There was, however, one cowboy who was dazzled. Ross Perot, the bantam Texan who had founded Electronic Data Systems, then sold it to General Motors for $2.4 billion, happened to watch a PBS documentary, The
Entrepreneurs, which had a segment on Jobs and NeXT in November 1986. He instantly identified with Jobs and his gang, so much so that, as he watched
them on television, he said, “I was finishing their sentences for them.” It was a line eerily similar to one Sculley had often used. Perot called Jobs the next day and offered, “If you ever need an investor, call me.”
Jobs did indeed need one, badly. But he was careful not to show it. He waited a week before calling back. Perot sent some of his analysts to size up NeXT, but Jobs took care to deal directly with Perot. One of his great regrets in life,
Perot later said, was that he had not bought Microsoft, or a large stake in it, when a very young Bill Gates had come to visit him in Dallas in 1979. By the time Perot called Jobs, Microsoft had just gone public with a $1 billion
valuation. Perot had missed out on the opportunity to make a lot of money and have a fun adventure. He was eager not to make that mistake again.
Jobs made an offer to Perot that was three times more costly than had quietly been offered to venture capitalists a few months earlier. For $20 million,
Perot would get 16% of the equity in the company, after Jobs put in another $5 million. That meant the company would be valued at about $126 million. But money was not a major consideration for Perot. After a meeting with
Jobs, he declared that he was in. “I pick the jockeys, and the jockeys pick the horses and ride them,
” he told Jobs. “
You guys are the
ones I’m betting on,
so you figure it out.”
At a forum in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1989, Jobs and Gates appeared sequentially, laying out their competing worldviews. Jobs spoke about how new waves come along in the computer industry every few years. Macintosh
had launched a revolutionary new approach with the graphical interface; now NeXT was doing it with object-oriented programming tied to a powerful new machine based on an optical disk. Every major software vendor realized they
had to be part of this new wave, he said, “except Microsoft.” When Gates came up, he reiterated his belief that Jobs’s end-to-end control of the software and the hardware was destined for failure, just as Apple had failed in competing against the Microsoft Windows standard. “The hardware market and the
software market are separate,” he said. When asked about the great design that could come from Jobs’s approach, Gates gestured to the NeXT prototype that was still sitting onstage and sneered, “If you want black, I’ll get you a can of paint.”
Jobs came up with a brilliant jujitsu maneuver against Gates, one that could have changed the balance of power in the computer industry forever. It required Jobs to do two things that were against his nature: licensing out his
software to another hardware maker and getting into bed with IBM. He had a pragmatic streak, albeit a tiny one, so he was able to overcome his reluctance. But his heart was never fully in it, which is why the alliance would turn out to be short-lived.
It began at a party, a truly memorable one, for the seventieth birthday of the Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham in June 1987 in Washington. Six hundred guests attended, including President Ronald Reagan. Jobs flew in
from California and IBM’s chairman John Akers from New York. It was the first time they had met. Jobs took the opportunity to bad-mouth Microsoft and attempt to wean IBM from using its Windows operating system. “I couldn’t resist telling him I thought IBM was taking a giant gamble betting its entire software strategy on
Microsoft, because I didn’
t think its software
was very good,”
Jobs had always indulged his obsession that the unseen parts of a product should be crafted as beautifully as its fa?ade, just as his father had taught him when they were building a fence. This too he took to extremes when he found
himself unfettered at NeXT. He made sure that the screws inside the machine had expensive plating. He even insisted that the matte black finish be coated onto the inside of the cube’s case, even though only repairmen would see it.
Joe Nocera, then writing for Esquire, captured Jobs’s intensity at a NeXT staff meeting:
It’s not quite right to say that he is sitting through this staff meeting, because Jobs doesn’t sit through much of anything; one of the ways he dominates is through sheer movement. One moment he’s kneeling in his chair; the next
minute he’s slouching in it; the next he has leaped out of his chair entirely and is scribbling on the blackboard directly behind him. He is full of mannerisms. He bites his nails. He stares with unnerving earnestness at whoever is
speaking. His hands, which are slightly and inexplicably yellow, are in constant motion.
What particularly struck Nocera was Jobs’s “almost willful lack of tact.” It was more than just an inability to hide his opinions when others said something he thought dumb; it was a conscious readiness, even a perverse eagerness, to put
people down, humiliate them, show he was smarter. When Dan’l Lewin handed out an organization chart, for example, Jobs rolled his eyes. “These charts are bullshit,” he interjected. Yet his moods still swung wildly, as at Apple. A finance person came into the meeting and Jobs lavished praise on him for a
“really, really great job on this”;
the previous day
Jobs had told him,
“This deal is crap.”
Jobs realized that in order to work with Esslinger (and for a variety of other reasons), it would be necessary to resolve the lawsuit that Apple had filed. Fortunately Sculley was willing. In January 1986 they reached an out-of-court agreement involving no financial damages. In return for Apple’s
dropping its suit, NeXT agreed to a variety of restrictions: Its product would be marketed as a high-end workstation, it would be sold directly to colleges and universities, and it would not ship before March 1987. Apple also insisted
that the NeXT machine “not use an operating system compatible with the Macintosh,” though it could be argued that Apple would have been better served by insisting on just the opposite.
After the settlement Jobs continued to court Esslinger until the designer decided to wind down his contract with Apple. That allowed frogdesign to work with NeXT at the end of 1986. Esslinger insisted on having free rein, just
as Paul Rand had. “Sometimes you have to use a big stick with Steve,” he said. Like Rand, Esslinger was an artist, so Jobs was willing to grant him indulgences he denied other mortals.
Jobs decreed that the computer should be an absolutely perfect cube, with each side exactly a foot long and every angle precisely 90 degrees. He liked cubes. They had gravitas but also the slight whiff of a toy. But the NeXT cube was a Jobsian example of design desires trumping engineering
considerations. The circuit boards, which fitted nicely into the traditional pizza-box shape, had to be reconfigured and stacked in order to nestle into a cube.
Even worse, the perfection of the cube made it hard to manufacture. Most parts that are cast in molds have angles that are slightly greater than pure 90 degrees, so that it’s easier to get them out of the mold (just as it is easier to get a cake out of a pan that has angles slightly greater than 90 degrees). But
Esslinger dictated, and Jobs enthusiastically agreed, that there would be no such “draft angles” that would ruin the purity and perfection of the cube. So the sides had to be produced separately, using molds that cost $650,000, at a
specialty machine shop in Chicago. Jobs’s passion for perfection was out of control. When he noticed a tiny line in the chassis caused by the molds, something that any other computer maker would accept as unavoidable, he
flew to Chicago and convinced the die caster to start over and do it perfectly. “Not a lot of die casters expect a celebrity to fly in,” noted one of the engineers. Jobs also had the company buy a $150,000 sanding machine to remove all lines where the mold faces met and insisted that the
magnesium case be a matte
black, which made
it more susceptible
to showing blemishes.
The company had not only a new logo, but a new name. No longer was it Next. It was NeXT. Others might not have understood the need to obsess over a logo, much less pay $100,000 for one. But for Jobs it meant that NeXT was
starting life with a world-class feel and identity, even if it hadn’t yet designed its first product. As Markkula had taught him, a great company must be able to impute its values from the first impression it makes.
In order to translate the NeXT logo into the look of real products, Jobs needed an industrial designer he trusted. He talked
to a few possibilities, but none of them impressed him as much as the wild Bavarian he had imported to
Apple: Hartmut Esslinger, whose frogdesign had set up shop in Silicon Valley and who, thanks to Jobs, had a lucrative contract with Apple. Getting
IBM to permit Paul Rand to do work for NeXT was a small miracle willed into
existence by Jobs’s belief that reality can be distorted. But that was a snap
compared to the likelihood that he could convince Apple to permit Esslinger to work for NeXT.
This did not keep Jobs from trying. At the beginning of November 1985, just five weeks after Apple filed suit against him,
Jobs wrote to Eisenstat and asked for a dispensation. “I spoke with Hartmut Esslinger this weekend and he
suggested I write you a note expressing why I wish to work with him and frogdesign on the new products for
NeXT,” he said. Astonishingly, Jobs’s argument was that he did not know what Apple had in the works, but Esslinger did.
“NeXT has no knowledge as to the current or future directions of Apple’s
product designs, nor do other design firms we might deal with, so it is possible to inadvertently design similar looking
products. It is in both Apple’s and NeXT’s best interest to rely on Hartmut’s professionalism to make sure this does
not occur.” Eisenstat recalled being flabbergasted by Jobs’s audacity,
and he replied curtly. “I have previously expressed my concern on behalf of Apple that you are engaged in a business course
which involves your utilization of Apple’s confidential business information,” he wrote. “Your letter does not alleviate my concern in any way. In fact it heightens my
concern because it states that you have ‘no knowledge as to the current or future directions of Apple’s product designs,’ a
statement which is not true.” What made the request all the more astonishing to Eisenstat was that it was Jobs who, just a year earlier,
had forced frogdesign to
abandon its work on
At the time, Jobs owned 6.5 million shares of Apple stock, 11% of the company, worth more than $100 million. He began to sell his shares, and within five months had dumped them all, retaining only one share so he could attend shareholder meetings if he wanted. He was furious, and that was
reflected in his passion to start what was, no matter how he spun it, a rival company. “He was angry at Apple,” said Joanna Hoffman, who briefly went to work for the new company. “Aiming at the educational market, where Apple was strong, was simply Steve being vengeful. He was doing it for revenge.”
Jobs, of course, didn’t see it that way. “I haven’t got any sort of odd chip on my shoulder,” he told Newsweek. Once again he invited his favorite reporters
over to his Woodside home, and this time he did not have Andy Cunningham there urging him to be circumspect. He dismissed the allegation that he had improperly lured the five colleagues from Apple. “These people all called
me,” he told the gaggle of journalists who were milling around in his unfurnished living room. “They were thinking of leaving the company. Apple has a way of neglecting people.”
He decided to cooperate with a Newsweek cover in order to get his version of the story out, and the interview he gave was revealing. “What I’m best at doing is finding a group of talented people and making things with them,” he
told the magazine. He said that he would always harbor affection for Apple. “I’ll always remember Apple like any man remembers the first woman he’s fallen in love with.” But he was also willing to fight with its management if
need be. “When someone calls you a thief in public, you have to respond.” Apple’s threat to sue him was outrageous. It was also sad. It showed that Apple was no longer a confident, rebellious company. “It’s hard to think that a $2 billion
company with 4,300
t compete with six
people in blue jeans.”
When a guy from the facilities team went to Jobs’s office to pack up his belongings, he saw a picture frame on the floor. It contained a photograph of Jobs and Sculley in warm conversation, with an inscription from seven
months earlier: “Here’s to Great Ideas, Great Experiences, and a Great Friendship! John.” The glass frame was shattered. Jobs had hurled it across the room before leaving. From that day, he never spoke to Sculley again.
Apple’s stock went up a full point, or almost 7%, when Jobs’s resignation was announced. “East Coast stockholders always worried about California flakes running the company,” explained the editor of a tech stock newsletter. “Now with both Wozniak and Jobs out, those shareholders are relieved.” But Nolan
Bushnell, the Atari founder who had been an amused mentor ten years earlier, told Time that Jobs would be badly missed. “Where is Apple’s inspiration going to come from? Is Apple going to have all the romance of a new brand of Pepsi?”
After a few days of failed efforts to reach a settlement with Jobs, Sculley and the Apple board decided to sue him “for breaches of fiduciary obligations.” The suit spelled out his alleged transgressions:
Notwithstanding his fiduciary obligations to Apple, Jobs, while serving as the Chairman of Apple’s Board of Directors and an officer of Apple and pretending loyalty to the interests of Apple . . .
(a) secretly planned the formation of an enterprise to compete with Apple;
(b) secretly schemed that his competing enterprise would wrongfully take advantage of and utilize Apple’s plan to design, develop and
market the Next
Generation Product . . .
(c) secretly lured away key
employees of Apple.
But when Sculley walked into his 7:30 staff meeting and told his top lieutenants who was leaving, there was an uproar. Most of them felt that Jobs had breached his duties as chairman and displayed stunning disloyalty to the company. “We should expose him for the fraud that he is so that people here stop regarding him as a messiah,” Campbell shouted, according to Sculley.
September 17, 1985
This morning’s papers carried suggestions that Apple is considering removing me as Chairman. I don’t know the source of these reports but they are both misleading to the public and unfair to me.
You will recall that at last Thursday’s Board meeting I stated I had decided to start a new venture and I tendered my resignation as Chairman.
The Board declined to accept my resignation and asked me to defer it for a week. I agreed to do so in light of the encouragement the Board offered with regard to the proposed new venture and the indications that Apple would
invest in it. On Friday, after I told John Sculley who would be joining me, he confirmed Apple’s willingness to discuss areas of possible collaboration between Apple and my new venture.
Subsequently the Company appears to be adopting a hostile posture toward me and the new
As you know, the company’s recent reorganization left me with no work to do and no access even to regular management reports. I am but 30 and want still to contribute and achieve.
After what we have accomplished together, I would wish our parting to be both amicable and dignified.
Yours sincerely, steven p. jobs
I must insist upon the
of my resignation. . . .
When the banquet was concluded, Liu Bei thanked the Emperor and went out of the Palace. And from this time he was very generally styled the “Imperial Uncle.”
When Cao Cao returned to his palace, Xun Yu and his fellow advisers went in to see him.
Xun Yu said, “It is no advantage to you, Illustrious Sir, that the Emperor recognizes Liu Bei as an uncle.”
“Liu Bei may be recognized as uncle, but he is under my orders since I control the decrees of the Throne. He will be all the more ready to obey. Beside I will keep him here under the pretense of having him near his sovereign, and he will be entirely in my hands. I have nothing to fear. The man I fear is Yang Biao, who is a relative of the two Yuan brothers. Should Yang Biao conspire with them, he is an enemy within and might do much harm. He will have to be removed.”
Hence Cao Cao sent a secret emissary to say that Imperial Guardian Yang Biao was intriguing with Yuan Shu, and on this charge Yang Biao was arrested and imprisoned. And his death would have been compassed had his enemy dared.
But just then the Governor of Beihai, Kong Rong, was at the capital, and he remonstrated with Cao Cao, saying, “Yang Biao comes from a family famed for virtue for at least four generations. You cannot trump up so foolish a charge as that against him.”
“It is the wish of His Majesty！” retorted Cao Cao.
“If the child Emperor Cheng of Zhou Dynasty had put Duke Chao to death, could the people have believed Duke Zhou, the Regent Marshal, had nothing to do with it？”
So Cao Cao had to relinquish the attempt, but he took away Yang Biao’s offices and banished him to his family estate in the country.
Court Counselor Zhao Yan, an opponent of the Prime Minister,
sent up a memorial impeaching Cao Cao for having removed a minister of state from office without a decree.
Cao Cao’s reply to this was the arrest of Zhao Yan and his execution,
a bold stroke which terrified the bulk of officers and reduced them to silence.
the people bowed low to the ground to express their thanks. Che Zhou, General of the Flying Cavalry, was given command of Xuzhou for the moment.
After the army had arrived at the capital, rewards were granted to all the officers who had been in the expedition. Liu Bei was retained in the capital, lodging in an annex to the Prime Minister’s palace.
Next day a court was held, and Cao Cao memorialized the services of Liu Bei who was presented to Emperor Xian. Dressed in court robes, Liu Bei bowed at the lower end of the audience arena. The Emperor called him to the Hall and asked his ancestry.
[e] Reigned BC 157-141.
Liu Bei replied, “Thy servant is the son of Liu Hong, grandson of Liu Xiong, who was a direct descendant of Prince Sheng of Zhongshan, who was the son of His Majesty the Emperor Jing*.”
the Emperor bade them bring forth the Books of the Genealogies, and therefrom a secretary read：
“Liu Jing the Filial Emperor begot fourteen sons of whom the seventh was Liu Sheng, Prince of Zhongshan. Sheng begot Liu Zhen, Lord of Luchang. Zhen begot Liu Ang, Lord of Pei. Ang begot Liu Lu, Lord of Zhang. Lu begot Liu Lian, Lord of Yishui. Lian begot Liu Ying, Lord of Qinyang. Ying begot Liu Jian, Lord of Anguo. Jian begot Liu Ai, Lord of Guangling. Ai begot Liu Xia, Lord of Jiaoshui. Xia begot Liu Shu, Lord of Zuyi. Shu begot Liu Yi, Lord of Qiyang. Yi begot Liu Bi, Lord of Yuanze. Bi begot Liu Da, Lord of Yingchuan. Da begot Liu Buyi, Lord of Fengling. Buyi begot Liu Hui, Lord of Jichuan. Hui begot Liu Xiong, Governor of Zhuo. Xiong begot Liu Hong, who held no office or rank； and Liu Bei is his son.”
the Emperor compared this with the registers of the Imperial House and found by them that Liu Bei was his uncle by descent. The Emperor seemed GREatly pleased and requested Liu Bei to go into one of the side chambers
where he might perform the ceremonial obeisance prescribed for a nephew to his uncle.
In his heart he rejoiced to have this heroic warrior uncle as a powerful supporter against Cao Cao who really held all the power in his own hands.
The Emperor knew himself to be a mere puppet.
He conferred upon his uncle the rank of General of the Left Army and the title of Lord of Yicheng.