Friday, January 27, 2006

The Pixar-Disney Deal and Steve Jobs

Much hay has been mown in the Apple blogosphere this week about Disney buying out Pixar. I'll spare you the links... mostly because I should be working and don't have time to "digg" them out. But Robert Cringely had a slightly different take that I found interesting:

The guy had 80 percent of his wealth tied-up in Pixar. That kind of holding is very difficult to sell on the open market. A $4 billion sell order? I don't think so. Remember this is someone who less than two years ago had a form of pancreatic cancer that has only a 50 percent five-year survival rate. I'm not saying Jobs is going to die, but I AM saying that he is in a position where he has to think about these things and his financial position at Pixar was untenable for his family, and left him too exposed if Cars turns out to be a lemon.

So according to Cringely, the Pixar deal was all about Steve's retirement and/or planning for his family's future. OK, I'll buy that as much as any take.

But that also re-raises the awful spectre of Steve's close brush with death in 2004. By all accounts, his cancer was nipped in the bud, but let me re-ask the question that has been raised many times since then: What happens if SJ leaves Apple, or, worse, kicks it? If you're like me, you can't imagine Apple today without Steve Jobs at the helm. How many companies that you can you think of have made the kind of dramatic turnaround over 5 or 6 years that Apple has? It may be just an illusion, but is sure seems like SJ is primarily responsible for that turnaround. Some may say he's an evil genius creating white computers to cover up a deal with the devil, but I'm a believer, and I'm not ready to see my saviour sacrifice himself so the computing world may have its sins forgiven.

Ugh! did I really just write such a tasteless metaphor? I think I need to focus more of my energies on writing poetry again; I'm losing my touch.

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