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Apple Businesses

The Man Behind Apple And Pixar 331

Posted by Zonk
from the he's-just-a-man dept.
Ant writes "Steve Jobs is the chief executive of two of the most powerful technology brands in the world: Apple and Pixar. But what motivates him? And how does he choose a new washing machine? An article in the Independent explores this much loved and much hated man." From the article: "Alan Deutschmann, a journalist who researched Jobs's middle years for a biography called The Second Coming of Steve Jobs, believes he displays two personalities in his dealings with people: Good Steve and Bad Steve. The Good side is charming, and can make people believe almost anything; that's the side on public view at the rock-star product launches. He's been said to have a 'reality distortion field' - by a mixture of charm and exaggeration, he can make you believe pretty much anything."
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The Man Behind Apple And Pixar

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  • Apple Store (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Snuggly_Soft (647073) on Monday October 31, 2005 @03:14AM (#13913204)
    Everyone, including the author of this article, seems to forget the apple store in describing the second coming of Jobs. iPod and iTunes have been a boon for apple, but no one cares to speculate about how much a 'mall presence' had to do with any of it... IMO, the store isn't a footnote here, it's a keystone.
  • by SensitiveMale (155605) on Monday October 31, 2005 @03:15AM (#13913205)
    How many times does Jobs' procedure to buy a washing machine have to be covered?
  • by falcon5768 (629591) <Falcon5768@@@comcast...net> on Monday October 31, 2005 @03:27AM (#13913241) Journal
    Actually its kinda the other way around. Its a very well know fact that Microsoft only invested in Apple back in the day around when Jobs came back BECAUSE if Apple was gone, Microsoft was dead from a monopoly standpoint. Apple is Microsofts answer when DoJ tells Microsoft they are a monopoly.

    Its true now that Microsoft doesnt really need to support the platform (and the signs are showing it wont eventually, IE is now gone from Macintosh products, and Office is actually being challeneged on the mac by other open and in most cases free alternatives) But even today if Apple where to somehow go away (unlikely given they are actually gaining ground over Microsoft) Microsoft would STILL be in deep shit, since Linux is not seen as a true competetor to Microsoft by DoJ standards and as it stands now, many rightfully feel thatg Microsoft is not following its agreement to stop its practices.

  • by ankarbass (882629) on Monday October 31, 2005 @03:34AM (#13913262)
    Did it ever occur to you that it might be the case that Jobs is wealthy BECAUSE he's charismatic?

    I'll let you work out the contrapositive.

  • by johndierks (784521) on Monday October 31, 2005 @03:38AM (#13913270)
    I think technically it would be illegal for Steve to barter a Pixar distribution deal for content for the Apple ITMS, as it would basically boil down to a conflict of interest.

    Steve is responsible to both sets of share holders, and if he agreed to a give one for the other, he could possibly be robbing one set of share holders to give to the other.

    I'm not saying that Pixar had nothing to do with the Disney/ITMS deal, but more than anything I think it could only have been a sign of good faith on Disney's side.
  • Re:Not really, no (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 31, 2005 @03:38AM (#13913272)
    He can make Apple's zealots believe pretty much anything, not me. The fact the Linux share on the desktop now accedes Apple's pretty much confirms that I am not alone in this regard. Apple's slogan really should be "Suckers wanted!"

    "exceeds", thanks! I love flamebait so I'll bite.

    What does Linux taking marketshare away from Windows have to do with Mac OS X seeming inferior to Linux? Oh yeah, nothing.

    There are a zillion more x86 PCs shipped per year than Apple PCs so it begs that there would be more Linux PCs shipped (now that OEMs are actually offering it preloaded) than Apple. I'm sure there's quite a few smart consumers out there that want to avoid the "Microsoft tax" when buying a new PC and order Linux even though they might intend on actually running Windows.
  • by aratuk (524269) on Monday October 31, 2005 @04:04AM (#13913340)
    I think it could only have been a sign of good faith on Disney's side.

    Yes, exactly. Disney knows his personality, and they want Good Steve. Good Steve, only human, is transferable from Apple to Pixar. And it's not like they stand to lose anything selling a few shows on the Internet.
    Also, I don't think it's necessarily bad for Pixar to have Steve Jobs get buttered up by Disney. Pixar without Disney faces a difficult distribution problem, where either Pixar has to develop the ability to distribute, market, and merchandise its own movies (expensive, risky), or find a new partner (let's face it: who is the master of selling animated movies to children?). Pixar has probably just been holding out for Disney to offer a better deal. Or maybe they'll just sell all future movies through iTunes... after all, no overhead.
  • by humina (603463) on Monday October 31, 2005 @04:09AM (#13913348) Homepage
    I think what you meant to say is that people that use apple computers are easily influenced by advertising. The things they wear and the products they use define their personality. In essence apple users are apple whores. Brainless consumers that buy apple because it fits their hipster mentality. It's the same mentality that needs reinforcing through cherry picked images(I'm looking at you anonymous coward).

    In a completely unrelated topic, I can't wait to replace my ibook with a Linux laptop(airport extreme + Linux = no wireless).

    PS- I don't hate mac users. I just hate the ones that walk around with a false sense of superiority.

  • by be-fan (61476) on Monday October 31, 2005 @04:18AM (#13913363)
    I never liked the Macs and their frilly user interface. Being a Unix geek, I just wanted a set of Unix-like (or better tools).

    You know, I'm the same way. However, I recently bought a PowerMac, and it really is a wonderful machine. A lot of the standard UNIX apps are even better on OS X than on Linux. Emacs, in particular, is miles ahead, supporting an interface that actually blends in with the Aqua UI, and sports anti-aliased fonts and a Mac-style top menubar. The only caveat is that the default terminal app could be a little bit better.
  • by putko (753330) on Monday October 31, 2005 @05:01AM (#13913453) Homepage Journal
    Thanks very much for the explanation of their technical decisions!

    It is interesting to hear that a bunch of the Mach guys thought like Unix geeks -- somehow they Mac-juju didn't stick to them permanently (if it ever did). I just assumed they'd all drunk Steve Job's Kool Aid. Now I'm old enough to figure that he probably told them, "my way or the highway," and they chose to keep their job and do it his way.

    I can imagine that they wanted a cleaner approach to files (that would map to Mach better), and then a layer of "resource info" on top of it -- that way Unix-style stuff could co-exist with Mac-style stuff. But even if it started that way, there were probably good reasons to junk it and muddle things.

    I'm surprised that they've still got the resource stuff in there -- in the form of "/rsrc". But I guess you can't break all the old apps that need it.

    Thanks again for the info -- it is interesting to hear your take on Quicktime.

  • Re:Flipsides (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Bloke down the pub (861787) on Monday October 31, 2005 @05:44AM (#13913561)
    So? What's wrong with taking pride in the company you work for?
    In moderation, nothing. But taken to extremes it gets a bit too close to a cult mentality.
  • As someone typing right now on a Mac, there's some truth to what you say -- it's marketed for conspicuous consumption. But honestly, much of computing has been pushed in similar ways; understandably, computer companies try to market tech fetishism. Anyway, is Gnu/Linux badly-supported on your iBook?
  • by shmlco (594907) on Monday October 31, 2005 @06:06AM (#13913615) Homepage
    As far as the public is concerned, Apple and the Mac "introduced" them to the first inexpensive window/mouse personal computer. The first such system designed for the masses.

    Lisa came a couple of years earlier, but at $10K was aimed at the corporate market. At $16K (about a $100K for a complete network) the Xerox Star (1981) was aimed even higher, and only a relative handful were ever produced and sold.

    It's also fair to say that Apple also "introduced" the public to WYSIWYG, the laser printer (LaserWriter), desktop publishing (through Adobe's Pagemaker), and the home network (AppleTalk/LocalTalk).

    BTW, Pagemaker and the LaserWriter never get nearly enough credit for the Mac's success. Together, the three created a "VisiCalc" killer application synergy that none could ever achieved on their own.

  • by FishandChips (695645) on Monday October 31, 2005 @06:38AM (#13913689) Journal
    The Good Steve / Bad Steve gig has been around for a long time. It's hardly original and anyway is a very reductive way of looking at something as complex as a human being. If this is all legendary journo Lunchtime O'Booze, sorry Alan Deutschmann, can manage then he's not really worth spending time on, imho.

    Much more interesting is the address Steve Jobs gave at Stanford earlier this year - see http://news-service.stanford.edu/news/2005/june15/ jobs-061505.html [stanford.edu]. There are plenty of luminaries and big-shot businessmen in the IT world but it's hard to imagine them coming up with an address like this. Being told you have terminal cancer is something we'd all pray to be spared, and the way Steve Jobs came through it suggests to me he's a very special person.

    Just my 2 cents. I'm not an Apple user, either.
  • by hkmwbz (531650) on Monday October 31, 2005 @07:00AM (#13913772) Journal
    Your comment seems to be rather illogical and self-contradictory.
    "Apple needs Microsoft to justify their existence, but Microsoft doesn't."
    "On the other hand, if MS disappears (highly unlikely), who will Apple fans point to as the average, price conscious user"
    Why does Apple need Microsoft to justify their existence? If Microsoft didn't exist, then Apple would either be huge, and doing just fine, or they would be competing with someone else, and still doing just fine. Apple doesn't need Microsoft to create decent products. That competition leeds to better products doesn't mean that Microsoft has to be that competition.
    "And that's why I can't "buy" into Apple and the Mac platform. I just want to get work done--not show off. I'm not saying OS X is a bad product--far from it. It just seems like owning a Apple product turns people into RDFed Steve fans. That's not what I want to be, sorry."
    This doesn't make sense at all. You are basically saying that you don't want to use Mac, not because of what the Mac is like, but because of the people using it?

    If the problem with Mac, in your opinion, is that Apple fanboys are annoying, then say so. I fail to see what Apple fanboys have to do with what you can get done with a Mac. The way you are doing this now is just being dishonest about the real reason for not using a Mac.

    No, really. What do rabid Apple fanboys have to do with the actual products?

  • by fmaxwell (249001) on Monday October 31, 2005 @07:49AM (#13913930) Homepage Journal
    This Apple worshipping has gone a bit too far...

    Here are listed most valuable brands in 2005. Apple is on 41. place. Following technology companies are before Apple in the list:


    That list is largely based on profit and size. It's not a list of companies that are visionary.

    Apple has consistently been a visionary company. They introduced the Apple II as a completely assembled computer when the majority of the market was for S100 bus systems assembled from a hodge-podge of boards -- for which the owner had to create his own BIOS. They introduced the GUI and mouse into mainstream computers back when Microsoft thought that MS-DOS was the right direction to go. Their products have been displayed at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

    Go into any store and look at a modern iPod. Compare it to the offerings from Creative Labs, Philips, Samsung, Toshiba, and the others and you'll be amazed. It's like you're looking at a product from the future when you first see the iPod. It's less than half the size of similar capacity competing models, more elegantly designed, and has an intuitive user interface.

    Lest anyone label me an "Apple fanboy," I have owned exactly one Apple product in the 20+ years that I've been in the technology industry: An iPod with video. I hated the Apple II when it came out. To me, it signaled the end of computers as a hobby just for the intellectually gifted and, instead, was a pre-built toy for the unwashed masses. I hated the Macintosh. I hated the MacOS. But my personal dislike of them doesn't change the fact that they were visionary products.
  • by jeffehobbs (419930) on Monday October 31, 2005 @08:21AM (#13914017) Homepage

    We are in violent agreement; if you were into killing mass quantities of people as efficiently and as cheaply as possible, then all those examples you cited would indeed be "diabolically clever". With this phrase we are not judging the *morality* of the cleverness, but instead merely saying that when paired with the word "clever", "diabolically" gains a appreciatively positive context.

    ~jeff
  • "PS- I don't hate mac users. I just hate the ones that walk around with a false sense of superiority."

    Much like someone that would give up a perfectly good machine for one that is running an OS that is considered experimental at best on Laptops just for the cache it provides them?

    You mean those kinda people?

    I use Linux all the time...hell, I use it to run several servers for my business based around supporting Apple's pro line for the beautiful folk (well, so they say, the fuckers I deal with are as ugly as they get :-)
  • by LS (57954) on Monday October 31, 2005 @09:47AM (#13914472) Homepage
    Come now, these perks are not in order at the public's expense. They can walk a few feet, it would be good for their health, and it would prevent problems in case the building ACTUALLY DID catch on fire. This is besides the fact that it pisses everyone off that they believe themselves somehow superior to the rest of the public. They can get all the perks they want on Apple and Oracle private property. The city is not their property, sorry.

    LS
  • by ChrisF79 (829953) on Monday October 31, 2005 @09:48AM (#13914475) Homepage
    I liked the quote, "Suggest something he disagrees with - such as that there might be demand for an FM tuner in the iPod - and he'll respond with the unprovable 'People don't want that.'"

    It just struck me as funny because I've heard quite a few friends mention that they want an FM tuner in their iPod, and I've seen it come up in comments on the iPod here on /. Perhaps the population that wants it is relatively small compared to the larger user base, but I wouldn't think he'd just shrug it off so aloofly. Granted, Jobs knows far more about his users than I do, but it still seems unusual to me for him to make that sort of statement.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 31, 2005 @09:55AM (#13914521)
    And the biggest reason why Jobs is not a visionary is that Apple had the opportunity to win the PC market ... they could easily have been Microsoft+Dell+HP(personal computing) all rolled into one, but Jobs f***ed it all up. Sorry he is no visionary.

    Care to elaborate on this claim? At which point did Jobs/Apple have the opportunity to unseat IBM and the clone market? AppleII? Mac? What could he have done differently to convince business' in the early 80's that the Mac was more appropriate than the stalwart PC? Please explain.

    Plus, being a visionary isn't necessarily inventing new things, but it's often understanding which new things will have impact and importance. Steve might not invent it, but he's less likely than many other so called visionaries to pass on it. Oh, and the point about his take on the internet wasn't simply postulating that it would be huge, it was that he actually nailed HOW it would be huge. He understood the tool and it's potential applications (again, understanding problems and how technology might solve them, vs simply guessing that the internet is "cool" and so bound to eventually take off (solution looking for a problem)).

    BTW, I don't think the article was misleading at all, maybe because I know the history, so the word "introduce" was quite appropriate.
  • by LocoMan (744414) on Monday October 31, 2005 @09:56AM (#13914527) Homepage
    Lilo and Stitch (80 millions budget, made 145 millions in the USA) and I think Brother Bear too (don't have numbers at hand, but I remember hearing that it broke even in the US but made a nice profit worldwide and is popular on video). But of course, Eisner couldn't have movies that broke the standards by actually making a profit, so he shut down the Orlando animation facility after those.
  • by niktemadur (793971) on Monday October 31, 2005 @11:03AM (#13914989)
    I really don't understand why people love or hate Steve Jobs.

    Yeah, I asked myself the same question while scanning through the thread.

    It's quite simple, I believe. Steve Jobs is a prominent public figure, and as such will be subjected during his lifetime to visceral (as opposed to rational) reactions from thousands or millions of people, in both positive and negative ways. Run down the list and you will find that this is generally the case, from Jesus of Nazareth to John Lennon, Bill Gates to Bill Clinton, Martin Luther King to Mahatma Ghandi.

    Once dead, however, public figures are almost canonized in public folklore, society in general subconsciously responds with a little axiom in the back of the collective mind: "Do not speak ill of the dead". Hell, even Richard Nixon's reputation has been reevaluated since his death (he did some pretty good things: started the Environmental Protection Agency, opened the doors to China, etc).

    The essence of your question, I guess, would be: What the hell are we afraid of?
    Why the human mass divides and polarizes itself into separate herds through ideologies, disregarding or ridiculing the positive aspects of opposing stances or figureheads, while augmenting the flaws. Quite a stupid reflex, really, because as time passes, the edges blur, the differences dissipate, and we have all wasted an incredible amount of energy.
    There are exceptions, of course, but while a few individuals may be universally hated, no individual is universally beloved.

    Most of the haters seem to act as if Jobs personally took the time to kick their puppy. On the other hand, the people that love him don't seem to understand that he has serious personality flaws, and that he's just human.

    Just human, like the anonymous rest of us, but we're looking at the guy through a warped magnifying glass, and never forget that many people resent his Ferrari, his Lear Jet, and most of all, the swooning hero-worship he receives from some circles.
  • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Monday October 31, 2005 @11:24AM (#13915146) Homepage
    Apple needs Microsoft to justify their existence, but Microsoft doesn't.

    Huh? So if Microsoft didn't exist, Apple would be out of business? I think, more likely, they'd be huge.

    Mac is a niche platform and they will continue for support Office for Mac until they see Mac as a real threat.

    That's a concern among Mac users, but it's not as clear cut as that. First of all, failure to open Office file formats in addition to failure to produce a version of office for any other platform would probably land Microsoft in some more anti-trust hot water. Additionally, Microsoft really has *two* cash-cow monopolies. Office doesn't just prop up Windows, it's a big deal in its own right. If Apple grew to the point of being a real threat, Microsoft would probably be hesitant to lose that market for their Office suite. The more threatened Windows is, the more Microsoft needs to ensure the viability of Office in order to survive.

    Apple's merits and "you-get-what-you-pay for" philosophy only make sense with an alternative such as MS that works but isn't sexy or stylish.

    Again, huh? Are you implying that Microsoft products are cheap? The retail price of Windows XP is $300 [bestbuy.com].

    It just seems like owning a Apple product turns people into RDFed Steve fans.

    So, essentially, you don't want to buy an Apple machine because you're afraid that you'll like it so much it'll turn you into a fan of Apple products?

  • by abb3w (696381) on Monday October 31, 2005 @12:32PM (#13915705) Journal
    Their insistence on the "resource" fork always struck me as idiotic: data is data. If it is in a file, it is a bunch of bytes (or even blocks of bytes) -- no need to have separate "meta" information.

    It's not much stupider than using a three-char postfixed extension to describe whether a file is a word processing document, executable application, picture, spreadsheet, or binary random data for one-time-pad encryption.

    Having messed around on Mac, PC, and Linux, I felt the real weakness of the resource forks was how Apple did not have a good metaphor for translating the resource fork back and forth to filesystems like FAT not so equipped. As proof of that, OS9 and OSX use incompatible means of solving that problem. That Apple has a M$Office grade self-compatibility problem is indicative of how big a kludge the implementation was.

    The current method, prefixing resource fork file names with ._ to indicate them, is progress. I still don't think Apple has everything right, however; when creating such files on a FAT/FAT32 disk, OS X really should set the "hidden" attribute as well. I regularly have to help Mac users in a panic, thinking their pen-drive stored presentation won't open on a PC... because they selected the resource fork ._Presentation.PPT file rather than the Presentation.PPT file proper. If I had been given a 0.1% raise every time I explained that this was the solution, and an 1% raise every time I had to repeat this to a Mac user who had forgotten that this was the problem, I'd be able to retire at the end of April.

  • by aluminumcube (542280) * <greg@elysi o n . com> on Monday October 31, 2005 @12:49PM (#13915871)
    I think one of the problems that Jobs has as an innovator is recognizing how his own innovations (or the ones he managed the creation of more accurately) actually change the market. What is considered simple and easy with computers today is far different then what was considered simple and easy 20 years ago because so many people utilize a computer every day, gain experience and their perceptions change.

    When the iPod and the iTunes music store came out, it made the whole Mp3 revolution slick and accessible to people. Now that we have something like 4 years of iPods under our belt, people are more comfortable with the technology and so they are beginning to demand different features such as FM receivers or wireless earphones. The market has advanced and I think fundamental innovators like Steve have a difficult time recognizing smaller scale market changes. I think we see a lot of that in the design of OS X.

    I do think the Video iPod will generally be a failure and I think Steve knows it too. Notice how the video iPod isn't a "special" model? It was simply a feature added to the higher end side of the iPod lineup, thus insulating the concept from risk. If the video iPods were separate products, it would be noted when/if they began to fail on the market and it would be trackable and perceivable. As it stands, the ability to play video is just a tacked on feature added to an already successful product; it can stay that way until video begins to gain market traction at which point, products tuned more towards video (bigger screens for example) can be produced. People are putting the video player cart in front of the content availability horse.

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