July 2011 Steve Jobs news roundup

Busy month for me, hopefully Steve Jobs news have been somewhat slow too (apart from last week’s).

Here’s what I put aside for you:

    • July 9: A weird video surfaces from Taiwan. A tea brand shamelessly used an actor to play Steve Jobs and sell bottled tea in a TV commercial. See for yourself:


      (via Cult of Mac)
    • July 8: French magazine Le Point reveals that Steve almost purchased a castle in the South-East of France. Pictured below, the property is valued at around €25m ($36m). Apparently Steve’s wife, Laurene, toured the property herself.
      The article also relates that back in 1985, Jean-Jacques Servan-Schreiber, a French journalist close to President Francois Mitterrand, apparently asked of the head of state a special present to Steve Jobs for his 30th birthday. I’ve read many stories about that famed birthday, where tons of celebrities attended, including Ella Fitzgerald who was the party singer. Anyway, JJSS (as he is often called) reportedly suggested that the French nationality was offered to the Apple co-founder as a special gift. The French President nonchalantly refused. I think Steve would have appreciated the gift, as he has often testified of his love of France (I have made a compilation of the many times he uses France in Apple demos).
      • July 11: a new Tshirt made it to the Apple Gift shop in Cupertino… making fun of the company’s cult of secrecy. I’m buying it next time I go there! (via Macrumors).
      • July 21: John Gruber of Daring Fireball spotted a nice anecdote about Steve and his legendary curtesy. I am quoting the same thing he did:

        The story goes that ESPN president George Bodenheimer attended the first Disney board meeting in Orlando, Florida, just after the company had bought Pixar, the innovative animation factory, and spotted Apple CEO Steve Jobs in a hallway. It seemed like a good time to introduce himself. “I am George Bodenheimer,” he said to Jobs. “I run ESPN.” Jobs just looked at him and said nothing other than “Your phone is the dumbest fucking idea I have ever heard,” then turned and walked away.

      • July 21: Philip Elmer-Dewitt dug out a nice chart that compiles all the public data about Apple’s reiumbursements of the expenses of Steve’s famed private jet airplane. I think it is worth mentioning that Steve can use the jet for his personal use, but then of course the company doesn’t reiumburse him of the cost of operating it. The chart is below:
    • July 23: after all the nonsense we’ve come to read about Steve’s succession lately (which did grant us a new Steve Jobs quote: “it’s hogwash”, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal) — John Gruber wrote a very good article, the kind that only he knows how to write, on the topic: On Succeeding Steve Jobs. His conclusion: “the obvious structure for a post-Jobs Apple is simply Apple as we know it, without Steve Jobs.” I believe he is 100% right and that’s what we will see, perhaps as early as next year. BUT, and it’s a big BUT, I am not sure Tim Cook can keep the fire alive as Steve did for the next decade. And as I’ve stated before, I think he will have trouble running the company unchallenged the way only the genius-founder Steve Jobs can. His authority to run the super-disciplined fruit company will probably be challenged a couple of years after Steve is gone… Time will tell.

Steve Jobs News Round-up

I’ve been pretty busy for the past two weeks, so once again I have to commited the sin of writing a “SJ news round-up” instead of duly posting about each news item separately. Truth to be told, it’s because I’m actively seeking my next internship right now — by the way, if any of you know a tech (or tech-related) company from the Bay Area that would be interested in my profile, please let me know.

BUT to my credit, Steve Jobs news have also been kinda slow lately. As could be foreseen, Steve didn’t show up at the Verizon event… can’t wait for the Daily event with Murdoch that should be coming soon. An iPad 2 event would certainly do, too 🙂

Let’s get on with the news:

Somewhat important – A group of Apple shareholders have suggested that the company prepare a succession plan in case Steve Jobs leaves, a so-called “CEO Succession Planning Policy.”

According to the proposal, which shareholders will consider at Apple’s annual meeting scheduled for Feb. 23, the company’s board would adopt a detailed policy that includes a directive for the board to “identify and develop internal candidates” to succeed Jobs, and “annually produce a report on its succession plan to shareholders.”

FYI Feb. 23 is one day before Steve’s birthday (and mine 🙂 ) I’m sure the response will not surprise you:

Apple said in the filing that it opposes the CEO succession proposal, calling it unnecessary and pointing out that it could lend rivals an advantage by publicizing the company’s plans. In addition, it would “micromanage and constrain the actions of the board,” the company added.

The cult of secrecy has proven quite useful so I kinda have to agree — also I’m one of those who don’t even want to think about the departure of Steve.

(Source)

Remotely interesting – a new email from iSteve:

If it weren’t ironic, Srini could feel flattered to be called a “super salesman” by probably one the world’s best salesmen 😉

I’d like to finish with pieces of news that are kind of outside the usual realm of this blog:

1. The demise of Fake Steve
Here’s an interesting piece by John Gruber criticizing a Dan Lyons article in Newsweek stating that Apple, is ‘too late’ in the smartphones war, and that Android will inevitably win, for the best: Too Late.

For those who don’t know, Dan Lyons is the man behind the once-amazing Fake Steve Jobs blog. I write once-amazing because there’s something tragic about what happened to Fake Steve. I was in such a joy when I found the blog for the first time… it was so funny! I stil love to dig into it or re-read Fake Steve’s novel from time to time, and it never fails to make me laugh.

Yet all this ended in 2008, when Dan decided to stop writing Fake Steve posts and became ‘Real Dan’. His new blog was such a failure that now he’s back to Fake Steve. But it’s not Fake Steve anymore. It’s Real Dan using Fake Steve’s voice for writing boring/mostly wrong stuff about anything but Apple, usually. And when you read Lyons’ articles in Newsweek, it’s no wonder why.

I think it’s a real loss and I secretly hope that one day we’ll see Dan go back to his Fake Steve persona…. thank God there is actually a new funny SJ impersonator, the famed @ceoSteveJobs Twitter account. It’s become so famous that Steve tried to have it shut down. It’s worth checking if you use Twitter.

2. An interesting story from Pixar’s pre-SJ days
I always said I was not running an Apple blog, and once again I prove it by linking to this interesting piece fro Bob Sutton’s blog:
Pixar Lore: The Day Our Bosses Saved Our Jobs

Just a reminder: bob Sutton is the author who called Steve Jobs one of the world’s biggest assholes in his bestseller The No-Asshole Rule. Here he tells a story from the days when Pixar was not called Pixar yet, but was still owned by George Lucas, who desperately tried to sold it. It’s a pretty interesting look on the minds of Pixar’s historical founders, Ed Catmull and Steve’s enemy Alvy Ray Smith. I won’t say more.

Who will succeed to Steve Jobs?

Interesting article I stumbled upon today, from a Jon Korbin on EzineMark.com. It deals with what I think is one of the most controversial issues for Apple in the future: the succession of Steve Jobs.

The 2-part article starts with a highly dithyrambic description of Steve’s role at Apple, one even your fellow webmaster would not dare write. Excerpt:

He has erected temples to Apple’s greatness in major cities around the world whose awesome presence evokes imagery of high priests and virgins surrounded by platinum chalices spilling over with grapes on the vine.

My attention was caught by the following two points in the article — they reflect my two main concerns about a Steve-less Apple. First, the control that only Steve can have a huge corporation like Apple.

His intimidating sense of control has afforded him the kind of command over this ever-growing audience that seldom belongs to individuals who don’t draw their power from Government or God.

The author is referring to Apple fanboys like us. But this is not the issue. The issue is about Apple itself. Continue reading