Apple in '85: Two halves that hated one another

From Jean Louis Gassée’s “50 Years in Tech Part 10” Hard Landing In Cupertino:


I landed in Cupertino in 1985, and was put in charge of Apple’s engineers. This didn’t happen painlessly, especially as Steve Jobs was forced out of the company — an event that would ultimately prove a stroke of luck for him and the company he co-founded…

I benefited from the fact that no one on the exec team had computer engineering experience, many coming instead from the consumer goods industry, companies such as Pepsi, J. Walter Thompson, and Playtex.

Worse, I inherited two large organizations that hated one another.

The Mac group was ailing but thought of itself as much superior to the “traditional” (read stodgy) Apple ][ engineers, calling them bozos and other charming names. The Apple ][ people thought the Mac folks were a bunch of arrogant, ungrateful bastards. After all (they said), it was the Apple ][ that paid everyone’s salaries; the Mac was just a pretty demo.

My mission was simple — or simple to state, at least: Get the Mac out of the ditch and create a cohesive organization that unites the engineers.

As we’ll see in the next two parts of this series, culture (not technology) and my own emotions were to be the most difficult challenges.

My take: Gassée, who has been using the excellent Monday Note blog to serialize his 50 Years in Tech, is getting to the good parts.