Apple’s chief technology officer, Ellen Hancock, argued for going with Sun’s
UNIX-based Solaris operating system, even though it did not yet have a friendly
user interface. Amelio began to favor using, of all things, Microsoft’s Windows
NT, which he felt could be rejiggered on the surface to look and feel just like a
Mac while being compatible with the wide range of software available to
Windows users. Bill Gates, eager to make a deal, began personally calling Amelio.
There was, of course, one other option. Two years earlier Macworld magazine
columnist (and former Apple software evangelist) Guy Kawasaki had published a
parody press release joking that Apple was buying NeXT and making Jobs its CEO.
In the spoof Mike Markkula asked Jobs, “Do you want to spend the rest of your life
selling UNIX with a sugarcoating, or change the world?” Jobs responded, “Because I’m
now a father, I needed a steadier source of income.” The release noted that “because
of his experience at Next, he is expected to bring a newfound sense of humility back to
Apple.” It also quoted Bill Gates as saying there would now be more innovations from
Jobs that Microsoft could copy. Everything in the press release was meant as a joke,
of course. But reality has an odd habit of catching up with satire.
Slouching toward Cupertino
“Does anyone know Steve well enough to call him on this?” Amelio asked his staff.
Because his encounter with Jobs two years earlier had ended badly, Amelio didn’t want
to make the call himself. But as it turned out, he didn’t need to. Apple was already
getting incoming pings from NeXT. A midlevel product marketer at NeXT, Garrett Rice,
had simply picked up the phone and, without consulting Jobs, called Ellen Hancock to
see if she might be