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Infinite Loop Hardcover – February 16, 1999

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Editorial Reviews Review

Apple Computer has made for good copy over the years. From its beginnings in the garage owned by Steve Jobs's parents and the launch of the Macintosh to the regimes of John Scully and Gil Amelio, Apple's story is irresistible and has been captured in books such as The Little Kingdom by Michael Moritz, The Macintosh Way by Guy Kawasaki, Insanely Great by Steven Levy, and Apple by Jim Carlton. Now in Infinite Loop, Michael S. Malone offers what may be the best rendition yet of Apple's storied past.

Malone's account begins deep in the heart of Santa Clara Valley and the early lives of Apple's two founders, Jobs and Steve Wozniak. Malone seamlessly interlaces his accounts of the forces that shaped the two Steves--from the nascent electronics industry of the '60s and companies such as Sylvania and Hewlett Packard to Jobs's work at Atari and his repeated, and often deceitful, manipulation of his genius friend, the Woz. From these early beginnings, Malone takes the reader through the life of Apple Computer: its founding and launch of the Apple I, the return of Steve Jobs, the rollout of the iMac. In the end, Malone, a journalist who grew up in Silicon Valley and first covered Apple in 1979, writes that Apple was a company with lots of attitude but one that was bereft of character, and only when that fact was laid bare "did the essential hollowness of the enterprise stand exposed." Infinite Loop is a wonderfully written, even gripping, corporate biography that anyone who has fallen under Apple's spell will enjoy. Recommended. --Harry C. Edwards

From Publishers Weekly

Two years ago, this could have been the definitive book about why one of the world's most well-known brand names almost went out of business. But Apple has since bounced back, rendering someAbut not allAof Malone's analysis moot. (In fact, in his foreword, Malone admits that, having abandoned his Mac for a PC, he is now eyeing an Apple G3Athough he calls the iMac "Steve Jobs's triumph of image over reality.") Still, even given the bad timing, Malone presents a cogent account of how Apple ran into trouble. Malone, editor of the technology magazine, Forbes ASAP, grew up near Apple's founders, worked for the company for a time and has covered the firm since its inception. He unearths new information about the company's founders, Steven P. Jobs and Stephen Wozniak, and he puts them in a far less flattering light than the common hagiography, which presents the two as a pair of garage-bound tinkerers and idealists. The story he tells is how hubris, arrogance and IBM-sized egos prevented Apple's execs from diversifying the company's product line. Determined to write the definitive revisionist history of Apple, Malone takes special aim at the company's famous corporate culture: "Of all the great companies of recent memory, there is only one that seemed to have no character, but only an attitude, a style, a collection of mannerisms. It constructed a brilliant simulacrum of character, in a way a man without empathy or conscience can pretend to have those traits." Such sentences abound in a book thatAat least among Apple execs and the company's famously loyal customersAwill be greeted with something other than a smile.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday Business; 1 edition (February 16, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385486847
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385486842
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.6 x 1.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #828,496 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Barrus on February 23, 2000
Format: Hardcover
As a devout Mac user, I've been interested in reading Infinite Loop since it was released. And boy is it good -- although it's definitely biased, and Malone certainly has an axe to grind with Steve Jobs and Apple.
The book is good for recounting the story of Apple -- from its rise out of Jobs' garage to his sacking, the dark ages of the mid nineties and the company's reemergence with the iMac. Of course, Malone is skeptical about the iMac's success, and tries to pass his book off as an eulogy when it's clear that Apple is currently in the midst of a resurgance.
More than anything, this is a corporate history, and is often mired down with business and technological details that might boggle the mind of the uninitiated. But if you're genuinely interested in Apple, the PC industry, and a fascinating story populated with colorful real-life characters (minus Gil Amelio of course), then you should check this book out.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Rottenberg's rotten book review on February 25, 2007
Format: Hardcover
At first the story of the PC industry's scruffy origins, "Infinite Loop" becomes the cautionary fable of Apple Computers - from the garage to the iMac (1999 - the book closes before the dot-com bust and the "iPod".) Though I can't vouch for accuracy, "Loop" is encyclopedic and compelling though at times prone to hyperbole. (Malone uses words like "technologist" in their simplest sense or "guru" and Steve Jobs's famous "reality-distortion field" as if these words were real.) "Loop" is an incredible tale - of great achievement mixed with catastrophe, and promising more of the latter. Apple created great products or at least great ideas, but profits were often stymied and market share eroded. Malone makes an interesting point comparing Apple to Intel, the CPU giant that didn't create the market for processors over which it now reigns with near supremacy - having to find its way in an existing market ensured that Intel would remain a real and practical company; Apple arose when computers were largely fantasy - unsurprisingly, Malone's Apple remains a fantasy of a company.

Bringing computers to the masses, Apple's story unsurprisingly recounts the dawn of American cyber culture. The concept of PC's seems to predate capable technology and quality-assurance. (The original "Apple I" debuted in a time when people bought computer kits, and had to supply their own cases; later Apples suffer all sorts of QA problems.)

Malone offers a fascinating study of a techno-cultural revolution - in which the techno-savvy (who once comprised the entire market for computers) and market-savvy worked with and against each other to bring PC's to a generation of Americans who hadn't yet embraced the VCR (and never learned how to program them).
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 21, 1999
Format: Hardcover
A very readable history of Apple computer. I had heard that some of the views expressed in this book were slanted. I could get a sense of that. Even so, the history presented is clear and very interesting to read. Having followed Apple since the II, it was interesting to hear the complete and inside view of the company. There seemed to be more focus on the period up to the Mac. Some people are portrayed badly, but in the end everyone comes across as human, even Steve Jobs.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rolf Dobelli HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 14, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Author Michael S. Malone goes behind the myths about Apple Computers to present an in-depth history from Apple's start-up in 1976 to its decline through 1998. He emphasizes that the personalities of Apple founders, Steven Jobs and Steven Wozniak (or Woz), marked Apple's corporate culture with a kind of insaneness that made it great even as it contributed to the company's difficulties. He presents the two Stevens as deeply flawed individuals - one the creative, socially inept, technical genius, the other the narcissistic, untrustworthy tyrant. In places, Malone risks introducing distortions into the story in the interest of drama, especially when he imagines what Woz or Jobs might have been thinking or why they may have taken certain actions. Otherwise, we at getAbstract say sit down in your easy chair with this novelistic business history. Even those who are familiar with the broad outlines of the Apple story will find it fascinating.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By MA on February 7, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Michael Malone did a pretty good job with this book. He has got an explosive combination of ingredients in this book: A perfect plot (Apple Computers History), amazing characters (Steve Jobs just as an example), Intrigue, Drama, Joy, and a lot more. Michael Malone mixed all this ingredients the right way, writting a very good novel/business book. He his sophisticated in his writting, yet very simplistic. I loved finishing the book understanding what he meant by infinite loop. I strongly advise you to find it out for yourself. You will not get disapointed and you will keep turning those pages very rapidly just like a good thriller. Don't get intimidated by the size of the book, or by the fact that is a corporate history book. In fact it is, but it could also be a science fiction novel. That's what is makes it so great.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 30, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I have the strange honor of being the only college graduate from the U. of Puerto Rico that Apple ever recruited for a full time job. I made a big leap of faith in joining the company back in 1991. I didn;t know what to expect. My memory from that time is that of a company where employees were overworked as heck, most were polite and intelligent (with the usual bozo thrown in for variety), and most of us were too busy fighting fires to really grasp the reality outside De Anza Boulevard and environs. Most often, we were too busy to figure out what the company's top management was capable of doing.
The Apple this book paints is substantially different from the one I experienced firsthand. From my somewhat myopic perspective, I could notice from reading this book that the crucial details were left out. It paints the Apple crowd as a bunch of drones, blindly following the usual "management is hell" philosophy of dissing the CEO/CFO du jour. We used to voice our concerns, and even furiously so, but most people at Apple weren't drones. We were busy doing our jobs, too busy, I might add. Many important details from too many SNAFUs Sales and Marketing, Operations and Human Resources made during the last few years before Apple's fall from grace are skipped, in favor of the usual Jobs/Sculley soap opera stuff.
Most of us, during that time, were indeed shielded from reality, and those of us who were laid off as a consequence of John Sculley's blunders do lay the blame on him, but in hindsight, he did have his share of positive things. So did Spindler. So did Amelio. Apple was not Jobs' Saga. It shouldn't be regarded as that.
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