INFINITE LOOP by Michael S. Malone


How Apple, the World's Most Insanely Great Computer Company, Went Insane
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A long-winded invective against Steve Jobs, infamous co-founder of the Apple Computer company. Malone relates with glee how Jobs’s brilliance, his blindness to the demands of industry, and his charisma together nearly killed the company, which stands today as a small player in the midst of the industry it created. Malone grew up with Jobs and cof-ounder Steve Wozniak, and has covered Apple and Silicon Valley as a journalist for the Wall Street Journal and Forbes, among others. He exhibits a techie’s obsession with detail, listing the date of every occurrence from minor memos to the yearly MacWorld Expos, where the board of directors almost routinely got fired and reassembled. Malone begins with his own memories of Jobs in highschool, the lonely, brilliant nerd who defied authority and got his way by pure charm. He describes the young Wozniak, an engineering wizard who created a disk drive in time for the biggest computer show in the country, then realized he needed programs to make it work—which he wrote the night before the show. Together, Jobs and Wozniak lifted the personal computer from the domain of techie geeks to the wide world of business and the individual comsumers. But they didn—t create a company. They incited a cult. Where the company went wrong, according to Malone, was in its utter lack of management and foresight. Jobs consistently and contemptuously stymied his colleagues” efforts to instill workable operating systems and consistent product quality. The company inspired serflike loyalty, but Apple had no core. Malone calls the company a Chinese stacking box: when it is unpacked layer by layer, nothing is left. By association, he implies, Jobs was the same: an egomaniacal spin wizard who managed to fool the world into thinking Apple (and he) had direction and credibility, when in fact all it (and he) had was a bunch of ingenious ideas, with no method for integrating them. An exhaustive eulogy to a once-great company that changed the world but fell prey to its own antiestablishment fervor.

Pub Date: April 13th, 1999
ISBN: 0-385-48684-7
Page count: 608pp
Publisher: Doubleday
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1999


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