Steve Jobs Biography: What Might Have Been

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As someone who has been following Apple rumors both casually and professionally over the past couple of decades, Steve Jobs' biography reveals a number of intriguing forks in the road that may have led the entire company down a different path.

As far back as 1982, Macintosh Marketing Director Mike Murray proposed a Mac OS licensing program to Steve Jobs. Remember, the Mac didn't officially debut until 1984, so the idea was floated very early in development. Murray specifically suggested that Apple could license to Tandy since Radio Shack stores targeted a different market than Apple. Apple has been criticized over the years for not licensing their Mac operating system. Apple did briefly allow certain manufacturers to create Mac clones and license Mac OS, but Steve Jobs put an end to that shortly after his return to Apple in the late 90s.

While it seems a given that the iPod was to be made compatible with Windows, Jobs was very resistant to the idea. At one point he said that Windows users would get to use the iPod "over my dead body". After continued convincing, Jobs gave up:

"Screw it," he said at one meeting where they showed him the analysis. "I'm sick of listening to you assholes. Go do whatever the hell you want."

Apple even considered writing an iTunes music client for Android, but Jobs didn't see the point.

"We thought about whether we should do a music client for Android," Jobs told me over breakfast the next morning. "We put iTunes on Windows in order to sell more iPods. But I don't see an advantage of putting our music app on Android, except to make Android users happy. And I don't want to make Android users happy."

For those who were following Apple rumors in the late 90s, there was a lot of talk about "network computers". In particular, Oracle's Larry Ellison was a big proponent of the idea, and spoke publicly about it. Persistent rumors suggested that Apple was going to try to build such a machine. It turns out that the iMac was originally planned to be such a network computer, which was basically an inexpensive terminal that would be used to connect to the internet.

Finally, when Apple was at a crossroads in the late 90s and deciding between moving Mac OS to a new architecture, then Apple CEO Gil Amelio actually favored using Microsoft's Windows NT as the basis for the next generation Mac OS. Of course, instead, Apple purchased NeXT, bringing Steve Jobs back to Apple.

Top Rated Comments

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Avatar
116 months ago

Why?

It's a seamless experience…


Exactly the reason why. They are not used to seamless things.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
116 months ago



Apple may have lots of bright people working for them but it seems there are/were some stupid fools. Window NT based iMac? I'll buy it just so I can burn it in my backyard. Ugh....


I don't think you'll find many who will defend Amelio.

arn
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
116 months ago
This is insanely hilarious:

I don't see an advantage of putting our music app on Android, except to make Android users happy. And I don't want to make Android users happy.

:D

----------

Google Search is on the iPhone because Google makes money through the ads.

Putting iTunes on Android would do nothing. Apple does not gain any sales from doing so.


Apple could gain sales of music; but clearly a drop in the ocean of Apple's revenue.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
116 months ago

I could have sworn that Apple sold music, movies and more through itunes, damn...

Recent surveys have also concluded that iOS users spend more money online than Android users. So just one more reason to avoid the cheapies. It would do nothing significant for Apple.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
116 months ago

I could have sworn that Apple sold music, movies and more through itunes, damn...


But then that detracts from their hardware sales which have much larger margins.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
116 months ago
I'll save money on the book and just read the best bits here.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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