August 26, 1991: In their first joint interview, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates trade barbs and debate “the future of the PC” in Fortune magazine.
The spirited discussion marks 10 years since the first IBM PC shipped. The piece also looks at what the future holds for both men — described as the former “boy wonders of computing, now thirtysomething.”
New biography Becoming Steve Jobs attempts to answer an important question: What happened to Steve Jobs during his wilderness years outside Apple that turned him from a gifted-but-impossible-to-work-with youngster into the seasoned digital emperor he would be following his return to the company he founded?
It’s a question that’s crucial to understanding Apple’s rise back to prominence from the late 1990s onward — but one that was ignored by previous Jobs’ biographer Walter Isaacson, whose 2011 book Steve Jobs sold a gajillion copies, but is now (perhaps unfairly) being recast as an unqualified failure.
In Isaacson’s book, these crucial years away from Apple take up just five chapters out of 42 — and that section also includes Jobs’ marriage to Laurene Powell and the birth of his children. In Becoming Steve Jobs, the lessons from that era permeate almost every page.
You may have suspected that the new biography Becoming Steve Jobs had Apple’s official endorsement the moment it was revealed that Jony Ive, Tim Cook, Eddy Cue, Pixar’s John Lasseter and Jobs’ widow, Laurene Powell Jobs, offered their participation.
However, with just one day to go until the book’s release, the word is now officially out: This is Apple’s sanctioned version of the Steve Jobs story.
“After a long period of reflection following Steve’s death, we felt a sense of responsibility to say more about the Steve we knew,” Apple spokesman Steve Dowling said. “We decided to participate in [the] book because of [author Brent Schlender’s] long relationship with Steve, which gave him a unique perspective on Steve’s life. The book captures Steve better than anything else we’ve seen, and we are happy we decided to participate.”
I can’t wait to read Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader. The upcoming biography, by veteran reporters Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli, promises to be the definitive telling of Steve Jobs’ life.
The writers scored interviews with major players including Tim Cook, Jony Ive, Eddy Cue, Pixar’s John Lasseter, Disney CEO Bob Iger and Jobs’ widow, Laurene Powell Jobs. The result is a book loaded with interesting anecdotes and insights about the former Apple CEO.
I haven’t yet read the whole thing (it comes out March 24), but while pre-ordering my copy on Amazon, I could initially access a significant portion of the biography through the site’s “Look Inside the Book” feature. (Amazon later blocked out far more of the book’s contents.)
From what I’ve seen, some of the stories are pretty sensational — providing new details into the close relationship between Jobs and Cook, revealing Jobs’ secret plan to buy Yahoo!, and much more.
Want a few of the highlights? Check them out below.
Brent Schlender has worked for a number of publications over the years, and has served in positions like lead technology reporter for the Wall Street Journal. Now serving as a contributor for Fortune, Schlender has covered Steve Jobs for the past 25 years on numerous occasions.
In a recent article on Fortune, Schlender tells of “chapters in his [Jobs’s] story I was never able to tell, either because they would violate a personal confidence or because what I had learned didn’t really fit into a typical analytical business story.”
Some particularly fond memories of Jobs are included in Schlender’s anecdotes, including Jobs’s plan to ‘fix’ AOL in 2003, the time he previewed the original Toy Story to a group of kids, and when he decided to take extended medical leave from Apple in 2008.