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Released DoJ Documents Show Darker Side of Steve Jobs


Nearly everyone has an opinion of Steve Jobs. Since his death in 2011, a bad movie, a weighty autobiography, and numerous anecdotes have surfaced – describing his inexhaustible ambition, his excitable, and his disrespect for others.

Perhaps you have heard pieces of the rumored fish tank incident? After painstakingly designing and building the world’s very first iPod, a team of engineers presented their creation to Jobs, who immediately rejected the mode. Too big. When the engineers pushed back – maintaining that they had “reinvented reinventing” to make the iPod its small size, Jobs dropped the prototype in a nearby aquarium. When bubbles floated to the surface, Jobs snapped, “Those are air bubbles. That means there’s space in there. Make it smaller.”

Many internal Apple correspondences have recently surfaced following a Department of Justice investigation into (illegal) wage fixing at tech companies. A recently unearthed document yields a revealing exchange between Jobs and Eric Schmidt, executive chairman at Google. Responding to an employee’s forbidden attempt to recruit out of Apple’s workforce, Schmidt summarily had the employee fired.

Jobs’ response – “ :) ”

Still, didn’t this man change the world? “Steve Jobs was a genius, and one of the most important businessmen and inventors of our time.” We idolize his determination, but he was a man that reveled in the termination of another’s livelihood. I love my iPhone, but – for what it’s worth – I’d pick a kinder world over a smartphone every time.


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More Stories By Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley writes on enterprise IT. He is a founder of Crucial Point and publisher of