Dell Asked at an investor conference in late 1997 what newly returned Steve Jobs should do as head of Apple, mass PC maker Dell’s founder and CEO Michael Dell quipped, “I’d shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders.”
In 2005 Dell had significantly changed his tune: “If Apple decides to open the Mac OS to others, we would be happy to offer it to our customers,” he told Fortune magazine.
Diesel As far removed from Apple co-founder and CEO Steve Jobs as you could imagine thickly accented German Michael Spindler (nicknamed ‘The Diesel’ because of his mighty frame and hard worth ethic) was Apple’s CEO from 1993 to 1996.
While working at Intel Spindler impressed co-worker Mike Markkula as “one of the smartest guys I know”. Markkula went on to become super rich and was an angel investor in Apple, its employee number 3, its second CEO (1981-3) and chairman (1985-1997).
While The Diesel did transition the Mac to the PowerPC processor and launched the Centris and Performa Mac systems his reign as Apple big cheese is not covered in glory. He fired thousands of Apple employees (the redundancy roll call was nicknamed Spindler’s List), removed water coolers from the campus and stopped free meals at the company cafeteria. In 1995 he had to write off $1 billion of unsold inventory – some, no doubt, from the cafeteria.
Spindler suffered badly from stress and was apparently found cowering under his desk on occasion. He spent the last couple of years forlornly trying to flog Apple to the likes of IBM, Philips, Oracle and Sun. He was succeeded by Gil Amelio, who eventually brought Steve Jobs back to the helm.
Disney After sensationally leaving Apple in 1985 Steve Jobs founded NeXT Computer and a year later bought the Pixar Graphics Group from Lucasfilm’s Star Wars computer graphics division for $10 million. Nine years later its first computer-animated movie Toy Story (released in partnership with the Walt Disney Company) revolutionised the movie business.
In 2004 after a raft of super-profitable CGI flicks (Finding Nemo, A Bug’s Life, Monsters Inc, etc) Jobs announced that Pixar was looking for a new movie studio partner to work with. The resulting clash caused the downfall of Disney CEO Michael Eisner and rise of new Mickey Mouse chief Bob Iger.
On 24 January 2006, Disney purchased Pixar for a cool $7.4 billion. Jobs instantly became Disney’s largest single shareholder with approximately 7 per cent of the company’s stock, and serves today on its board of directors.
Jobs has been called “the closest thing to Walt Disney since Walt Disney”. He was consulted when Disney rebranded its failing high street stores, and the new retail outlets were immediately likened to the mega-successful Apple Stores. How times have changed; back in 1998 Disney was even rumoured to be a possible buyer of Apple.
Dogcow The designer of the original Mac icons Susan Kare also created system fonts such as Cairo, which included some simple, random pictures – a palm tree, pointing hand, glove, stick of dynamite and so on. One of them was supposed to be a dog, and was picked by Apple LaserWriter software engineers to represent a printed page’s orientation in the Page Setup dialog box. They fiddled with the dog icon a little bit, enough that users now couldn’t tell if it was a dog or a cow. The name Dogcow stuck, but it’s also been known as Moof (the sound a dogcow might make) and Clarus (a dig at Apple’s one-time software subsidiary Claris).
Rumours that Microsoft took five years to create a similar Cowdog are unsubstantiated.
DTP Nothing kick-started the rise of Apple’s Macintosh computer faster than the emergence of desktop publishing (DTP) back in the mid 1980s. The Mac had been floundering, looking for an audience since its release in 1984. The first WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) DTP program was MacPublisher in 1984.
This was swiftly followed by the release of Apple’s LaserWriter printer, Adobe’s PostScript page description language, and Aldus PageMaker layout software a year later. Together they produced the desktop publishing revolution that changed not only the newspaper and magazine industries but Apple itself: DTP was the Mac’s much-needed killer application.
Dylan Steve Jobs is a big fan of folk legend Bob Dylan (it was Apple co-founder Woz who introduced Jobs to the music when he was 13 years old), and references to the gruff-voiced scruffbag pepper Apple’s history. In 1994, Apple developed a programming language for its Newton PDA and called it Dylan. Bob quickly sued Apple for trademark infringement. Bob Dylan was one of the misfit crazy ones selected for Apple’s ‘Think Different’ advertising campaign, and he starred in an iTunes/iPod TV ad in 2006.
Jobs even dated Dylan’s former girlfriend and Queen of Folk Joan Baez during the late 1970 and early 1980s.
‘The Times They Are A Changing’ could even be Apple’s unofficial motto – indeed, Jobs quoted from the song when he launched the Macintosh in 1984: “For the loser now, Will be later to win”.