Last night at least two news outlets —The AP and The Huffington Post— revealed that they had obtained copies of the Steve Jobs biography penned by Walter Isaacson. Jobs gave Isaacson unprecedented access, making time for over 40 interviews spanning everything from his early life to his final weeks. The book will be released on Monday, after its publisher bumped up its release date shortly after Steve Jobs passed away on October 5.
As expected, the book is full of anecdotes and insight into what made Steve Jobs tick, including everything from the way he challenged authority to how he came up with the name ‘Apple’ while he was on “one of my fruitarian diets.” And, yes, the fact that he really, really hated Google’s Android.
Details contained in the book are scattered across dozens of news stories (you can see a good roundup on Techmeme here). Below are some particularly interesting snippets — though none of these capture the more subtle things that the biography will surely offer. In other words, read the book.
On Apple’s lawsuit against Android and its OEM partners:
“I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this,”
Our lawsuit is saying, ‘Google you fucking ripped off the iPhone, wholesale ripped us off,’” Jobs said, according to Isaacson. “I will spend my last dying breath if I need to, and I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40 billion in the bank, to right this wrong. I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product.”
(during a meeting between Schmidt and Jobs in front of a Palo Alto coffee shop)
“I don’t want your money. If you offer me $5 billion, I won’t want it. I’ve got plenty of money. I want you to stop using our ideas in Android, that’s all I want.”
On the dismantling of HP:
“Hewlett and Packard built a great company, and they thought they had left it in good hands,” Jobs told Isaacson. “But now it’s being dismembered and destroyed.”
“I hope I’ve left a stronger legacy so that will never happen at Apple,” he added.
On Jobs’ meeting with President Obama late last year and again at a dinner at Silicon Valley this past spring. The relationship was apparently contentious at times.
“You’re headed for a one-term presidency,” he told Obama at the start of their meeting, insisting that the administration needed to be more business-friendly. As an example, Jobs described the ease with which companies can build factories in China compared to the United States, where “regulations and unnecessary costs” make it difficult for them.
On Jobs’ being ousted from Apple in the mid-80s, and the people who took over the company:
Jobs calls the crop of executives brought in to run Apple after his ouster in 1985 “corrupt people” with “corrupt values” who cared only about making money. Jobs himself is described as caring far more about product than profit.
He told Isaacson they cared only about making money “for themselves mainly, and also for Apple – rather than making great products.”