My history with Apple Computer is a lengthy one – both in my work and play.
I first wrote about Apple as a reporter at The Chronicle in 1983, just after I joined the paper.
Reporter Gayle Schares and I broke some stories about how John Sculley had orchestrated an ouster of Steve Jobs from the computer startup he had founded.
It was tragic: how the board turned against its founder for a soda pop salesman. (I can’t provide links, because it was before The Chronicle had an Internet database; stories were clipped by hand in the library and stored in envelopes with each reporter’s name on it).
I wrote about Apple for many years at The Chronicle, including how a guy named Gil Amelio was hired to supposedly rescue Apple. As it turned out, Amelio almost ruined the computer maker (though he did land a McMansion on the shores of Lake Tahoe, and it sold for a record price at the time).
Then, when I joined CNET, we broke the news late at night about how Jobs sold his Next Computer to Apple, clearing the way for his comeback. It was a pioneering effort of original reporting on the Internet, later taken for granted – and now a fading memory in the era of “big oven,” AKA, cost-cutting journalism.
I laugh when I hear print staffs complain about posting Web “briefs,” compared to the multi-story (and award-winning) packages we produced then. We won a National Magazine Award at CNET, something reserved for the likes of Time and the New Yorker. The awards ceremony is held at the Waldorf-Astoria in Manhattan.
At CNET, I helped orchestrate a journalism triumph when it comes to Apple: persuading Jobs to meet with the staff for a two-hour tete a tete on Apple’s future plans. Turned out, he nailed the plan: expanding beyond the computer into iPods and iPhones.
Along the way, I’ve become an Apple fan. In 2000 we bought our first Mac – a G4 tower – and we’re now big Mac fans.
This week, I upgraded to an iMac with twice the power for one quarter of the price – a testament to the power of computing. We still own a PC, though, for the Word and Excel programs (though you can buy them for a Mac).
Our family also bought some stock in Apple along the way – *after* we moved here and I stopped covering it. My investing philosophy: If you like the product *and* understand it, invest in it. (I’m not a big fan of McDonalds, though I guess the stock has done OK.)
Apple has been a “win-win-win” for our family: in my career, in the product and later, as stockholders.
Steve Jobs is sick now, and we are hoping for a recovery. (A cancer such as his is tough to beat).
We talk a lot about jump-starting our economy, but it’s people such as Steve Jobs, not a government-led “economic stimulus” package, that make it happen.
I’ve followed California’s history for my lifetime, and Apple Computer takes up many chapters.