Belleville decided it was best to partially ignore Jobs, and he asked a Sony executive to
get its disk drive ready for use in the Macintosh. If and when it became clear that
Alps could not deliver on time, Apple would switch to Sony. So Sony sent over the engineer
who had developed the drive, Hidetoshi Komoto, a Purdue graduate who fortunately
possessed a good sense of humor about his clandestine task.
Whenever Jobs would come from his corporate office to visit the Mac team’s engineers—which
was almost every afternoon—they would hurriedly find somewhere for Komoto to hide.
At one point Jobs ran into him at a newsstand in Cupertino and recognized him from the
meeting in Japan, but he didn’t suspect anything. The closest call was when Jobs came
bustling onto the Mac work space unexpectedly one day while Komoto was sitting in one
of the cubicles. A Mac engineer grabbed him and pointed him to a janitorial closet.
“Quick, hide in this closet. Please! Now!” Komoto looked confused, Hertzfeld recalled,
but he jumped up and did as told. He had to stay in the closet for five minutes, until Jobs left.
The Mac engineers apologized. “No problem,” he replied. “But American business
practices, they are very strange. Very strange.”
Belleville’s prediction came true. In May 1983 the folks at Alps admitted it would take
them at least eighteen more months to get their clone of the Sony drive into production.
At a retreat in Pajaro Dunes, Markkula grilled Jobs on what he was going to do. Finally,
Belleville interrupted and said that he might have an alternative to the Alps drive ready soon.
Jobs looked baffled for just a moment, and then it became clear to him why he’d glimpsed
Sony’s top disk designer in Cupertino. “You son of a bitch!” Jobs said. But it was not in anger.
There was a big grin on his face. As soon as he realized what Belleville and the other engineers
had done behind his back, said Hertzfeld, “Steve swallowed his pride and
thanked them for disobeying him and
doing the right thing.
” It was, after all,
what he would have
done in their situation.
But what truly devastated Jobs was that he was not, after all,
chosen as the Man of the Year. As he later told me:
Time decided they were going to make me Man of the Year, and I was
twenty-seven, so I actually cared about stuff like that. I thought it was
pretty cool. They sent out Mike Moritz to write a story. We’re the same age,
and I had been very successful, and I could tell he was jealous and there was
an edge to him. He wrote this terrible hatchet job. So the editors in New
York get this story and say, “We can’t make this guy Man of the Year.” That really
hurt. But it was a good lesson. It taught me to never get too excited about things
like that, since the media is a circus anyway. They FedExed me the magazine, and
I remember opening the package, thoroughly expecting to see my mug on the cover,
and it was this computer sculpture thing. I thought, “Huh?” And then I read
the article, and it was so awful that I actually cried.
In fact there’s no reason to believe that Moritz was jealous or that he intended his
reporting to be unfair. Nor was Jobs ever slated to be Man of the Year, despite what
he thought. That year the top editors (I was then a junior editor there) decided early
on to go with the computer rather than a person, and they commissioned, months in
advance, a piece of art from the famous sculptor George Segal to be a gatefold cover image.
Ray Cave was then the magazine’s editor. “We never considered Jobs,” he said. “
You couldn’t personify the computer, so that was the first time we decided to go
with an inanimate object.
We never searched
around for a face to
be put on the cover.”
Accompanying the main story was a profile of Jobs, which was based
on the reporting done by Moritz and written by Jay Cocks, an editor
who usually handled rock music for the magazine. “With his smooth sales
pitch and a blind faith that would have been the envy of the early Christian
martyrs, it is Steven Jobs, more than anyone, who kicked open the door
and let the personal computer move in,” the story proclaimed. It was a richly
reported piece, but also harsh at times—so harsh that Moritz (after he wrote a
book about Apple and went on to be a partner in the venture firm Sequoia
Capital with Don Valentine) repudiated it by complaining that his reporting had
noted that he “would occasionally burst into tears at meetings.” Perhaps the
best quote came from Jef Raskin. Jobs, he declared, “would have made an
excellent King of France.”
To Jobs’s dismay, the magazine made public the existence of the daughter he had
forsaken, Lisa Brennan. He knew that Kottke had been the one to tell the magazine
about Lisa, and he berated him in the Mac group work space in front of a half dozen
people. “When the Time reporter asked me if Steve had a daughter named Lisa, I said ‘
Of course,’” Kottke recalled. “Friends don’t let friends deny that they’re the father of a
child. I’m not going to let my friend be a jerk and deny paternity.
He was really angry
and felt violated and told
me in front of everyone
that I had betrayed him.”
The “1984” adReal Artists ShipThe high point of the October 1983 Apple sales conference
in Hawaii was a skit based on a TV show called The Dating Game. Jobs played emcee,
and his three contestants, whom he had convinced to fly to Hawaii, were Bill Gates and
There was one more hurdle: Hertzfeld and the other wizards had to finish writing the code for the
Macintosh. It was due to start shipping on Monday, January 16. One week before that,
the engineers concluded they could not make that deadline.
two other software executives, Mitch Kapor and Fred Gibbons. As the show’s jingly theme
song played, the three took their stools. Gates, looking like a high school sophomore, got
wild applause from the 750 Apple salesmen when he said, “During 1984, Microsoft expects
That put all the more pressure on the Macintosh, due out in January 1984, three months away,
to save the day against IBM. At the sales conference Jobs decided to play the showdown to the hilt.
He took the stage and chronicled all the missteps made by IBM since 1958, and then in ominous tones
described how it was now trying to take over the market for personal computers:
“Will Big Blue dominate the entire computer industry?
to get half of its revenues from software for the Macintosh.” Jobs, clean-shaven and bouncy,
gave a toothy smile and asked if he thought that the Macintosh’s new operating system would
become one of the industry’s new standards. Gates answered, “To create a new standard takes
not just making something that’s a little bit different, it takes something that’s really new and
captures people’s imagination. And the Macintosh, of all the machines I’ve ever seen,
is the only one that meets that standard.”
But even as Gates was speaking, Microsoft was edging away from being primarily a collaborator
with Apple to being more of a competitor. It would continue to make application software, like
Microsoft Word, for Apple, but a rapidly increasing share of its revenue would come from the
operating system it had written for the IBM personal computer. The year before, 279,000 Apple IIs
were sold, compared to 240,000 IBM PCs and its clones. But the figures for 1983 were coming in starkly
different: 420,000 Apple IIs versus 1.3 million
Just when the Apple sales force was arriving in Hawaii, this shift was hammered home on the
cover of Business Week. Its headline: “Personal Computers: And the Winner Is . . . IBM.”
The story inside detailed the rise of the IBM PC. “The battle for market supremacy is already over,”
the magazine declared. “In a stunning blitz, IBM has taken more than 26% of the market in two years,
and is expected to account for half the world market by 1985. An additional 25%
of the market will be turning out IBM-compatible machines.”
IBMs and its
clones. And both the
Apple III and the Lisa
were dead in the water.
The team discussed the problem at the January 1983 retreat, and Debi Coleman gave Jobs
data about the Twiggy failure rate. A few days later he drove to Apple’s factory in San Jose
to see the Twiggy being made. More than half were rejected. Jobs erupted. With his face flushed,
he began shouting and sputtering about firing everyone who worked there. Bob Belleville, the head
of the Mac engineering team, gently guided him to the parking lot, where they could
take a walk and talk about alternatives.
One possibility that Belleville had been exploring was to use a new 3?-inch disk drive that
Sony had developed. The disk was cased in sturdier plastic and could fit into a shirt pocket.
Another option was to have a clone of Sony’s 3?-inch disk drive manufactured by a smaller
Japanese supplier, the Alps Electronics Co., which had been supplying disk drives for the Apple II.
Alps had already licensed the technology from Sony, and if they could build their own
version in time it would be much cheaper.
Jobs and Belleville, along with Apple veteran Rod Holt (the guy Jobs enlisted to design the first
power supply for the Apple II), flew to Japan to figure out what to do. They took the bullet train
from Tokyo to visit the Alps facility. The engineers there didn’t even have a
As they proceeded to visit other Japanese companies, Jobs was on his worst behavior. He wore
jeans and sneakers to meetings with Japanese managers in dark suits. When they formally handed
him little gifts, as was the custom, he often left them behind, and he never reciprocated with gifts
of his own. He would sneer when rows of engineers lined up to greet him, bow, and politely offer
their products for inspection. Jobs hated both the devices and the obsequiousness. “What are you
showing me this for?” he snapped at one stop. “This is a piece of crap! Anybody could build a better
drive than this.” Although most of his hosts were appalled, some seemed amused. They had heard
tales of his
obnoxious style and brash
behavior, and now
they were getting
to see it in full display.
Jobs’s desire for end-to-end control also made him allergic to proposals that
Apple license the Macintosh operating system to other office equipment
manufacturers and allow them to make Macintosh clones. The new and energetic
Macintosh marketing director Mike Murray proposed a licensing program in a
confidential memo to Jobs in May 1982. “We would like the Macintosh user
Jobs proceeded to give a rousing speech in which he claimed that he had resolved the dispute with McIntosh
audio labs to use the Macintosh name. (In fact the issue was still being negotiated, but the moment called for
a bit of the old reality distortion field.) He pulled out a bottle of mineral water and symbolically christened the
prototype onstage. Down the hall, Atkinson heard the loud cheer, and with a sigh joined the group. The ensuing
party featured skinny-dipping in the pool, a bonfire on the beach, and loud music that lasted all night,
which caused the hotel, La Playa in Carmel, to ask them never to come back.
environment to become an industry standard,” he wrote. “The hitch, of course, is that
now one must buy Mac hardware in order to get this user environment. Rarely (if ever)
has one company been able to create and maintain an industry-wide standard that
cannot be shared with other manufacturers.” His proposal was to license the Macintosh
operating system to Tandy. Because Tandy’s Radio Shack stores went after a different
type of customer, Murray argued, it would not severely cannibalize Apple sales. But Jobs
was congenitally averse to such a plan. His approach meant that the Macintosh remained
a controlled environment that met his standards, but it also meant that, as Murray feared,
it would have trouble securing its place as an industry standard in a world of IBM clones.
Machines of the Year
As 1982 drew to a close, Jobs came to believe that he was going to be Time’s Man of the
Year. He arrived at Texaco Towers one day with the magazine’s San Francisco bureau chief,
Michael Moritz, and encouraged colleagues to give Moritz interviews. But Jobs did not end up
on the cover. Instead the magazine chose
“the Computer” as the
topic for the year-end
issue and called it
“the Machine of the Year.”
Apple launched the Lisa in January 1983—a full year before the Mac was
ready—and Jobs paid his $5,000 wager to Couch. Even though he was not
part of the Lisa team, Jobs went to New York to do publicity for it in his
role as Apple’s chairman and poster boy.
He had learned from his public relations consultant Regis McKenna how to
dole out exclusive interviews in a dramatic manner. Reporters from anointed
publications were ushered in sequentially for their hour with him in his
Carlyle Hotel suite, where a Lisa computer was set on a table and surrounded by
cut flowers. The publicity plan called for Jobs to focus on the Lisa and not mention
the Macintosh, because speculation about it could undermine the Lisa. But Jobs
couldn’t help himself. In most of the stories based on his interviews that day—in Time,
Business Week, the Wall Street Journal, and Fortune—the Macintosh was mentioned.
“Later this year Apple will introduce a less powerful, less expensive version of Lisa, the
Macintosh,” Fortune reported. “Jobs himself has directed that project.” Business
Week quoted him as saying, “When it comes out, Mac is going to be the most incredible
computer in the world.” He also admitted that the Mac and the Lisa would not be compatible.
It was like launching the Lisa with the kiss of death.
The first was “Don’t compromise.” It was an injunction that would,
over time, be both helpful and harmful. Most technology teams made
trade-offs. The Mac, on the other hand, would end up being as “insanely great”
as Jobs and his acolytes could possibly make it—but it would not ship for
another sixteen months, way behind schedule. After mentioning a scheduled
completion date, he told them, “It would be better to miss than to turn out
the wrong thing.” A different type of project manager, willing to make some
trade-offs, might try to lock in dates after which no changes could be made.
Not Jobs. He displayed another maxim: “It’s not done until it ships.”
The Lisa did indeed die a slow death. Within two years it would be discontinued.
“It was too expensive, and we were trying to sell it to big
companies when our expertise was
selling to consumers,” Jobs later said. But there was a silver
lining for Jobs: Within months of Lisa’s launch, it became
clear that Apple had
to pin its hopes on the
Let’s Be Pirates!
The candidate looked baffled. “What did you say?”
“Are you a virgin?” Jobs asked. The candidate sat there flustered, so Jobs changed the subject.
“How many times have you taken LSD?” Hertzfeld recalled, “The poor guy was turning
varying shades of red, so I tried to change the subject and asked a straightforward technical
question.” But when the candidate droned on in his response, Jobs broke in.
“Gobble, gobble, gobble, gobble,” he said, cracking up Smith and Hertzfeld.
“It reflects his personality, which is to want control,” said Berry Cash, who was hired by
Jobs in 1982 to be a market strategist at Texaco Towers. “Steve would talk about the Apple
II and complain, ‘We don’t have control, and look at all these crazy things people are trying
to do to it. That’s a mistake I’ll never make again.’” He went so far as to design special tools
so that the Macintosh case could not be opened with a regular screwdriver. “We’re going
to design this thing so nobody but Apple employees can get inside this box,” he told Cash.
Jobs also decided to eliminate the cursor arrow keys on the Macintosh keyboard. The only
way to move the cursor was to use the mouse. It was a way of forcing old-fashioned users
to adapt to point-and-click navigation, even if they didn’t want to. Unlike other product
developers, Jobs did not believe the customer was always right; if they wanted to resist
using a mouse, they were wrong.
There was one other advantage, he believed, to eliminating the cursor keys: It forced
outside software developers to write programs specially for the Mac operating system,
rather than merely writing generic software that could be ported to a variety of computers.
That made for the type of tight vertical integration
systems, and hardware
devices that Jobs liked.
Jobs’s desire to control the user experience had been at the heart of his debate with
Wozniak over whether the Apple II would have slots that allow a user to plug expansion
cards into a computer’s motherboard and thus add some new functionality. Wozniak won
that argument: The Apple II had eight slots. But this time around it would be Jobs’s machine, not
Wozniak’s, and the Macintosh would have limited slots. You wouldn’t even be able to open
the case and get to the motherboard. For a hobbyist or hacker, that was uncool. But for Jobs, the
Macintosh was for the masses. He wanted to give them a controlled experience.
a philosophical component, one that was related to his penchant for
control. He believed that for a computer to be truly great, its hardware
and its software had to be tightly linked. When a computer was open
to running software that also worked on other computers, it would end
up sacrificing some functionality. The best products, he believed, were
“whole widgets” that were designed end-to-end, with the software closely
tailored to the hardware and vice versa. This is what would distinguish the
Macintosh, which had an operating system that worked only on its own
hardware, from the environment that Microsoft was creating, in which its
operating system could be used on hardware made by many different companies.
“Jobs is a strong-willed, elitist artist who doesn’t want his creations mutated
inauspiciously by unworthy programmers,” explained ZDNet’s editor
Dan Farber. “It would be as if someone off the street added some
brush strokes to a Picasso painting or changed the lyrics to a Dylan song.”
In later years Jobs’s whole-widget approach would distinguish the iPhone,
iPod, and iPad from their competitors. It resulted in awesome products.
But it was not always the best strategy for dominating a market. “
From the first Mac to the latest iPhone, Jobs’s systems have always
been sealed shut to prevent consumers
from meddling and
noted Leander Kahney,
author of Cult of the Mac.
Instead he insisted on applying only to Reed College, a private liberal arts school in Portland, Oregon, that was one of the most expensive in the nation. He was visiting Woz at Berkeley when his father called to say an acceptance letter had arrived from
Reed, and he tried to talk Steve out of going there. So did his mother. It was far more than they could afford, they said. But their son responded with an ultimatum: If he couldn’t go to Reed, he wouldn’t go anywhere. They relented, as usual.
Reed had only one thousand students, half the number at Homestead High. It was known for its free-spirited hippie lifestyle, which combined somewhat uneasily with its rigorous academic standards and core curriculum. Five years earlier Timothy
Leary, the guru of psychedelic enlightenment, had sat cross-legged at the Reed College commons while on his League for Spiritual Discovery (LSD) college tour, during which he exhorted his listeners, “Like every great religion of the past we seek
to find the divinity within. . . . These ancient goals we define in the metaphor of the present—turn on, tune in, drop out.” Many of Reed’s students took all three of those injunctions seriously; the dropout rate during the 1970s was more than one-third.
When it came time for Jobs to matriculate in the fall of 1972, his parents drove him up to Portland, but in another small act of rebellion he refused to let them come on
campus. In fact he refrained from even saying good-bye or thanks. He recounted the moment later with uncharacteristic regret:
It’s one of the things in life I really feel ashamed about. I was not very sensitive, and I hurt their feelings. I shouldn’t have. They had done so much to make sure I could go there, but I just didn’t want them around. I didn’t want anyone to know I had parents. I wanted to be like an orphan who
had bummed around the country
on trains and just arrived
out of nowhere, with no roots,
no connections, no background.