Apple co-founder Steve Jobs felt compelled to help some of Silicon Valley’s brightest minds, offering advice to Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg and his competitive rival, Google’s Larry Page, viewing himself as an elder statesman with a responsibility to impart advice, excerpts from “Steve Jobs,” an authorised biography by Walter Isaacson, reveal.
Bloomberg was able to secure an advanced copy of the book, which goes on sale on October 24, detailing Steve Jobs’ connections to Apple’s biggest rivals.
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One account tells of a time where Google’s Larry Page requested a meeting with Jobs, who at the time was loathed to meet the Google chief because of the search giant’s entry into the smartphone market with its Android operating system following the introduction of the iPhone in 2007.
However, Jobs reversed his decision to meet with Page after reflecting on how meeting Hewlett Packard co-founder William Hewlett had helped him when he was starting out in his own career. Page, who had just taken over from Eric Schmidt, received some pretty telling advice from Jobs, who warned him that Google could turn into Microsoft unless it cut its bloat and focused on its products:
“I described the blocking and tackling he would have to do to keep the company from getting flabby or being larded with B players,” Jobs said of the meeting with Page this year in his living room. “Figure out what Google wants to be when it grows up. It’s now all over the map. What are the five products you want to focus on? Get rid of the rest, because they’re dragging you down. They’re turning you into Microsoft.”
After that meeting, Jobs was intent on meeting other executives in the following months, recognising the impact that Silicon Valley had on his life, career and successes, noting that he should repay some of the support he had received:
“I will continue to do that with people like Mark Zuckerberg, too,” Jobs said. “That’s how I’m going to spend part of the time I have left. I can help the next generation remember the lineage of great companies here and how to continue the tradition. The Valley has been very supportive of me. I should do my best to repay.”
Isaacson’s biography features over 40 interviews with Steve Jobs, a book that Jobs reportedly authorised so that his children would be able to know him better. The book experienced a 41800% sales boost on Amazon on the day of Jobs’ death, with the release date being brought forward as a result.