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The Forgotten Apple CEO 183

Posted by Zonk
from the more-than-he-could-chew dept.
Sabah Arif writes "Michael Spindler was supposed to be the savior of Apple. After four years at Apple, he was an executive vice president and had built Apple Europe to the point where it was providing 25% of Apple's revenues. Just the same, at the end of the day Spindler couldn't handle the stress or control the Apple organization. Low End Mac has an extensive biography of this figure in Apple's History." From the article: "Apple Europe ran out of a cramped 100 ft. office in Brussels and had only a few employees. Spindler had never worked at the startup before, but he liked it a lot. He had freedom to try almost anything he wanted. There were problems with working for such a young company, though. Spindler went without payment for almost six months because Apple didn't know how to move funds from California to Belgium."
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The Forgotten Apple CEO

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  • I said it once and I'll say it again Spindler was a man ahead of his time. His methods did not suit the old apple of the time 100% but I can see his sense of strategy working in the current climate at apple. Even the iPod would be better off if treated like the newtons, something the purists wouldn't like but would lead to better for the company

    for what I see Jobs ideas is getting old and they wont keep apple up together. Watch what happens when in a year from now apple hand out press releases to another Sp
    • for what I see Jobs ideas is getting old and they wont keep apple up together. Watch what happens when in a year from now apple hand out press releases to another Special Event and nobody turns up. Spindler had this long term strategy and Jobs sadly lacking there.

      So, Jobs' strategy of meeting the market's needs before they realize they have those needs is not a long term strategy? Methinks that you need a serious reality check.

      Putting aside Spindlers abilities, Jobs has shown explosive growth in BOTH companies he currently acts as CEO for. (Apple and Pixar.) Under his reign, BOTH companies have continued to produce products that have continually upped their market share. Under Jobs, BOTH companies have continued this upward climb for decades. Sure, Jobs' tenure was broken up, but while he was CEO the company has always thrived.

      Love him or hate him (probably some of both), he does a bang up job as an executive leader. There's no one I would trust more at the helm of Apple. Or any other company, for that matter.
      • Under Jobs, Apple has only once, in the most recent quarter, surpassed Gil Amelio's revenue record. I think a fair way to look at Jobs is that he's a company builder and marketer whose ability to actually produce economic results is approximately on par with the best CEO from Apple's history.

        Now, the Pixar thing, that was visionary. Jobs bought the company from its founder and previous owners for a song. That was a nice piece of dealing.
        • Under Jobs, Apple has only once, in the most recent quarter, surpassed Gil Amelio's revenue record.

          It's much easier to have high revenues than record profits. I'll take Jobs over Amelio any day of the week.

          -jcr
        • Actually, Lucas wanted more money but his divorce forced him to sell. Still would have been a song at the price he sold it for. However, there is no reason to believe Lucas would have built it into the same company.
        • From Wikipedia:

          During Amelio's tenure, Apple's stock hit a 12-year low, and in the second quarter of 1997, the company lost $708 million. Amelio was widely criticized as lacking vision and marketing ability. Many did not appreciate his "wooziness" (Ed Fullenmauker 1997). Board member Ed Woolard announced his termination on July 4, 1997, and Amelio left the company the next day. He was replaced by Steve Jobs.


          Showing a 10 year graph on BigCharts [marketwatch.com], reveals that the peak of the stock price is in 2006.

          2005 revenues [wikipedia.org] were 13.93 billion, whereas the historical revenues [businessweek.com] for Amelio's time show a peak of 11 billion.

          I don't know where you're getting your information, but I certainly can't corroborate it.
        • by vought (160908) on Friday April 07, 2006 @01:00AM (#15082165)
          Under Jobs, Apple has only once, in the most recent quarter, surpassed Gil Amelio's revenue record.

          Respectfully, I have to wonder aloud if you aren't one of the better trolls on Slashdot.

          I worked for Spindler, Amelio and Jobs.

          Spindler shipped a LOT of product, and under him, the confusing gobbledygook of naming conventions like "Performa 6225" was born. Now, if you can tell me the difference between Performa 6220 and a 6225 off the top of your head...imagine what it was like in support when Apple had 40-some odd machines based on four logic boards and varying form factors, markets...

          Actually, it was a lot like HP/Compaq's naming conventions these days - mention a product name, and you had to go look up the feature list, which sub-species of logic board, what processor speed, disk capacity, etc - and some machines had quiet revisions. A far cry from the 2X2 product matrix Jobs introduced and far removed even from today's multi-market, multi-tier product line.

          Under Spindler, Apple shipped a lot of product though. Unfortunately, they were declining very fast in quality because Spindler was racing to the bottom, commanding engineering to ship low-cost products on schedule no matter the quality.

          I remember the KROM (Apple sales comm. "radio show") tape in which the PowerBook product manager proudly crowed about how the 5300 series was going to ship on time, with features no PC laptop had. For the next eight years, Apple was replacing those machines - every 5300 took at least one ride to the service depot (I'm not exaggerating) and a great deal of them were repaired multiple times or outright replaced...with another 5300 that had bugs and needed repair. The product didn't actually work until six months after it shipped - and after it was already EOL'd. Thanks, Mike "Diesel" Spindler!

          Spindler is best forgotten. Underhim we got the PowerBook 5300, Performa 52 and 62xx series, the Performa 6400 series, crappy peripherals that took several replacements at times to get a working unit, etc.

          Amelio was the "fix it guy" who was supposed to turn us around with motivational talks, koffee klatches (yes, I really did work there) and a management team that included Silicon Valley's best...or at least the best who weren't smart enough to be working for startup Internet companies like Yahoo, Lycos, etc.

          He flat-out told us during a comm meeting that we were stupid and lazy and generally tried to be the strict daddy for a company of people that he thought were just lazy slobs - people who, if they'd just cut their hair and wear a tie would somehow make the company sing again.

          Needless to say, this didn't go over well with employees. Thank God Fred managed to eke a $25 Million profit one quarter from those "record revenues" Amelio generated. Apple was taking in lots of money - sure - just like a drowning person takes in a lot of water.

          Fred and Steve were the only guys Amelio hired that ended up doing much good for Apple. Fred cut costs by NOT laying everyone off at once (this was after March 17, 1997) and Steve had the balls to knock a few walls out of our haunted mansion and start renovating.

          Apple today may not sell as many computers, but they're far more influential and relevant because Jobs returned - and you can give Amelio that kudo if you want.

          Under Jobs, Apple has only once, in the most recent quarter, surpassed Gil Amelio's revenue record. I think a fair way to look at Jobs is that he's a company builder and marketer whose ability to actually produce economic results is approximately on par with the best CEO from Apple's history.

          Or, you could look at it this way: Amelio was so inept at fixing the damage Spindler wrought, stood by while the clone makers whupped Apple's ass, and drove so many smart people from the company that it has taken Jobs this much time and almost ten years' worth of focussed engineering effort to regain the former revenue level.

          Perhaps it makes more sense when you consider that we were
          • Spindler shipped a LOT of product, and under him, the confusing gobbledygook of naming conventions like "Performa 6225" was born. Now, if you can tell me the difference between Performa 6220 and a 6225 off the top of your head...imagine what it was like in support when Apple had 40-some odd machines based on four logic boards and varying form factors, markets...

            Come on, off the top of your head, tell me the differences between the 1999 iMac DV and iMac SE (apart from color), and those from 2000. How about

            • Come on, off the top of your head, tell me the differences between the 1999 iMac DV and iMac SE (apart from color), and those from 2000. How about the difference between the iBook and the iBook?

              The DV SE had a faster processor, bigger disk, and more memory. It also had a major differentiator that Performas didn't: COLOR.

              Why should I neglect to mention that it was the only graphite-colored iMac when that's the chief difference? Architecture is the same, specs vary slightly, but all the same pieces are there;
              • I'm not sure I really understand the above.

                USB didn't come out until the late nineties, it's hardly Spindler's fault earlier Macs didn't come with it. Your other complaint seems to be that the 622X might have any one of multiple third party peripherals added to it. While it may seem "odd" in 2006 for a computer not to have a built-in modem... ahhhhh... well perhaps not, but let's go with the pretence... modems were still relatively rare peripherals in the early nineties. An iMac, be it a Bondi Blue or an

                • I'm not sure I really understand the above. USB didn't come out until the late nineties, it's hardly Spindler's fault earlier Macs didn't come with it.

                  His point is that current Macs are easily identifiable by their hardware options. Instead of having massive matrices of complex features, Apple takes the stance of putting everything into the machine that belongs in a given price range. That means that you can look at an iBook, and unequivically say, "That's the 2 USB model running a G3 processor, and origin
                  • His point is that current Macs are easily identifiable by their hardware options. Instead of having massive matrices of complex features, Apple takes the stance of putting everything into the machine that belongs in a given price range. That means that you can look at an iBook, and unequivically say, "That's the 2 USB model running a G3 processor, and originally OS X 10.2." This makes several things a lot easier

                    My point is that that point is bogus: that is, there's nothing particularly new about the stra

                  • Oops, hit Reply too quickly.

                    I'm not quite sure where you get that idea. Modems have been common since the 80's, especially once Compuserve took off. Those who weren't business users tended to use modems for accessing BBSes and public access computers. The Internet may not have caught on until around '94-'95, but there were a number of uses for modems before that. Leaving modems off their machines was a huge mistake.

                    I stand by my comment. Modems were largely the province of a small group of computer enth

                    • Entire design life cycle - in terms of the iMac, Jobs, and Ive - means the design of the plastics.

                      The computer inside was an obvious choice, and I saw it at the time for what it really was - a corporate network terminal, with new colorful plastic.

                      Ive did an interesting and chancy thing with the new plastics for it, but it was in no way a revolutionary piece of tech. This thing was supposed to be the machine you use at work, complete with Apple Platinum plastics. (yes, the Apples we call "beige" now were N
          • Thanks for your insightful commentary. I was not trying and will not try to compare Jobs and Amelio (or Spindler) on their deeper impacts upon the structure and culture of Apple Computer, because I've never worked there and don't know anybody who did or does. I just wanted to throw a wrench into the Jobs hero-worshipping. From the perspective of actually moving product, Jobs is slightly better than Amelio. From the perspective of self-promotion and self-enrichment, Jobs is "insanely great".

            I don't think
          • Spindler was definitely the worst. I painfully remember the Performa madness.

            Amelio seemed to me one of those cookie-cutter CEOs who ought to be teaching so they can't do harm in the real world. It reminds me of NBA owners who don't know basketball.
    • A year from now? Unless you're trying to say that Jobs is going to die immediately... no, that still doesn't make any sense.

      You might have a good point, but that level of hyperbole makes it hard to follow. Maybe you're talking about like... five or ten or twenty years from now, in which case I have no idea where you're coming up with your speculation, but whatever.

      What would be improved for the iPod by more Newton-like treatment?

      God, I'm so lost here.
    • by ktappe (747125) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @06:37PM (#15080571)
      Watch what happens when in a year from now apple hand out press releases to another Special Event and nobody turns up.
      You're kidding, right? The exact opposite is currently happening. Earlier this week Apple quietly released Boot Camp and the industry has been going absolutely gaga over it. AAPL jumped nearly 10% on this product alone. Imagine the type of press if it'd been released at a Jobs dog & pony show. There is absolutely no sign that Steve's reality distortion field is weakening in the slightest. On the contrary; it seems to be working even when he doesn't show up. Apple's mojo is stronger than ever. I don't know what company you were referring to in your post, but it sure wasn't Apple.

      -Kurt

    • The other day jobs sold 300,000,000 US worth of Apple stock. It was said that he did this to pay the taxes because they vested.

      The question people should be asking is why didn't he sell his Disney stock instead? It looks like Jobs thinks Apple isn't as good a bet as Disney which isn't a good thing for the CEO to be thinking.
    • The only "old" idea that makes no sense is that Apple is a hardware company. Beyond that hope, they're pretty successful with Jobs. Some would say he breathed new life into a company that was doomed.
    • I said it once and I'll say it again Spindler was a man ahead of his time.

      Gott in himmel, you are WRONG, WRONG, WRONG.

      Herr Spindler almost augured Apple into the ground. More Road Apples [lowendmac.com] came out during his regime than any other CEO of Apple.

      It took the combined heavy lifting of Gil Amelio (the true unsung hero who saved Apple from the shitter) and The Steve to get Apple out of the rut Spindler put it in. Sculley sent it on this trajectory, but it was Spindler who put it into a power dive.

      Spindler's place i
  • by laurensv (601085) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @06:03PM (#15080350) Homepage
    It's still sad that the European headquarters moved from Brussels to Paris.
    Now the (european) Apple expo is held in Paris and is therefor deeply french, which leads to the UK and the Netherlands (and maybe others, I don't know) having their own unofficial apple expo's. Having stayed in Brussels, maybe the expo could have been held there and be truly European.
  • Well now... (Score:5, Funny)

    by XXIstCenturyBoy (617054) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @06:03PM (#15080353)
    Apple didn't know how to move funds from California to Belgium.

    Their paypal account was closed?
    • Re:Well now... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by anticypher (48312) <<anticypher> <at> <gmail.com>> on Thursday April 06, 2006 @08:20PM (#15081182) Homepage
      Apple didn't know how to move funds from California to Belgium.

      It's not as easy as many american companies think. I've seen Cisco, MTV, CNN, and a few other big american corps screw up the openings of their European HQs because they didn't pay the right law firm up front to do all the paper work and hire the legal minimum of locals. It was really bad during the dotcom boom, because companies flush with investment capital would just send a couple of guys they hired straight out of university (with zero work experience) and give them titles of "VP of European Operations" or "Head of European Sales", and the guys would end up working out of a hotel room for a few months because they didn't know enough to hire some locals. On at least two occasions they would try to hire me, since I had both European and American bank accounts. They'd want me to get all the payroll and expenses sent to my US account, and then distribute the money from my Belgian account to all their new partners. I'd say NO, and they had to fold up their operations because they just couldn't understand there were steep start up costs in Europe and they weren't willing to pay. Even when everything is set up, the banks sit on money transfers for a month or two, until a year's worth of funds go through with no problems.

      the AC
      • When I went to the UK to teach at university, I had similar experiences. I brought some of my money with me to buy a house and use in EU-based venture capital investments, but I quickly learned that the UK financial services industry was rapacious. I bought the house and sent the rest back to my US investment manager. To avoid getting whipsawed by exchange rate movements, I do invest in European businesses, but from a secure American base.
  • What??? (Score:5, Funny)

    by adminsr (919472) <adminsr@gmail.com> on Thursday April 06, 2006 @06:04PM (#15080357)
    How do you work out of a 100 ft office? That's one-dimensional, which gets uncomfortable quite quickly.
    • Re:What??? (Score:2, Funny)

      by TubeSteak (669689)
      How do you work out of a 100 ft office? That's one-dimensional, which gets uncomfortable quite quickly.
      /me engages the reality distortion field
      Ahhh... it's much more comfortable now.
      Feels like a 1000ft^3 in here.
      • For SOME weird-assed ("Let's be different", maybe?) reason, real estate people -- at least the ones in in commercial real estate I've talked with -- don't want to use the term "square feet". They just say, "The space you're interested in measures 600 feet."

        As someone who took geometry in high school, studied drafting, and watched home go from dirt lots to move-in, this bugs the shit out of me. It just isn't logical to the lay person who might wonder lineal feet, cubic feet, 4th dimension...

        I suppose some re
    • First, the units are undoubtedly intended to be units squared, representing floor area. However....

      Second, 100 square feet is unimaginably small for a corporate office of any sort. (Seriously, how could you even rent 100 square feet of office space?) However, since this was in Belgium, the units were more likely meters. This means the actual size of the office (100 square meters) would have been approximately 1076 square feet, small for an office space, but not too small to run a business.
      • I was thinking it was more like "we rented a single office room in this building for our two man European expansion". 100 square feet is fairly small for even an office though, but startups don't always get to do things the "sane" way.
  • by paladinwannabe2 (889776) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @06:04PM (#15080364)
    From the article: "Often times, he would hold an unintelligible meeting and walk out without taking questions, then allow his assistants to move in and explain what he had said."
    Sounds to me like his assistants are the ones who deserve a lot of credit for his sucess- the guy would have been worthless without people to 'translate' for him.
  • Says who? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DysenteryInTheRanks (902824) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @06:12PM (#15080426) Homepage
    The website Low End Mac says this article was written by "avid history buff" Tom Hormby. Hormby may be a buff, but clearly he is no historian.

    Where the heck does he get this stuff? If he gets it from other people's books or articles (my guess), he needs to credit them, if only so we can evaluate the quality of the information. But this history contains no cites of any kind.

    If Hormby is actually gatherting the information himself, through interviews or a large cache of secondary sources, he needs to explain this now and again in the text. For example, instead of "It was at DEC where Spindler gained a reputation for his work ethic," he could state "It was at DEC where Spindler proved he could work hard, a friend said."

    This is the kind of vague, uncited, unsourced "information" that gives the Web a bad name. If it is coming from an established brand like nytimes.com, maybe (_maybe_) we could take their word for certain details. But if our only basis for judging this guy is his gmail address, we need more specifics on his information gathering.

    • "This is the kind of vague, uncited, unsourced "information" that gives the Web a bad name."

      It should give all sorts of things a "bad name". Too many believe all that they are told, from talking heads on TV to politicians in front of a microphone. It's a complete lack of critical thought by the majority of the masses (at least here in the U.S.) that is the problem. If critical thought were to be taught as a norm, as it should be, this stuff wouldn't fly. Although, neither would most of the stuff many of u
  • wages (Score:5, Informative)

    by SuperBanana (662181) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @06:20PM (#15080470)
    Spindler went without payment for almost six months because Apple didn't know how to move funds from California to Belgium.

    This reminds me...Just FYI as a sort of public announcement for slashdotters since I hear on a fairly regular basis from techies who don't get paid timely, especially with startups: there are a lot of laws people don't know about regarding payroll. For example, in Massachusetts (and probably a number of other states) is not just a civil matter, it's a -criminal- one as well!

    If you work in MA:

    • You must be paid bi-weekly if you're salaried, and you have to be paid within 6 days of that period. There are no acceptable excuses for delays, period, end of discussion- even if the Treasurer is stricken with some mystery disease and can't write checks, that's the company's problem- not yours.
    • If you are terminated, fired, laid off, down-sized, whatevered- you MUST BE PAID WITHIN THE FOLLOWING DAY FOR ANY AND ALL WAGES. Your employer cannot make excuses about deducting wages for expenses, petty cash you borrowed, calculating taxes, or whatever; that's all stuff they should have done before letting you go. No excuses about "oh, we only cut checks on tuesdays" or "we only cut payroll checks from our _____ location" - well then, they should have picked tuesday to let you go, and had the check sent ahead. Terminations are rarely spur of the moment "gee, I think I'll fire Bob in 30 minutes." They're decisions made over days, not hours or minutes.
    • Violating wage-related laws is a CRIMINAL matter and the CEO, CFO, VP's, etc can be criminally charged if the DA's office is interested enough (ie, several of you are locked out, for example, with back-wages.)
    • You can ask the DA's office to pursue the matter, OR pursue it privately- your choice (ie, you're not at the whim of a DA who can't be bothered.)
    • Your employer is liable for TREBLE DAMAGES PLUS LEGAL EXPENSES (ie, triple whatever the amount is in question.) Not that you should be taking advantage of employers for the tiniest infraction, but this is a great way to have a sweeter taste in your mouth if you've been given the boot.

    IANAL, blah blah, might be wrong about some points, blah blah. Full details on the Massachusetts Unfair Wage Payment Act [kallenlawyer.com].

    You also might be interested to know that quite a number of jobs are excluded from "independent contractor status" [state.ma.us], specifically because employers use them to get around having to pay social security taxes, benefits, etc. These MA laws are on top of the IRS rules limiting what employees can be considered independent contractors

    • by jcr (53032)
      You also might be interested to know that quite a number of jobs are excluded from "independent contractor status" [state.ma.us], specifically because employers use them to get around having to pay social security taxes, benefits, etc.

      BULLSHIT.

      Those exclusions are a deal that the larger body-shops made with their congresscum to make life more difficult for independent contractors. Instead of contracting with an engineer directly for a short-term software development gig, it's "safer" to get them through a
      • Re:wages (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Otter (3800) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @07:17PM (#15080835) Journal
        Andersen Consulting (no, I won't use that stupid name they came up with to try to live down the Enron scandal).

        Accenture was spun off in 1989, before the Enron scandal. Andersen was obliterated. Even if one agrees that everyone at Andersen deserved to lose their jobs over the actions of a handful of auditors and managers*, people should at least stop pretending that Accenture's existence means it didn't happen.

        * What I've never understood is why the conventional wisdom is that Enron, which was a shell game from top to bottom, had a handful of criminals running it and everyone else was a victim, but everyone at Andersen, 99.9% of whom had nothing at all to do with Enron, deserved to lose their jobs.

        • Re:wages (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Jerf (17166)
          To "military intelligence" and "jumbo shrimp" and other such oxymorons, you can add "mob justice".

          News media works on mob justice principles and are unbelievably klutzy with their accusations and witch hunts. I'm not inclined to blame "the American people" because most people have better things to do with their time than dig into exactly which employees are guilty, but the media could have been a bit more careful. But hey, it's not their lives wrecked.
          • News media works on mob justice principles and are unbelievably klutzy with their accusations and witch hunts. I'm not inclined to blame "the American people" because most people have better things to do with their time than dig into exactly which employees are guilty, but the media could have been a bit more careful. But hey, it's not their lives wrecked.

            Very insightful. In fact, administering this kind of mob "justice" is a triple bonus for the media. First, they attract an audience by breaking the initia
        • Re:wages (Score:3, Informative)

          by CaveMike (860041)
          To be more precise: Arthur Anderson and Anderson Consulting became peer partnerships in 1989. In 1998, Anderson Consulting sued Arthur Anderson for breach of contract, and in 2000 Anderson Consulting was broken off and renamed Accenture. But you're right, it had nothing to do with Enron. Anderson Consulting had long felt like they were being dragged down by the accounting half. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accenture [wikipedia.org]
        • Re:wages (Score:2, Insightful)

          by SumoRoach (52906)
          You have the dates and the facts right, but the names wrong. Or something like that.

          Anderson Consulting was spun off from Arthur Anderson in 1989. They renamed themselves to Accenture in early 2001 to avoid paying "royalties" for the Anderson name and nothing to do with Enron, which declared bankruptcy in late 2001. Very coincidental timing.

          I don't think everyone at Enron deserved to lose their jobs, just like everyone one at Arthur Anderson didn't deserve to lose their jobs either. But, Enron was a hug
          • Re:wages (Score:2, Informative)

            by kma100 (949502)
            Nope. Andersen Consulting and Arthur Andersen were sister partnerships under the Andersen Worldwide umbrella. There was a growing tension between the two organizations as AC had to pay an annual fee to the AA (audit) partners. In the 90's, the consulting business was growing very rapidly compared to the audit and tax business, and the annual fee got to be very large. At the same time AA starting building up their consulting practice, so AC was in essense subsidising its own competition.

            In 1999, AA too

        • Anderson's job was first and foremost to validate the honesty of Enron's financial statements and was therefor afforded a priviledged position. That firm existed solely to protect American financial markets and it failed, utterly. So yes, the firm did have to be destroyed, because it did not do its job. Sucks for the people that work there, but, what was at stake was the stability of the entire US economic system. Were investors to decide that American stock markets were full of lies on financials and
    • Thank you for the excellent post for the benefit of law awareness- especially for MA workers.

      A few years ago I left my job. My boss had developed a meth problem and was killing the company. It was mentally abusive to work there. When I left, I was not paid for vacation time nor about a week's wages. I contacted the attorney general's office and they took my details and handled everything for me. After "about 4-6 weeks" I received a check for the money I rightfully earned and most certainly deserved. A ver

    • Why bi-weekly and bi-weekly alone?

      You pay your bills once per month. So, why not get paid once per month?

      I know some people in the US that were originally paid monthly and then shortly after having been put on the bi-weekly pay noticed that for some reason they were more prone to spend almost beyond their means on the bi-weekly pay instead of the monthly pay.

      The part about getting paid any and all wages the day after you are no longer with the company for some reason sounds quite good though.
      • As someone who lives in a country where the standard is to pay monthly, I would LOVE to have been paid bi weekly (back when I had a day job).
      • Why bi-weekly and bi-weekly alone?

        You pay your bills once per month. So, why not get paid once per month?

        I can think of a few reasons:

        • I was paid biweekly at my last job, and am paid monthly now. I take care not to spend outside of my means (I have a wife and kid), but it's still a bit nerve wracking to see the degree to which the bank statement falls over the course of a month. (Your friends' experience notwithstanding: maybe now that they're monthly they're just nervous enough to pay attention. Those of
  • by GPLDAN (732269) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @06:29PM (#15080517)
    Jean Louis Gassee sounds like a more interesting character in the Apple saga. An outrageous Frenchman who wore leather pants and was completely power mad. I love the stories of the infighting as well, as Gassee and others would rip Sculley behind his back and then deny it to his face.

    Gassee really screwed up trying to develop his own RISC processor and his DRAM debacle showed him the door.

    How come this type of biography seems only to be available for Apple? What about Cisco or Microsoft? Is anybody doing an inside blog of the cutthroat politics of Google? When they announced a Dutch Auction for their IPO, Wall Street practically launched a smear campaign against the company to protest their lack of first dibs. I bet that has some great stories behind it.
    • by mccalli (323026) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @07:54PM (#15081046) Homepage
      How come this type of biography seems only to be available for Apple?

      If you like this kind of stuff, you might be interested in On The Edge: The Spectacular Rise and Fall of Commodore [commodorebook.com]. A very interesting read to anyone who was around at the time, in my case for the C64 and Amiga era - I missed out on the PETs.

      The book talks about brushes with both Jobs and Woz as well - in fact it's significantly less than flattering to Apple and isn't exactly shining about Woz's ability as an engineer. I'm an Apple fan and have a number of their machines, but I've read enough positive things over the years to find it quite refreshing to read a negative view as well. The book is, to descend into cliche for a moment, a rattling good read.

      Cheers,
      Ian

      • "The book talks about brushes with both Jobs and Woz as well - in fact it's significantly less than flattering to Apple and isn't exactly shining about Woz's ability as an engineer. I'm an Apple fan and have a number of their machines, but I've read enough positive things over the years to find it quite refreshing to read a negative view as well."

        Well, if you compare the Amiga with the Mac, you will see that the Amiga is clearly superior of the two, so there might be some truth in their comments about Woz.
    • Gassee really screwed up

      Gassee really screwed up because he thought the exit of Steve Jobs left an opening for another Steve Jobs. However, MULTIPLE books not even ABOUT Gassee make it clear that he was just playing visionary instead of actually being one. The only truly fascinating work Gassee ever did at Apple was to take apart and put back together a IIcx on stage.

  • by commodoresloat (172735) * on Thursday April 06, 2006 @06:31PM (#15080531)
    Michael Who?
  • Mr. "Road Apple" (Score:4, Informative)

    by rxmd (205533) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @06:31PM (#15080534) Homepage
    Spindler was the man behind several Road Apples [lowendmac.com], crippled Apple models that the company isn't particularly proud of.

    Basically, with the pressure to produce low-cost Apple models, Apple stripped high-end designs in retarded ways (such as the narrow data bus on the Classic II which made it 30% slower than the SE/30 released several years earlier) or designed new models by producing technically absurd add-ons to older models (like the Performa 5200 that was basically the motherboard from one of the last 32-bit 680x0 series with a 64-bit PowerPC 603 on top of it that ran at half the effective clock speed and all the multiplexing on the resulting two 32-bit system buses had to be done by the CPU in software). Definitely suboptimal, and Apple fans today aren't particularly fond either to remember these all-time lows in Apple product history.
  • by diamondsw (685967) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @06:34PM (#15080552)
    Sculley may have had misplaced visions or pushed things before their time (Newton, Knowledge Navigator, etc), but Spindler was just asleep at the wheel running Apple. Under Spindler is when the Copland project went completely out of control, hardware focus vanished (there were some months when Apple would release over a dozen different Mac models, with no clear differentiation), and focus and strategy on the "classic" Mac OS was non-existant. There were all of six people writing the Mac OS when Gil Amelio came in - everyone else was assigned to Copland. There were over 20 separate marketing departments. OS releases were being shipped late and buggier than ever - they had to recall 7.5.4, and Open Transport shipped as a beta, and was horribly unstable for its first year of "production use".

    No, Spindler was asleep while the company went truly to hell. Amelio then came in with some business discipline, and Jobs finished the job with both vision and excellent execution.
    • by jcr (53032) <jcr&mac,com> on Thursday April 06, 2006 @06:50PM (#15080670) Journal
      No, Spindler was asleep while the company went truly to hell.

      Whatever he was, he certainly wasn't asleep.

      What he got from Sculley was a company where every first-line manager did whatever they damn well pleased. Apple was unmanageable, and the stress of trying to keep it alive nearly killed him. He didn't get a lid on it, Amelio didn't get a lid on it, and frankly, nobody could have until the company was on the brink.

      Steve didn't fire nearly as many people as the pundits would have you believe, and nearly all the people he did fire should have been shown the door many years earlier.

      -jcr
    • by mkiwi (585287) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @07:10PM (#15080795)
      Amelio then came in with some business discipline, and Jobs finished the job with both vision and excellent execution.

      I could not have said it better myself. Off with their heads!

    • I have to agree with you. I am nearly finished reading the book "Apple" by Jim Carlton. It's geared towards readers that are into business (ie very little low level tech is covered), but an interesting history indeed. From the references a LOT of the info in the book comes from interviews of various board members, engineers and other important people in Apple's history (including B. Gates). I had no idea how many projects apple had botched that could have been successful...

      Anyhow, to get to the point, Sp
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 06, 2006 @06:45PM (#15080641)
    Spindler is not "forgotten". People who were Apple customers and employees at that time will never forget him, and still curse his name to this day. Spindler had no idea what he was doing, no sense of vision, and no understanding of what it was any of the departments under him were doing. Under his "leadership" Apple drifted around like an untillered ship. Fascinating and groundbreaking technologies were fumbled due to lack of marketing or lack of management and either disappeared, or were coopted by Microsoft, on a constant basis. Revise history all you like, but Spindler as CEO was the worst thing to ever happen to Apple and Apple is extremely fortunate to have survived his tenure at all.
    • MOD PARENT UP (Score:3, Insightful)

      by linguae (763922)

      Spindler is not "forgotten". People who were Apple customers and employees at that time will never forget him, and still curse his name to this day. Spindler had no idea what he was doing, no sense of vision, and no understanding of what it was any of the departments under him were doing.

      Exactly. During Spindler's tenure we got:

      • Pathetic computers (such as the Power Mac x200 series [lowendmac.com] and the infamous PowerBook 5300 [lowendmac.com]). I just so happen to own a Performa 6220 (acquired through somebody giving it to me abou
      • Re:MOD PARENT UP (Score:3, Informative)

        by squiggleslash (241428)

        Apple could have destroyed Microsoft and Windows 95 with a real, modern Mac operating system like what Copland promised. But delays after delays stalled the project until it was finally cancelled. It would be interesting to see what a modern, non-Unix (and non-Windows) GUI OS looks like, but Apple completely rested on their laurels here, and users were stuck with crashy and ancient OS 7, 8, and 9 until 2001

        Well, hold on a moment. Yes, it'd be interesting to see what "a modern, non-Unix (and non-Windows)

    • Sheesh... the "diesel" hiding under his desk and having panic attacks. STFU already.

    • Dude, Spindler was nowhere near as ineffectual or just plain bad for Apple as was Gil Amelio. Apple did great things (in spite of) Spindler's time as CEO; Apple just withered under Amelio's direction, and Jobs had to swoop in and fix everything.

      Of course, had Amelio not been such a lousy CEO, Apple probably wouldn't be anything like it is today.
  • by diamondsw (685967) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @06:57PM (#15080715)
    There are so many things in there on the PowerPC development period that are just plain WRONG. There were two primary projects during this period - Jaguar and Cognac. Jaguar was a whole new platform, new OS, etc, that would have no backwards compatibility. Cognac was a classic Apple skunkworks, working on the dynamic 68K emulator that allowed a smooth transition. When Cognac succeeded and had a demo welcoming people to try and "break the emulator" (which succeeded extremely well), the Jaguar project was cancelled.

    Meanwhile, the idea that "all we got from Copland was the nanokernal and text encoding" is just bullshit. Open Transport, Appearance Manager, HFS+, the nanokernal (which was only somewhat used), V-Twin (which became the early Sherlock) - hell, almost all of the API's we got from 7.6 through 8.6 were pulled from the Copland work.

    (Of course, what does any of this have to do with Spindler? Not sure here either.)
  • There were problems with working for such a young company, though. Spindler went without payment for almost six months because Apple didn't know how to move funds from California to Belgium."

    Give me a break. Ya go down to your bank and do a wire transfer. Was Apple so stupid that someone couldn't have done that? I'd guess that they *did* know how and the author didn't get his facts straight.
  • Bazooka Bob, eh? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by wilgaa (866575)
    Yeah, and Spindler was the the one whose 'last straw' was:

    1. Curving his hand like he was holding a can of Pepsi.
    2. Putting his hand around his mouth.
    3. Blushed, and went "Bzzzzzzzzzzh!"

    And yes, folks, to add insult to injury, that was a coporate party!!! He embarassed the ENTIRE staff!!!

    That was (or at least one of) the straws that resulted in him being replaced by Amelio.

    How ironic, isn't it, then, that you had the cycle of:

    1. Sculley (Coke)
    2. Spindler (Pepsi)
    3. Amelio (Coke)

    Oh, and I bet they during eac
  • That would the end of Apple and the Macintosh all together. IBM drops non-profitable divisions like a dirty set of underwear. If anything, that was the highlight of Spindler's tenure.
  • The article fails to mention a golden parachute - though I am sure he received one. Is he still around? Or is he living off his past?

  • Pay and IT (Score:2, Informative)

    by JohnCC (534168)
    I think the IT industry must be unique in the way that they are always late paying their staff yet most companies have the know-how to knock-up and el-cheapo payroll system. All the IT jobs I've worked in are late payers and have to be frequently reminded that the money they are spending on luxeries and lunches is actually my salary. Is anyone here in the IT industry (particulary programming) and paid on-time?
  • by gelfling (6534) on Friday April 07, 2006 @08:11AM (#15083248) Homepage Journal
    Where I could be a bipolar fuckup and they pay me hundreds of millions of dollars to act in a soap opera. That would be awesome.
    • you'd think that people on slashdot would be a little more enlightened than to engage in bigotry and prejudice. but here you are, proving me wrong.

      i don't know how else to put it. you're an asshole who is prejudiced against people with mental illnesses. if spindler was a paraplegic or had cerebral palsy, would you be criticizing his job performance because of that? mental illness is just another disability. lots of people with mental illnesses function just fine when treated with medication and therapy. you
      • Or are you too young and innocent to have never worked for clinically insane toxic assholes yet? Yeah boo hoo, people are sick. Now take your leave of absence and stop fucking over all the people who's jobs depend on you.

        And please please shut the white liberal guilt fuck up.
  • This article and a conversation I had today got me thinking: Are there Professors of Computer History? It's an awfully new thing, being less than 100 years old, but computers have had such a remarkable impact on society and the world, and it's not going to stop. It bears studying. I've been part of the making of this history for twenty years now, be it as a user, a reporter, or working with developers and trying to wear pants too big to fit. Is there a future job for me in this?

    thinking different(ly) as alw

Just because he's dead is no reason to lay off work.

Working...