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Apple Confidential: The Real Story of Apple Computer, Inc. Paperback – April 1, 1999
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Owen Linzmayer's Apple Confidential is subtitled The Real Story of Apple Computer, Inc., and while nobody will ever know the complete, "real" story about Apple, Linzmayer's is probably as close as they come. Having covered Apple news since 1980, he offers extensive insider details about Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, John Sculley, Gilbert Amelio, Bill Gates, and other major players whose lives were (and are) intertwined with Apple's history. And along the way, we also learn about lesser-known figures whose stories have remained hidden in the Apple myth: Ronald Gerald Wayne, for example, who was actually a partner with Wozniak and Jobs in the original incarnation of the company, but who sold his share when he realized he would be financially vulnerable if it should fail.
Linzmayer's tale does have a few drawbacks. Because he mixes a chronological narrative with chapters that focus on key points in the Apple story, he sometimes repeats himself. Case in point: the chapter "Big Bad Blunders" makes a great record of Apple's failures, but the story of the exploding Powerbook 5300s is duplicated at later points. Nonetheless, Apple Confidential is rife with gems that will appeal to Apple fanatics and followers of the computer industry. Especially enjoyable are the revelation of "Easter eggs" that are hidden in several versions of the Mac operating system; the many screen shots, timelines, and telling quotes from Jobs, Gates, Wozniak and others that populate the margins and concluding sections of each chapter; the "Code Names Uncovered" section that makes public the monikers of several secret Apple projects; and Bill Gates's 1985 letter to John Sculley and Jean Louis Gassee pleading for Apple to license Mac technology and develop a "standard personal computer." --Patrick O'Kelley
From Library Journal
For your Mac community, you can't go wrong with these titles. Linzmayer's Apple Confidential is an unofficial history of Apple and a great read. Pogue's MacWorld Mac Secrets explains all the oddities about any Mac still in use, while his iMac guide follows the format of the "Dummies" series. Poole's MacWorld Mac OS 8.5 Bible completely explains Mac 8.5, the newest operating system upgrade.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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The layout is interesting as well. As characters are introduced, the reader frequently wonders "What happened to them?" More often than not, the question is answered in a sidebar. This showed that Apple wasn't just a great product developer, but also a great developer of silicon valley talent.
The book details the extremes of the players personalities:
- How Jobs agreet to split the proceeds of an Atari deal with Woz, only to keep 90% of the income himself.
- How Woz forced the company to go public early by sharing his stock with too many employees.
- How Gasse talked folks out of liscencing the technology until it was too late.
- How several successive CEOs tried in vain to save the company.
The book also details some lesser known stories from Apple's storied past:
- How the 1984 commercial almost never made it.
- How the company decided to abandon Copland. (& Why!)
- How the company got sued by Carl Sagan, and how they dug their ditch a little deeper.
There's a lot of "Hows" here, which really shows how deep the author gets into the company's history and soul. You come away with not just a knowledge of the people, but their personalities and why exactly things turned out the way they did.
This book is excellent reading for anyone interested in the world of technology, and an absolute must for fans of Apple.
The book is well written and easy to read, and very importantly in this often heated subject matter, it appears to be genuinely unbiased. Featuring the story of Apple Computer Inc. from its inception to the present, the book not only gives a general overview of the good and bad times at Apple, but also presents many juicy tidbits. Sidebars throughout the text present numerous quotes from well known players - Steve Jobs, Wozniak, and many others. Pictures of some of the early machines are provided as well as timelines for various products and CEO's.
As another bonus, the resignation letters of several of Apple's CEO's are included in the text.
On the downside, the latter part of the book is not quite as good with several omissions such as mention of the wildly popular XServe and the Virginia Tech supercomputer cluster made with XServe's. This seems like a fairly glaring oversight considering how important the enterprise market is to Apple these days.
Overall, I think any Apple history buff would find the book fascinating, and I can even imagine that the book would be interesting to people who don't know much about Apple at all. The history of Apple is quite interesting and should provide engaging reading material for nearly anyone.
What are you waiting for? Buy the book!
On top of this, I was lacking some first person experiences and knowledge on Apple, and needed to find an interviewee. To add to the superbness of the book, it included the contact information of the author, Owen Linzmayer. I emailed him asking if we could talk, and received a reply within the next day. From there, we were able to set a time to talk on the phone, and we ended up talking for about 30 minutes. He was easy to talk to, had many interesting stories to tell, and really knew what he was talking about. Overall, the interview helped me complete my research project, and I also learned a lot from it.
I STRONLY RECCOMEND THAT YOU BUY THIS BOOK!