Walter Isaacson discusses Apple and Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs biographer Walter Isaacson delivered a lecture at the Royal Institution in London on Wednesday evening

By Karen Haslam, Macworld U.K. |  Business, Apple, Steve Jobs

As for the management team at Apple, Highfield asks if Isaacson they will be relieved now that Jobs is gone. Isaacson points out that everyone on the original Macintosh team said they wouldn't have given up the chance to be with him. "And as he said to me: 'If I were really an arse hole, people wouldn't have stayed around. 14 years I've been back at Apple and it's been an incredibly loyal team of the very best, like Jony Ive, Tim Cook, Phil Schiller, Scott Forstall, Eddy Cue. These people could all have got other jobs running companies. But nobody left.'"

"Was he great to every single person he worked with, no he was not the sweetest boss, but he had the most loyal team that wouldn't have left him for the world. All these sweet bosses you hear about, like Hewlett Packard, people are fleeing like crazy when they get a job! But with Steve they stuck with him."

Discussing the admiration Tim Cook has received since taking over as CEO (apparently he has a 97 per cent approval rating from Apple's workforce, according to a survey conducted by job search site Glassdoor.com), Isaacson joked that Steve Jobs would never win a popularity competition.

"There is no one person who can replicate Steve Jobs, but there is a great team that he left behind. There is Jony Ive who is the great designer and visionary artist, Tim Cook is great. I think it's a team that will serve Apple well."

Highfield goes on to criticise some elements of Apple and Jobs, the lack of philanthropy, concerns about working conditions in China, the green issues. In response Isaacson suggests we should give Tim Cook credit: "Steve never went to China, he wouldn't focus on the working conditions at Foxconn, he focused on what he wanted to do. Tim Cook goes there, talks to them, says change your ways. So the good thing about Tim Cook is he doesn't wake up every morning and say: 'What would Steve have done'."

Regarding Google, and going thermoneuclear

To explain the significance of the current dispute with Google, Isaacson told the story of how Microsoft stole Apple's graphical user interface back in the 1980s. Apple believed in the closed system, where you control the hardware to go with the software. Bill Gates takes the graphical user interface and that infuriates Steve. But what really infuriates him is he then licenses it out promiscuously, to Dell and Compac, and IBM, and all these other companies. Microsoft ended up being dominant."

"Jobs does the integrated system again, iPod, iPad, and it works, but what happens? Google rips it off. It's almost copied verbatim by Android. And then they licence it around promiscuously. And then Android starts surpassing Apple in market share, and this totally infuriated him. As he said, it wasn't a matter of money. He said: 'You can't pay me off, I'm here to destroy you'.


Originally published on Macworld U.K. |  Click here to read the original story.
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