Jobs' book of Revelations: Apple was only months from the abyss in 1997

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Jobs' book of Revelations: Apple was only months from the abyss in 1997

Jobs has revealed the company was a mere 90 days from bankruptcy in 1997 when the board asked him to retake the reins

Apple's mercurial master Steve Jobs made a series of revelations during his appearance at the Wall Street Journal's D:All Things Digital conference in California this week, including the fact that the company was a mere 90 days from bankruptcy in 1997 when the board asked him to retake the reins.

Shortly afterwards Jobs joined the elite, and possibly single-member-club, of people to have been fired and then rehired by their own company.

Surpassing Microsoft "surreal"
At the time Microsoft famously threw Apple a US$150 million lifeline, a gesture which was thrown into almost comical relief last week when a spike in Apple's share price saw it surge past Microsoft to become the world's biggest technology company - and second overall - by market capitalisation. Asked how he felt about that Jobs replied "surreal".

iPad was ready in 2007
Other revelations included the fact that the wildly popular iPad was ready for release as far back as 2007 when it was mothballed while Apple executed its virtual annexation of the mobile market with the iPhone. Not that he could have any regrets with sales of the iPad now past 2 million just 60 days after its launch, and several industries recalibrating their business strategies around the device

But with great power comes great responsibility and it appears that the trade-off for Jobs having well and truly assumed the role as tech-and-media-industry svengali is greatly increased scrutiny of his actions.

Jobs the Statesman
Last month he took the time to draft a lengthy open letter to Mac users and the wider industry explaining in great detail his reasons for booting Adobe products off the iPhone and iPad app stores. For a man whose sudden and inexplicable mood swings are the stuff of legend, this gesture seemed to suggest that a more considered, even statesman-like, Steve Jobs had finally arrived. And, worryingly for Adobe, it seemed to lend even more weight to his decision.

Jobs on Google
But of course Jobs has far bigger fish to fry, and that fish is called Google.

The decision of the search engine giant to go after the exploding mobile and mobile apps space represents probably the biggest competitive challenge to Apple in its entire history.

However, when pressed to comment on the fact this week, Jobs merely reiterated his view that while Google is trying to compete with Apple, Apple is not trying to compete with Google.

While that might be true, even Jobs must be starting to wonder whether taking a passive stance is the best way to deal with a very real threat from the fastest growing, and arguably one of the smartest, technology companies of all time.

On the other hand though, Jobs - unlike his younger rivals - knows what it's like to reach and then return from the abyss.

 

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