Apple CEO Steve Jobs' FBI file, compiled in 1991 as part of a background check, contains no surprises for anyone who knew his history.
The contents of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs FBI file
is out in public view
, and reveals absolutely nothing startling to those
who read Walter Isaacsons recent biography.
In 1991, the FBI conducted a background check on Jobs at the
request of the White House, which was considering him for a political
appointment. The final report features interviews with more than 35 people who
Before his death in October 2011, Jobs was alternately
praised as a groundbreaking chief executive with an outsized influence on the
tech industry, and condemned by some for a reportedly take-no-prisoners
management style. The FBIs research reinforces both those views: interview
subjects (their names uniformly redacted) refer to him as industrious and
dedicated to his work, while also citing his behavior as, in the words of one,
In one much-quoted section of the report, an unnamed source
characterizes Jobs as a deceptive individual who is not completely forthright
and honest, as well as one who will twist the truth and distort reality in
order to achieve his goals. That same source alluded to reports of drug use by
Jobs during college.
Nonetheless, the unnamed sources quoted throughout the
report generally seem to recommend Jobs for a position of trust and
confidence within the federal government. Several allude to his work ethic,
including two individuals who stated that [Jobs] is strongwilled [sic],
stubborn, hardworking and driven.
Isaacsons biographywhich quickly became a bestseller after
its release in late 2011painted a complicated portrait of Jobs as someone more
than capable of shredding those who displeased him, while also displaying
flashes of empathy. I was hard on people sometimes, probably harder than I
needed to be, hes quoted as saying near the end of the book. But somebodys
got to do it.
Isaacson quotes a number of figures throughout the biography
who discuss their relationship with Jobsproduct designer Jonathan Ive and his slightly
spurned take on Jobs fame is particularly fascinatingbut few offer startling
insight beyond the personality already well-established in the public
Despite Jobs passing, Apple continues to bear the imprint
of his long reign: given the long development processes at tech companies, the
next iPad and iPhone (reportedly due later in 2012) were almost certainly
developed under his watch.
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