The late Steve Jobs was a vitriolic critic of those around him, according to a biography due to launch on Monday
Anyone who thought that Apple’s attacks on Google Android were more than just an attempt to use the patent sponge to soak up money will get their answer on Monday when what promises to be a forthright biography is launched.
The book reveals that Apple CEO Steve Jobs considered Android phones to be “grand theft” iPhone and vowed to “right this wrong” if it took him till his dying breath.
A pithy biography of the late Steve Jobs is hitting the book shops next Monday. Far from painting Apple’s co-founder as a saint, it reveals what he really felt about the people around him.
A pre-release copy of Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography by Walter Isaacson was given to Associated Press business and technology journalist Michael Liedtke who has been tweeting some of the juicier contents.
Beside his hatred of Android, Jobs had particular contempt for Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt. This set Jobs against Google and when the company’s CEO Larry Page requested a meeting with him, Jobs’ initial reaction was to tell him “f-you”. He stopped short of this because in his teenage days his mentor Bill Hewlett, co-founder of HP, advised him never to be hasty.
Page wanted advice on being a good CEO and Jobs willingly proferred his views – in typical Jobs style.
After telling Page that, apart from search, Google products were “shit” and that Google had been putting out too many products, he added caustically, “They’re turning you into Microsoft. Figure out what Google wants to be when it grows up. It’s now all over the map.”
Bill Gates, Microsoft’s founder, was a long-time foe of Apple but things were not so bad in the early 80s when the Macintosh was being developed. The book claims that Gates was given an early view of the developing system, after which Microsoft codenamed the Apple project as “SAND” – an acronym for “Steve’s amazing new device”.
Any respect or friendliness Jobs may have felt towards Gates at that time obviously was eroded over time. He told Isaacson, “Bill is basically unimaginative and has never invented anything … He just shamelessly ripped off other people’s ideas.”
Which is rather like the iPot calling the MSkettle black.
HP, “dismembered and destroyed”
Jobs always admired both Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard and this would have made HP one of the only companies that could have launched a tablet without triggering Apple’s patent trap. When the HP TouchPad project was wrapped up, Apple’s board members were delighted but Jobs did not see it that way.
“Hewlett and Packard built a great company, and they thought they had left it in good hands but now it’s being dismembered and destroyed.” he told Isaacson. “I hope I’ve left a stronger legacy so that will never happen at Apple.”
When he was talking to the Cupertino Town Council to gain planning permission for a new Apple headquarters building, Jobs recalled his first encounter with Bill Hewlett.
At age 13, Jobs rang Hewlett, who also lived inPalo Alto, to ask for spare parts for a frequency counter he was making. Not only did he get the parts, he also got a summer job and a life-long friendship developed.
Jobs also had a love for the New York Times (NYT). The beleaguered newspaper needed help and Jobs threw it a lifeline by saying they could have 10 million digital subscribers paying $5 (£3) per month to access a special iPad edition of the daily news. The owners of the NYT made Jobs wince when they accepted but set a higher subscription price.
Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography is based on three years of interviews conducted by Walter Isaacson. He talked to Jobs, his family and Apple colleagues, as well as his competitors. It is available from iTunes or Amazon in all formats, including Kindle, on Monday.