With its massive on-hand cash pile, Apple could easily be mistaken for a bank disguised as a tech firm. Modern hedge funds, on the other hand, are increasingly tech firms disguised as banks.
Which is one reason it kind of makes sense why one of Steve Jobs’ most trusted former lieutenants, ex-Apple exec Jon Rubinstein, has just been announced as the new co-CEO of Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund — with a massive $169 billion in assets.
That’s an amount that would even make Apple sit up and pay attention!
For the last 18 years — since Steve Jobs returned to the company in 1997 — most of them have come out of Apple’s Industrial Design studio, a small and secretive group of creatives headed up by celebrated British designer Sir Jony Ive.
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.
One of the interesting tidbits to emerge from testimony during Oracle panent infringment trial against Google is that Oracle had considered producing its own smartphone and buying either RIM or Palm. The testimony came from Oracle chief Larry Ellison, who was a close personal friend of Steve Jobs. Ellison is, in fact, quoted as describing their relationship as “best friends” in Walter Isaacson’s biography of Jobs.
The news raises some interesting questions – not the least of which are whether Jobs knew of the plan and what impact Oracle jumping into the smartphone game against the iPhone might have had on their friendship. Jobs was obsessed with the idea that Google and its former CEO Eric Schmidt (also a former Apple board member) had ripped off Apple’s iOS design work in creating Android.