How Steve Jobs reacted when one of his top lieutenants joined Palm

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Breaking news -- Steve Jobs didn't like people joining companies he perceived as being subpar. Photo: Ben Stanfield/Flickr CC

Sure, Steve Jobs might not have been quite the one-man-temper-tantrum he was portrayed as for much of Walter Isaacson’s 2011 biography, but he still wasn’t someone you wanted to get on the wrong side of.

According to authors Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli in their new book Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader, Jobs flipped out after former Apple exec Jon Rubinstein decided to join Palm in 2007: never again speaking with a person he had been close to for years.

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Rubinstein first began working for Jobs at NeXT in 1990, and rejoined Apple when Steve came back to assume control.

Photo: AllThingsD
Jon Rubinstein after leaving Apple. Photo: AllThingsD

As Apple’s head of hardware, he was one of the people who convinced Jony Ive to stay after Ive had a crisis of faith: offering him a payrise and confirmation about how seriously Jobs took design. He also played a key role in the iMac and the iPod — being the executive who persuaded Jobs to buy the 1.8-inch hard drive, capable of storing five gigs of music, which helped bring the latter device to market.

Ruby retired from his role as senior vice president of Apple’s iPod division on 2006. One year later he sent Jobs a friendly email to say that he had been hired by Palm Computing as its new CEO. According to Becoming Steve Jobs, Rubinstein received a phone call from Apple’s CEO within around four seconds of hitting “send.”

“He couldn’t understand,” Rubinstein told the book’s authors. “He said, ‘You’ve got plenty of money, why are you going to Palm?’ I’m like, ‘Steve, what are you talking about? I mean, you’ve got orders of magnitude more money than I have and you’re asking me? Are you joking?”

Despite the fact that Ruby was no longer at Apple, the move was apparently like “treason” to Jobs and the two never talked again; something Rubinstein previously alluded to in a 2010 interview with TechCrunch when he quipped that, “I’m definitely off the Christmas list” as far as Steve was concerned.

Then again, it doesn’t sound like it was entirely Jobs’ decision. For years after he left Apple, Rubinstein made snipes at his former company like claiming in a 2010 interview at CES that he had “never even used an iPhone,” despite the device’s critical and commercial dominance.

Via: Business Insider