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Apple: The inside Story of Intrigue, Egomania, and Business Blunders [Hardcover]

Jim Carlton
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Oct 1997
This book, written by a Wall Street Journal technology reporter, is the most detailed study to date of the past decade of Apple's turbulent history.  Jim Carlton walks us down company corridors, into the boardroom, and through barriers to research laboratories, and reveals a seething cauldron of petty infighting and buried secrets.

Through exhaustive interviews with more than 160 former Apple employees, industry experts, and competitors--including Bill Gates, Scully, and Amelio--Carlton discovers confidential memos, late night rendezvous, and fateful decisions that forever changed the company's path.  He portrays a company very different from the glamorous technology leader that designed computers for "the rest of us" and illuminates what might have been and what really happened to this once-great icon of American business.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 463 pages
  • Publisher: Times Books; 1 edition (Oct 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812928512
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812928518
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.7 x 4.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,741,246 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars As recommended by Douglas Adams 29 Mar 2013
By DJ Bez
Format:Paperback
In one of the internet's more spooky moments, a website relating to a 1998 game is not only still online but has some emails from Douglas Adams writ as if he were still alive - in one he recommends this book and says that he loves Apple technology but hates the company itself - [...]

On that recommendation I easily found the book here on Amazon, and can highly recommend it; if, and only if, you find these kind of business books of interest. Please trust me that when another reviewer says its 'like Dan Brown', don't worry, it isn't that bad!
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4.0 out of 5 stars How to tell a story 1 Jun 2004
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Jim Carlton manages to make a corporate history sound interesting, leaving chapters on cliffhangers a bit like DAN BROWN would ; he describes characters and meetings in such a funny, accurate way that your TV soaps pale in comparison... and then there is the story of the company that deserved to go bust at least three times, each time saved by the bell.
For anyone interested in the history of modern personal computers, a must read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.4 out of 5 stars  59 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good insights... lousy writing... 4 Dec 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
As an Apple employee I liked Jim Carlton's book because of the behind-the-scenes glimpses at a company that I love. But, geez, I've never read a book that needed a good editor more... there are literally sections that repeat themselves word for word (and how many times can we read a gushing description of Steve Jobs' "long flowing hair and rock-star good looks"? Give me a break. I also disagree with people here who say that he gives Apple a "fair shake". I found his portrayal quite biased and one-sided. Carlton's history of Apple is one that is full of major blunders that would have saved the company (his view). The reality is that, for all its missteps, Apple did a lot of things amazingly well... but you won't find that history in this biased book.
20 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Jim Carlton Was Wrong 2 Jun 2002
By Troy Dawson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Useful history and inside looks, but reading his 1998 back-of-the-hand dismissal of Apple's chances of survival is pretty humorous nowadays. His opinion that Apple should have licensed earlier is similarly wrong-headed and lacking in any technical appreciation of the downsides of licensing (dilution of brand,difficult QA processes, cherry-picking, loss of platform homogenieity ).
He similarly doesn't understand the silliness of Apple developing an x86 MacOS in the early 90's, and again reveals his technical ineptitude by failing to pursue the ramifications of an Apple-brand x86 offering (ie a Mac with an x86 CPU) vs a software-only offering like Windows or NeXT's Yellow Box.
He also repeatedly blows the 5300 battery issue out of proportion.
But I think the weakest theme in the book is that an alternative platform with less than 10% "marketshare" is automatically doomed to failure. While there is a strong positive network effect for the 'standard' and a negative effect for the alternatives, in his near-hagiography of Gates & Co he simply missed the bigger picture that the lamosity of the Wintel platform's inherent legacy issues is and was a countervening force.
5-10% of the total market is sufficiently large for Apple, given a) it's the top 5-10% and b) Micros~1 continues to [stink] as it always has.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book gave me the answers I was looking for...and more. 16 Oct 1997
By tmex@qni.com - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Apple Computer, in its heyday, was one of the most respected growth companies of this century. As a devoted Mac user, it's always been hard for me to comprehend how Apple managed to take one of the most innovative products of our time, the user-friendly personal computer, and fail to compete effectively long-term in the mass market.
This book gave me the answers I was looking for...and more. Not a dry corporate history book, Jim Carlton has gone to the heart of what went wrong in Apple by focusing on the personalities that shaped this company...and later led it to the brink of ruin.
The leaders of Apple could have come out of a Shakespearean play. As Shakespeare knew, hubris, or excessive pride, is the undoing of man. In the swollen egos of Apple's leaders, we see evidence of hubris with a capital "H".
Although we may fool ourselves into thinking that technological prowess and All-American competitiveness has lifted us above the men of Shakespeare's day, Jim Carlton's Apple brings us back to earth and reminds us that, above all else, it's the human element that makes or breaks a company.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting to see the accumulation of "could haves" 8 Dec 2004
By Robert Pratte - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
While others have noted the writing style (tolerable - I've seen far worse), the book as a whole is rather thorough and interesting. Granted, it was published before Apple's comeback, so there is (perhaps) too much emphasis upon the failures. However, the accumulated "could have" stories are interesting fare, things that may have been overlooked in the tale of a successful company's history. Here we see the flirtations with Sun, with Apollo, the AIM alliance and PowerPC, porting to x86 hardware, the Newton, and the spin-offs: webTV, Be, etc. Using hindsight 20/20, it seems that Jobs is under-represented. Yet, at the time of publication, I think that this book provided an accurate picture of how things seemed to line up.

I recommend this book, particularly to Apple fans and those interested in the history of computing. Additionally, this book is prime material for those interested in business blunders, particularly related to technology. For the latter group, this book makes a fine companion to the history of Xerox PARC, Dealers of Lightning. The works together provide a chilling view of how tecnhological innovation is often antithetical to business interests. I think that Carlton's work alone can make one consider the fate of technology in the hands of "big business".
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent history but unneccesary negative tone 17 Feb 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Aside from some negatives described below, I really enjoyed this book. Jim Carlton has obviously assembled an extensive history of Apple and it's people. You really get an inside look at Apple.
On the negative side, there are endless criticisms of Apple's blunders that are all too easy to make in hindsight.
It's also interesting to see how far Jim Carlton was off the mark in predicting Apple's demise. Since the book was completed Apple has made a tremendous turnaround. His book gives the impression that Apple's collapse was just around the corner. Now his book can be subjected to some 20/20 hindsight!
But this is still an excellent book and I highly recommend it.
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