Publisher: Century, 1997, 463 pages
Apple Computer, founded as a garage start-up by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak in 1976, was once a shining example of the American success story. The company launched the personal-computer revolution in 1978 with the first all-purpose desktop PC, the Apple II. In 1980, long before technology stocks were popular, Apple's initial public offering was one of the most highly awaited events in Wall Street history. Jobs at twenty-five and "the Woz" at thirty became instant millionaires. Within five years, Apple, with sales of $300 million, catapulted itself into the ranks of the Fortune 500 and became the darling of the national business press. Then came the Macintosh computer, so easy to use, it had a ten-year jump on the industry. Sales peaked at $11 billion in 1995. But by that time, Apple had become a troubled company.
The company's change-the-world idealism had all but disappeared in a bitter internal struggle between warring camps — those backing the flagship Apple II cash cow on one side and those embracing the sexy new Macintosh on the other. Raging internal debates in the executive suite set Apple on a devastating course. Mismanagement and lost opportunity became Apple’s hallmark. John Sculley, the company’s new president and CEO, ousted Jobs in a surprise coup just two years after Jobs brought him into the fold. In turn, Sculley was ousted and replaced by Michael Spindler, who, two and a half years later, lost his place to Gil Amelio, who was pushed out in July 1997, eighteen months after taking his turn at the helm. Today, Apple clings tentatively to a mere 3.7 percent share of the market it helped to create.
This book, written by a Wall Street Journal technology reporter, is the most detailed study to date of the past decade of Apple's turbulent history. Jim Carlton walks us down company corridors, into the boardroom, and through barriers to research laboratories, and reveals a seething cauldron of petty infighting and buried secrets. Through exhaustive interviews with more than 160 former Apple employees, industry experts, and competitors — including Bill Gates, Sculley, and Amelio — Carlton discovers confidential memos, late-night rendezvous, and fateful decisions that forever changed the company's path. He portrays a company very different from the glamorous technology leader that designed computers for "the rest of us" and illuminates what might have been and what really happened to this once-great icon of American business.
An independent story about Apple Corp., more focused on the management drama, that always seem to surround the company.
Sometimes, the events are a bit too fictionalized and the style a bit too familiar, but overall, it gives a believable account on what happened at Apple and why. All Apple-fanatics will of course complain, but that is their choice.
In short, an interesting story about one of the larger PC-companies and how is was managed.