"Do Not Provoke The CEO" (3/23/01)

You know, we're really starting to regret not having been invited to Apple's big Mac OS X press briefing last Wednesday. What, no engraved personal invite from Steve, just because of the niggling little detail that we're not actually "press"? Just for that we're not inviting him to our next all-day Kevin Smith DVD-athon! After all, four hours of hoo-hah surrounding a product we've all been hearing about in one form or another since 1996 certainly had the potential to bore us silly, but don't forget: Steve was there. And where Steve goes, drama is sure to follow...

Most of what we've heard about the event is pretty much what you'd expect: seemingly endless instances of Apple's official celebratory horn-tooting about how the long-awaited release of Mac OS X ushers in a new era of personal computing with unprecedented elegance and ease of use, yadda yadda yadda. But faithful viewer Johnny Asbury spotted a couple of Jobsian nuggets-o'-fun glinting amidst the mountainous backdrop of marketing fluff, tagged onto the end of a Macworld article. Apparently His Royal Mercurialness mostly kept his scarier side under wraps, but on a couple of occasions he did his part to contribute to "a few tense moments" at the shindig.

One reporter was gauche enough to raise the subject of the rumored disbanding of the Cube development team (Alert Miss Manners! That's like talking about terminal diseases at a Debutante Ball!), to which Steve responded with "a denial... that anyone had been laid off." Take that how you will, since Steve isn't exactly known for being Truth Guy all the time. Another reporter failed to slip into the mood of the occasion; rather than celebrating Mac OS X's arrival, the journalist in question insisted on asking "about Apple's reliance on IBM and Motorola for PowerPC chips." Geez, some people really just don't know how to loosen up. In response, Steve reportedly got a wee bit grouchy, and simply replied, "You don't know what you're talking about."

What do you think-- was it just a meaningless emotional outburst, or an accidental slip of the tongue? After all, everybody knows that Apple is reliant on IBM and Motorola for PowerPC processors, so in what way, exactly, did that reporter not know what he or she was talking about? Unless, of course, Apple has something big up its sleeve, like an outright purchase of Motorola's entire PowerPC operation, or the long-rumored and dreaded "Bail To x86" plan. Believe whatever you like, of course, but the real lesson here is that the best way to get Steve to talk about something is to bombard him with annoying questions totally removed from the spirit of the occasion to which you've been invited. But don't blame us if he grabs a letter opener and goes for your throat.

SceneLink (2944)
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The above scene was taken from the 3/23/01 episode:

March 23, 2001: Apple prepares for the Mac OS X rollout by expanding its tech support call center. Meanwhile, a couple of classic Jobs moments emerged from Wednesday's press briefing, and Motorola lops off another 4000 jobs, because why mess with tradition?...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 2943: Apple: Ready For Trouble (3/23/01)   Only one day left! Unless you're a software pirate, a developer with connections, a users group representative, a member of the press, or lucky enough to live near a Staples store run by people with an overly-lax definition of the phrase "Do Not Sell Until Saturday," tomorrow is the first day you can get your hands on Mac OS X...

  • 2945: Still Cutting, Still Bleeding (3/23/01)   It's kind of like watching a train derail in slow motion; we know we're witnessing a horrible event, but we simply can't look away. 2500 layoffs in January. 4000 more in February. 7000 just ten days ago...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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