By Dina Bass
Apple’s landmark deal with IBM today is likely to set off yet another round of “this wouldn’t have happened under Steve Jobs” hand-wringing. In this situation, the case for that is pretty clear.
The rivalry with International Business Machines goes back to the beginning of Apple, and the late co-founder seemed to hold the grudge throughout his career. On the day Tim Cook announced a collaboration with IBM to create business software for the iPhone and iPad, here’s a look back at five examples of Jobs taking jabs at the century-old tech company.
“Welcome, IBM. Seriously.” In 1981, Steve Jobs placed a print advertisement “welcoming” IBM to the PC market. It was, of course, tongue-in-cheek and meant to highlight IBM’s relatively late entry to an important industry. IBM ended up having a strong run in PCs but abandoned the business in 2005 when it sold the division to China’s Lenovo.
Jobs Gives IBM the Finger. The vintage photo of a young, rebellious Jobs is beloved by Apple die-hards. It resurfaced recently when Andy Hertzfeld, who worked with Jobs on the Macintosh, posted it online.[eap_ad_2]
1984. The iconic commercial, which portrayed Big Blue as the ominous Big Brother from the George Orwell novel, aired during the 1984 Super Bowl. Jobs loved the ad, created by its longtime agency Chiat\Day. Apple’s board didn’t, and preferred to not antagonize IBM.
Here’s how Jobs introduced that ad in a 1983 speech before it was shown on TV for the only time: “It appears IBM wants it all. Apple is perceived to be the only hope to offer IBM a run for its money. Dealers, initially welcoming IBM with open arms, now fear an IBM-dominated and controlled future. They are increasingly and desperately turning back to Apple as the only force that can ensure their future freedom. IBM wants it all and is aiming its guns on its last obstacle to industry control: Apple. Will Big Blue dominate the entire computer industry? The entire information age? Was George Orwell right about 1984?”
Dark Ages. In a 1985 interview with Playboy magazine, Jobs said, “If for some reason, we make some giant mistakes and IBM wins, my personal feeling is that we are going to enter sort of a computer Dark Ages for about 20 years. Once IBM gains control of a market sector, they almost always stop innovation. They prevent innovation from happening.”
The Switch to Intel. During Jobs’s absence from Apple, the company switched to a type of processor made by IBM called the PowerPC. Under Jobs, Apple embarked on a multiyear effort to transition to Intel chips. “Our goal is to provide our customers with the best personal computers in the world, and looking ahead Intel has the strongest processor roadmap by far,” Jobs said in a statement when he announced the switch in 2005. “It’s been ten years since our transition to the PowerPC, and we think Intel’s technology will help us create the best personal computers for the next ten years.”