Steve Jobs Showed Super Class by Not Turning Page Away
One of the many tidbits pulled early out of Walter Isaccson's authorized biography of Steve Jobs, titled "Steve Jobs," is that Google CEO Larry Page sought Jobs' advice earlier this year before taking back the CEO reins in April.
Jobs originally wanted to blow Page off, seeing as how he felt Google betrayed him in launching Android. Who could blame him?
It's a great story. A few years ago, Jobs had then Google CEO Eric Schmidt on Apple's board. Then Google pops out with Android and HTC launches distinctly iPhone-like Android handsets in 2008 and 2009.
Jobs apparently vowed to Isaccson that he would go "thermonuclear war" on Android. But he didn't do that with Page. Rather than appear petty and exhibit the grudge he held, he remembered that Bill Hewlett guided him as a young buck and agreed to speak to Page.
I've never been a fan of Jobs and Apple's Us Against the Industry position, his sanctimonious dismissal of Adobe Flash and Draconian App Store rules, but Bloomberg noted Isacccson's quoting Jobs as having told Page in his living room:
I described the blocking and tackling he would have to do to keep the company from getting flabby or being larded with B players. Figure out what Google wants to be when it grows up. It's now all over the map. What are the five products you want to focus on? Get rid of the rest, because they're dragging you down. They're turning you into Microsoft.
That's sound advice. Page shuttered more than 20 Google products and services since that chat.
Here is Jobs, knowing that he dying from a horrible disease and he chose to give advice to one of his hated rivals. Maybe Jobs could be a prick to some folks, but he showed super class in this instance.
Or did he? Isaacson also shared some audio tapes of walks and talks he had with Jobs with "60 Minutes." Here's one good clip that sheds light on how Jobs really viewed Microsoft and Google:
Which makes me think. Maybe Jobs wasn't being as kind to Page as I originally thought.
If he truly believes Google, like Microsoft, doesn't "get it" because it's a technology company that lacks the liberal arts and humanities component, then how threatened can Apple's future be by Google?
Jobs may have felt that he could do more good for Google then he could do harm for Apple in agreeing to chat with Page.
But his motivation for speaking to Page doesn't matter here. Just agreeing to host him at home for guidance showed great class that should be applauded.