Former Anobit CEO Discusses Acquisition by Apple, Contrasts Cultures of Apple and Intel

anobitJust over a year ago, Apple acquired Israeli flash memory firm Anobit, and now that Anobit founder and CEO Ariel Maislos has left the company to start his next venture he has been able to share some details on his experiences with Apple. ZDNet covers an interview with Maislos at a recent meeting of the Israel Semiconductor Club, an event where Maislos shared details about how the acquisition came about and how Apple's culture compares to that of Intel, another company Anobit had worked closely with.

On the acquisition front, Maislos noted that Anobit wasn't looking for a particular exit for the venture but that an existing relationship with Apple developed to the point where an acquisition made sense for both sides.

"We had already had a close working relationship with Apple," Maislos revealed. "When you are working in the flash memory industry, it's kind of hard not to come across Apple at some point, as a partner or a customer – and they were a very big customer. We developed a very good relationship with them, and a mutual appreciation developed between both companies."

Maislos contrasts the culture and expectations at Apple with those of Intel, which had previously invested $32 million in Anobit during an earlier financing round, noting that Apple's return from the brink of bankruptcy in the late 1990s has instilled expectations of excellence that simply don't exist at Intel.

While Intel engineers are given assignments and are rewarded for ingenuity and creativity, he said, it's a given at Apple that engineers will be at the top of their game. "At Apple, you have to run ahead just to stay in place, and there are very high expectations of everyone. Apple expects everything you do to be amazing.

"That is not the case at Intel, where no one expects you to be 'amazing'," said Maislos, although Intel does reward those who give their "A+ game".

Maislos went on to note that Apple is extremely focused on its goals, demanding much more personal excellence than Intel or perhaps any other tech company.

Maislos is of course not a neutral observer, given the close relationship he has had with Apple and the exit it provided for Anobit's founders, but his comments do provide a small glimpse at how an experienced outsider transitioning from partner to employee views Apple's culture.

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Top Rated Comments

SmileyBlast! Avatar
149 months ago
Just another company for Apple to ruin. Or maybe... miraculously.... it'll be a decent partnership/buyout.
Man why so cynical? Apple ruined your company or something?
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
carmenodie Avatar
149 months ago
All that expectation and all they can do is release the same phone 5 years in a row
KFC has been frying of chicken for over 40 years in a row and that **** is still fingering licking good.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
samcraig Avatar
149 months ago
This is not surprising at all. Steve Jobs instilled a commitment to excellence in Apple and it shows. Doesn't mean everything will always be perfect but compared to their competitors it is quite obvious. Dell, HP, Samsung, Motorola, and the rest of their competitors seem to operate around something quite different.

Yes clearly those other companies you mention don't have any commitment to excellence :rolleyes:
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
thasan Avatar
149 months ago
Just another company for Apple to ruin. Or maybe... miraculously.... it'll be a decent partnership/buyout.

:rolleyes:
And I guessed right. One of the new visitors :rolleyes:
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
newagemac Avatar
149 months ago
This is not surprising at all. Steve Jobs instilled a commitment to excellence in Apple and it shows. Doesn't mean everything will always be perfect but compared to their competitors it is quite obvious. Dell, HP, Samsung, Motorola, and the rest of their competitors seem to operate around something quite different.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SmileyBlast! Avatar
149 months ago
One of my favorite parts of the Jobs biography was the talk about how he didn't want "B team" players at Apple, only A team players. Sounds like they still carry that approach. Not many companies do it that way either, there are always B team players. It's fascinating I think.
I think he also said that the leverage you get from a really good programmer is like 25 times or something.

Sure puts the pressure on people in that field.

Working at Apple must be pretty stressful at times.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)