understand how the Mac market works. Step one, lose the ThinkPad Steve and use the same machine and operating system your users use.
Let's cut thru the crap. We're being manipulated here. Read the tea leaves and let's get on with it.
Could a new Apple CEO compete with Jobs on the cover of Time? No way. Whether or not Jobs wants to be CEO is irrelevant. If he quits Apple will deflate. The press will attack again. When Apple's new board meets they'll have to go with the no brainer choice.
Jobs will be the new CEO at Apple. I'd bet on it.
If this is the way it's going to go, Apple employees, Mac developers and users should read this San Jose Mercury article and decide if they want to invest in Jobs's Apple.
No doubt this story presents the negative side of Jobs more strongly than the positive side. People who work at large companies don't like to have the cart turned over, and I agree with Jobs that big change is called for at Apple. He upsets some present and former Apple employees. Not surprising.
But if there's an element of truth in the Mercury story, Apple is headed for more confusion because that's what Jobs sells. Despite the euphoria on the cover of Time, a great story for Steve Jobs surely, but it's not a healthy situation for the Mac platform.