TV-PGJuly 28, 2000: Mac fans are abuzz with news of the upcoming Steve Jobs celebrity tell-all. Meanwhile, still more details emerge about Steve's vengeance on the loose-lipped ATI, and Apple discontinues the leadership@apple.com email address-- now where are we going to send our suggestions that Apple open a string of auto dealerships?...
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Coming Soon: Hatchet Jobs (7/28/00)
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Get ready to turn off that monitor and kick it dead-tree style, because there's a new gritty tell-all celebrity exposé coming out soon-- and it's about none other than Uncle Steve himself. Yes, Alan Deutschman's The Second Coming of Steve Jobs promises to be a real page-turner when it hits the shelves on September 12th, assuming that USA Today isn't kidding about the mud oozing forth from within. And how could any book about the world's most mercurial iCEO be anything but dramatic? Think of it this way: if Steve Jobs himself called the book a "hatchet job" before it was even written, well, dish us up a heaping slice of that drama and don't skimp on the Hip Whip.

Care to sample some of the juicy morsels contained within? One business associate likens Steve to Charles Foster Kane. Another feared that Steve would take his own life following his 1985 ousting from Apple. Instead, the once and future king considered other options before starting up NeXT, such as "selling PCs in Cold War Russia; a bid for the U.S. Senate in California; serving on the space shuttle Challenger; and living in seclusion in the south of France." (That last one, incidentally, seems wholly unbelievable to us. Where's the drama in that?!) And there's reportedly plenty of dirt on friction between Steve and Pixar director John Lasseter, whom Jobs allegedly "tried to unload" on Microsoft before he realized that Toy Story would become a hit.

But wait-- there's more! Order now and you'll also get "details on the 45-year-old Jobs' family, his biological parents... and his star-crossed personal life." Sadly, the article provides no details of said details, so whether the book's chronicling of his "star-crossed personal life" makes any reference to, say, late-'70s tag-team oil-wrestling matches with Linda Ronstadt and Jane Fonda over at Larry Ellison's disco pad remains to be seen. We can but hope. Regardless, consider this one on AtAT's pre-order list; we figure it's just the thing to tide us over while we wait for the new TV season to start. Anyone want to start a pool on when the libel suit will be filed?


 
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Steve The Impaler (7/28/00)
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Last week's tussle following ATI's disastrous slip of the lip (wherein the company accidentally told the world about Apple's new iMacs and Power Macs two days before Steve did) should live forever as an infamous example of the Mighty Wrath of Steve. It's a textbook case, after all: business partner screws up; business partner goes pale and tries to duck the blame; Steve axes business partner's segment from the keynote and orders said partner's new product expunged from the Expo floor; business partner admits blame and prays for leniency; Steve keeps pummeling said business partner just for kicks. Meanwhile, Steve's keynote seemed so flawless and his demeanor so cheerful, no one would ever have expected that underneath it all he was a simmering cauldron of rage and vengeance.

In fact, there are still people who don't believe that the whole situation even really happened. We refer those unbelievers back to AppleInsider, whose latest update on this classic Steveism includes a scanned image of a pre-ATI-blunder configuration card for the Cube-- with ATI's new Radeon chip listed as a build-to-order option and crossed out in ballpoint pen. Indeed, the Radeon is nowhere to be found at the Apple Store, further evidence that Steve can carry a grudge to new and wonderful extremes. Granted, the chip isn't actually available yet, and one certainly hopes that Steve will allow the six-letter "R" word back into Apple's good graces before the card actually ships in September, but meanwhile, ATI's losing pre-orders. The punishment just keeps on coming.

And get this-- apparently banning Radeons from the show floor, the Apple Store, and the keynote wasn't the only retribution Steve had planned. The day before the keynote, as a final twist of the knife, the bent-on-revenge iCEO reportedly dispatched Apple's Director of OEM Engineering out to try to set up a last-minute keynote demo of one of ATI's competitor's cards to take the place of the blacklisted Radeon. The Director returned empty-handed, for reasons that we're sure must be fascinating, but which unfortunately AppleInsider has classified as "unpublishable." (Perhaps 3dfx has stage fright.) In any event, the crossed-out Radeon option on Apple's Cube card is like a head on a stick at the gate to Apple's headquarters, and the warning is clear: don't make Steve angry. You wouldn't like him when he's angry.


 
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I Have No Mouth... (7/28/00)
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When he introduced Apple's new Pro Mouse to the world last week, Steve tried to drive home one point: Apple listens to its customers. People complained about the old mouse, Apple listened, and a mere two years later, the problem's been fixed. Piece of cake, right? Points for effort, if not necessarily for speed. And there have indeed been plenty of other instances in which we've seen Apple listen to its customers and fix a problem. Witness the original iMac shipping with a 56K modem instead of a 33.6 one. Witness the reinstatement of the G4 orders cancelled after the "Speed Dump". Witness the availability of a six-slot Power Ma-- uh, never mind.

But how will Apple listen if there's no way for customers to yell? That's the concern voiced by Mac OS Rumors, who notes that Apple has finally discontinued the long-standing leadership@apple.com email address. Now, we can only assume that leadership@apple.com's deletion was a simple mistake, since advice from random individuals on how to run Apple is obviously the only thing that brought Apple through its dark days. Worse yet, Apple's web site doesn't provide any clue as to how a concerned customer can tell Apple what Steve's doing right and what's he's doing wrong; the Contact page only allows web site feedback, instead of feedback on Apple's leadership strategies.

Indeed, MOSR notes that "one can send such feedback through the Website Feedback pages, but that clearly won't be routed to decision-makers." Because, as we all know, before it vanished, leadership@apple.com was checked by Steve Jobs every five minutes, and he took care to read each and every single one of the hundreds of email messages sent to that account every day. Sure, he's a busy guy, what with running two companies and still maintaining a family life, but that advice from bobby@mertz.k12.state.ia.us about how Apple should "kick dells ass, and also imacs should have pokemon on them" was far too valuable a piece of advice to risk missing.

The only other possibility is that Steve thinks he's doing a decent job of directing Apple on his own, and that Amelio's "tell us how we should run Apple" email address (which some incurable pessimists suspect was always routed to /dev/null anyway) was just a bozo ploy to fool the masses into thinking their thoughts were actually being considered in the matter. But that couldn't be the case, could it? That said, we'd love to see Apple institute an easy method by which customers can voice their likes and dislikes about specific products they've used. Maybe we'll suggest it in a message to leadersh-- Oh.


 
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