Apple Leaders Rally Behind New Bio Of Steve Jobs

23 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

A nuanced look at a kinder, gentler Steve Jobs.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak said that a new film about the late Steve Jobs is factually “wrong,” judging by a first clip from the movie that has been released. SAN FRANCISCO — Walt Disney Chief Executive Officer Bob Iger knew early on that Steve Jobs’s cancer had returned and kept it a secret for three years before it became public knowledge, a new biography of Apple’s late CEO reveals. He just couldn’t process the idea of it, as Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli explain in their book, “Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader,” which launches on March 24. In it, Isaacson broke major news, ignited one of Apple’s longest standing rumors (the TV), and broadly painted Jobs as the impatient, relentless, perfectionist Apple founder we remember today.

Jobs angrily refused. “Steve only yelled at me four or five times during the 13 years I knew him,” says Cook, “and this was one of them.” Yet, this is the picture of Jobs—the visionary and screamer-in-chief—now etched in the public’s consciousness following his 2011 death. Through interviews and tweets, Apple brass, including the chief executive, Tim Cook, are throwing their weight behind a new unauthorized biography of the Apple co-founder, Becoming Steve Jobs, which goes on sale on Tuesday. But Schlender, who wrote about Jobs for nearly a quarter-century for Fortune magazine, argues it’s a two-dimensional portrait that doesn’t come close to explaining who Jobs was, or why so many people wanted to work for him. The book, then, isn’t so much a re-telling of Jobs’s well-known story—a personal-computing pioneer who was booted from his own troubled company, only to find his way back and lead it to greatness—as it is a more nuanced look at how a brilliant young man learned how to (mostly) overcome his worst tendencies in a bid to do what he had always wanted to do: make beautiful computers that changed people’s lives. Mr Iger told the authors he thought about the implications of keeping such a secret at a time when regulators were calling for more disclosure and holding executives more accountable to their fiduciary duties.

But the year following his departure, he emailed Jobs as a courtesy to tell him what his next venture would be — he had been hired by Palm Computing. Jobs’s knack for seeing the future and his painful attention to detail were often credited as the chief reasons for Apple’s eventual success, but, in fact, the opposite may have been true.

Today, Rubinstein is known in the tech industry for his years as CEO of Palm Computing and his role at Hewlett Packard, and he also sits on Amazon’s board of directors. In Schlender’s view, Jobs’s ability to deliver game-changing devices such as the iPhone and iPad during his later years stemmed from his ability to put more trust in the people he hired and to cling less tightly to his exacting vision of the perfect machine.

But when Jobs first learned that Rubinstein was heading to Palm in 2007, he was perplexed to say the least. “He couldn’t understand,” Rubinstein told Schlender and Tetzeli. “He said, ‘You’ve got plenty of money, why are you going to Palm?’ I’m like, ‘Steve, what are you talking about? Here’s what we know so far: When Jobs was gravely ill and needed a new liver, Tim Cook offered to donate a portion of his own liver because the two shared a blood type. We’re buying Pixar, we’re not buying you.” The book is the latest to detail the life and career of Apple’s former CEO, who died in October 2011 after fighting a rare form of pancreatic cancer. In another sign of the company’s implicit approval of the biography, the writers will discuss the book and field questions about it on Thursday at the Apple store in Soho in New York.

Jobs turned down Cook’s offer and later received a full liver transplant in 2009. “Somebody that’s selfish,” Cook continues, “doesn’t reply like that. But the book also shows us the family man, and the multi-billionaire who chose to live in a rambling old house with a vegetable garden in place of an imposing security wall.

The account paints a more sympathetic picture than the biography by Mr Walter Isaacson, who devoted several passages in his book to Jobs’s messy personal life, mercurial temperament and reality distortion field. While the authors fact-checked portions of the book with Apple and other sources and showed the finished volume to the company, Apple wasn’t allowed to have “any editorial input whatsoever,” Tetzeli said. “After a long period of reflection following Steve’s death, we felt a sense of responsibility to say more about the Steve we knew,” Steve Dowling, an Apple spokesman, said. “We decided to participate in Brent and Rick’s book because of Brent’s long relationship with Steve, which gave him a unique perspective on Steve’s life. It was not, ‘Are you sure you want to do this?’ It was not, ‘I’ll think about it.’ It was not, ‘Oh, the condition I’m in . . .’ It was, ‘No, I’m not doing that!’ He kind of popped up in bed and said that.

In an interview, Isaacson, chief executive of the Aspen Institute and a former managing editor of Time, said he had tried to take a balanced view of Jobs that did not sugar-coat the Apple co-founder’s flaws. A few minutes later, Jobs was spotted outside in the parking lot, sobbing into his steering wheel. “I’m going to go back in and apologize,” Jobs said. “And then I’m going to leave.” And that, Schlender writes, is exactly what he did. In the introduction to “Steve Jobs,” Isaacson wrote that Jobs, who had hand-picked him as biographer, didn’t try to exert any control over the book, except for weighing in on the cover. The biography proved enormously popular, selling more than 3 million copies in the US alone. “My book is very favourable and honest, with no anonymous slings,” Isaacson said, adding that he was criticized at times for being too soft on his subject.

Over the past six months, Apple executives have been on an extensive media campaign to promote new retail stores, the Apple Watch and Apple Pay, a new mobile payment service. When Cook discovered that he and Jobs shared the same rare blood type, Cook offered a part of his liver to his ailing friend. “I really wanted him to do it,” he said in the book. “He cut me off at the legs, almost before the words were out of my mouth. ‘No,’ he said. ‘I’ll never let you do that. And I’m thinking, We’re in this post Sarbanes-Oxley world, and Enron, and fiduciary responsibility, and he is going to be our largest shareholder, and I’m now being asked to bury a secret. I’ll never do that!’” Later in the excerpt, Cue of Apple noted that in Jobs’ final years, the Apple chief did everything he could to have people treat him as if he were not sick. Cue has become a vocal defender of Jobs’ legacy, too, and he took to Twitter recently to criticize the filmmaker Alex Gibney’s new documentary about the former Apple chief as “an inaccurate and mean-spirited view of my friend.

Nobody knows, and you can’t tell anybody.” CultofMac also reports that the book contains significant information about Jobs’ stint at NeXT, the company he founded after being forced out of Apple in 1985. Apple will never make a TV again.” Readers of Isaacson’s “Steve Jobs” will remember that Jobs said he “finally cracked” the puzzle to make a simple HDTV.

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