TV-PGMarch 1, 1998: More tales of Steve Jobs' legendary "difficult personality" shed some light onto Apple's troublesome CEO search. Meanwhile, despite Microsoft's eventual agreement to allow its licensees to ship Windows systems sans IE, no one's actually taking them up on the offer, and CompUSA's Sunday circular shows a baby step in the right direction...
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Of Godhood and Madness (3/1/98)

Thanks to MacNN, we happened across a fascinating account of one person's brush with Steve Jobs. The article is titled, appropriately enough, "Nine Minutes with God," and it doesn't paint a terribly flattering portrait of Apple's interim CEO. In fact, not only does it confirm all of the old reports of Steve being nearly impossible to work for, it really makes the recent rumors of his screaming temper tantrums at board meetings much more believable.

The article follows the story of a former senior Human Resources executive at Sun, who, as a big Mac booster, was persuaded to apply for the vacant Vice President of HR position at Apple. After ten weeks of grueling interviews, she eventually found herself on the short list of candidates, and was to be interviewed by Steve Jobs himself. After rescheduling the interview once after she had already shown up, Jobs met with her for nine minutes, in which he told her that her credentials were unsuitable (because "Sun is no Apple"), asked her why she'd changed jobs so many times over the past four years, and when questioned as to why he wanted a VP of HR in the first place, he allegedly answered, "I've never met one of you who didn't suck. I've never known an HR person who had anything but a mediocre mentality."

To be fair, our own extremely limited experience with HR personnel happens to mesh perfectly with Jobs' opinion, but if this interview is any indication of the way he's interviewing candidates for the CEO position, it's not terribly surprising that Apple's still looking for a new top dog. Who'd want to work at a company after going through an interview like that?

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So Who's Switching? (3/1/98)

While the Redmond Justice case has been quiet lately, we just had to mention the number of Wintel manufacturers that have taken advantage of their new option of shipping Windows 95 without Internet Explorer preinstalled: zero. As in zip, zilch, nada, big ol' goose egg. Computer Reseller News has more details.

According to the article, manufacturers are sticking with MSIE because they feel it has a "fuller feature set" than the alternative, namely Netscape Navigator. In fact, Packard Bell has switched from installing both Netscape and MSIE on their systems, to shipping MSIE exclusively. And AST says that from a sales perspective, it doesn't matter which browser they install, because customers aren't asking for one over the other. So why not install the one that comes with Windows 95, since it's just one fewer thing to worry about?

Which all begs the question we raised months ago, when the case first broke: Given that it's obviously in the best interests of Wintel manufacturers to ship their Windows 95 systems with Internet Explorer preloaded, why did Microsoft raise such a ruckus about letting their licensees have the choice? Ah, well, it sure was entertaining, hmmm?

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The Ads Begin (3/1/98)

If you haven't been living in a cave for the last couple of months, you know that Apple's pulled out of all national retail chains except for CompUSA, which has, unfortunately, been doing a rather halfhearted job of advertising its Apple computers. Those of you who get a Sunday newspaper may have noticed the improvement in CompUSA's color circular this week, however. In today's ad, we're happy to announce that a Mac appears on the front page, under a banner announcing the "grand opening" of their Apple store within a store. That's a big improvement over recent editions, which didn't have any Macs at all (though they occasionally had a page of Mac software).

Unfortunately, that single Mac only takes up maybe a tenth of the front page. Worse yet, it's for a 6500, when the only Mac most average folks know about is the G3 from the snail commercials. And perhaps worst of all, the price of the complete 225 MHz system after CompUSA's rebate is $1799.95, while it appears next to a much larger ad hawking a 200 MHz Pentium MMX system for $1099.99. Way to invite unfavorable comparisons!

Don't lose heart, though; we've heard from multiple sources that the lack of decent Apple advertising is due only to the fact that the circulars are prepared months in advance, and they wanted to be sure that all of the Apple store within a store conversions were going to be done before the ads came out. According to these sources, the serious Mac advertising from CompUSA will emerge in two weeks, to coincide with a big grand opening event. Keep your weekend free; it's been hinted that there may be major deals and giveaways at your local CompUSA. We plan to attend.

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