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DIGG: Apple Heroes and Villains


Every story has its heroes and villains, and the history of Apple Computer is no exception. The world's most lickable computer company has seen its share of good guys and bad guys during its 30-year history, and sometimes, the goodie is also the baddie.

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I'm not sure exactly who Pete Mortensen is (a quick google search reveals only a couple of wired articles, but nothing else) and so I don't know what he's been privvy to. No idea if he's ever worked at Apple, but I expect he hasn't. So, I'm assuming this article is written from the perspective of an outsider.

It's an interesting read, and he comments on some folk that often don't get much press, and that's cool.

However, while he gets some of the easy calls right (Hero: Woz, Hero: Jonathan Ive, Villain: Spindler) I think he's off base on a few others.

Gil Amelio should either bear both titles, or neither. On the negative side, he just wasn't Apple material. He didn't get it. He had a big fat golden parachute. He was, however, pivitol in the turning point that eventually removed the word "beleaguered" from the front of the Apple name... he bought NeXT and that resulted in the return of Steve Jobs.

Calling Jeff Raskin a false idol is a little harsh. He was part of the original four person Macintosh team and that's worth something.

Michael Dell shouldn't even be on the list. He's not a villain in the Apple story... he's motivation. A reminder never to become boring. Oh, and he's good for comic relief occasionally.

The biggest mistake on the list, speaking as someone who was there at both Apple's lowest times and the-future's-so-bright phase we are in now, is an omission. Leaving Fred Anderson's name off the list is a complete disservice to Apple's story. He may not have been responsible for glitzy products like the iMac or iPod, but in his 8 year stint as Apple's CFO he kept the company alive through the roughest waters it's ever seen... even when we didn't have a CEO. I fucking salute him.

Anyways, I have some other comments about some of the folks on the list that are still at Apple; but those are reserved for private conversations. :)

PS: If you're into Apple History, and would like to read the stories written by the people who were there... check out Andy Hertzfeld's Folklore.org.