Jobs Gets Chance to Tell His Own Story

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-02-16 Print this article Print

5. Apple's lean years

You can bet that one of the most important stories to be told in Jobs' biography is Apple's troubles during his absence from the company. During the reign of other CEOs, Apple was financially crippled. The company was well on its way to one of two fates: closure or being sold off to the highest bidder. Worst of all, Apple was investing in several products, including the Newton, that caused it to lose its focus and the loyalty of its following. Whether or not Jobs could have helped Apple during those years is up for debate. But he would surely like the world to believe that without him, Apple had little chance of surviving.

6. His triumphant return

Upon his return, Steve Jobs changed Apple. He not only watched as Apple's board of directors ousted then-CEO Gil Amelio in a board-room coup to make him interim CEO, he discontinued the Newton and CyberDog, among several other projects Apple was working on. He also realized that if Apple would be successful again, it would need to establish a competitive advantage. That advantage came by way of NeXTSTEP, an operating system designed by the company he founded during his absence from Apple, NeXT Computer. NeXTSTEP eventually became the basis for Mac OS X. And today, it's one of the main reasons why Apple computers sell so well.

7. The iMac

The iMac is easily one of the most important products Jobs ever released. When the iMac hit store shelves, Apple was doing somewhat better than it was under other leadership, but things still weren't going well. The iMac sold extremely well, thanks to its unique design and that it ran an operating system that was only available on Apple computers. It was the company's first step back into the market. And its influence is still felt today.

8. The iPod

No other product Apple released in the past decade has meant more to the company than the iPod. The company's music player substantially increased its revenue. And by integrating the iPod with iTunes, Jobs was able to revolutionize both the personal-music space and the entire music industry. That's a story he wants everyone to remember.

9. The iPhone

Similar to the iPod, the iPhone revolutionized the industry it competes in. When Jobs announced it on stage in 2007, it changed everything. Not only did it push the mobile-phone industry forward, it ensured that every other company in the space would be forced to catch up. Almost three years later, no company has. That is a testament to Jobs and his vision. It also underlies his desire to set the standard in an industry, rather than follow the leaders. Unfortunately, Jobs wants everyone to know about that desire.

10. The iPad

If an authorized Jobs biography hits store shelves, it will be a marketing ploy. Not only will it provide a stellar view of Jobs' life, it would also shed Apple in the best light possible. That's precisely why Jobs will want to highlight the iPad. His company's tablet device is a major question mark at this point. It lacks multitasking, it won't run standard iPhone apps in full-screen, and its Web-browsing capabilities will be hobbled, due to no Flash support. In other words, it might not be the success Jobs hopes it will be. And he will need to exploit every avenue of marketing to help it. An authorized biography might be a good place to start.

11. Personal health issues

 During the past several years, Jobs has had to deal with poor health and a prolonged brush with mortality as a result of pancreatic cancer that was first diagnosed in mid-2004. In April 2009, Jobs received what was described in press reports as a successful liver transplant. But during that period he tried hard to keep those issues out of the headlines. This book might just be his chance to set the record straight. He can say what he wants about his health and provide the exact account of what happened. Considering what he has been through. Jobs has likely decided that now is the best time to tell his story in an authorized biography before it's too late.

Jobs' biography might reveal any number of interesting stories that either have never been told or poorly told. However, if he has his way, the focus will likely be on his triumphs. That seems to be who Jobs is and what Apple is all about.


Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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