Former Apple-Hater Stewart Alsop: Steve Jobs Keeps Rocking My World

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The other day the editorial staff of The Mac Observer was sitting down to our daily meeting in the luxurious TMO Towers, and decided to compile a list of 1001 Things We Think Will Happen This Week. Stewart Alsop heaping praise on Apple and Steve Jobs didnit make that list. Even had we continued that list into the 2001 area, itis still doubtful he would have made it, yet he has done just that.

Stewart Alsop is an investor/pundit who was notoriously furious at Apple for buying NeXT instead of the company he had invested in, Be, Inc. Apple was choosing between Be and NeXT when it was shopping for a new operating system, and eventually chose NeXT, bringing Steve Jobs back to Apple, where he quickly took over again.

Note that all of the versions of Mr. Alsopis 1997 Fortune article, titled "Appleis next move misses the mark," that we could find have actually been pulled since the original publication. The closest thing we could find that was still active was a follow-up article (subscription required to see the full article) in 1998 by Mr. Alsop where he claims to have been right about his negative prognostications concerning Apple. We also found an open letter from Scott Lawton of Prefab Software that rebuts Mr. Alsopis letter, and includes several quotes from it.

In addition to being tense about the buyout of NeXT, Mr. Alsop moved his own investment firm to Windows in 1997, but has since returned to the Mac fold. Since that time, he has also written praising words for Appleis flat-panel iMac, but it is the new article that we really found to be surprising.

In that article, titled "Iive Bitten the Apple: Steve Jobs Keeps Rocking My World," Mr. Alsop lathers on the praise as if he were in a remake of Shampoo. From the article:

This is almost embarrassing, but I actually want to say really nice things about someone: Steve Jobs, CEO simultaneously of Apple Computer and Pixar Animation Studios.

I read John Battelleis column in Business 2.0, FORTUNEis sister magazine, in which he recommends that Jobs buy TiVo--my favorite company because it provides a great service and because my firm made more on it than on any of my other portfolio companies. (The partnership still owns shares.) I absolutely believe that TiVo should remain independent, so I was all set to write a pissy e-mail to Battelle. Instead, I began thinking about all the things that Steve Jobs has brought to computing. Itis remarkable, and more apparent now than ever.

In the past month Jobs has unveiled the iTunes Music Store with Apple and Finding Nemo with Pixar. The music initiative required Jobsi visionary personality to get the record labels over their deep fears of distributing music online. At the same time Jobsi vision of making popular movies has been so successful that Pixar is now in a position to negotiate mano a mano with Walt Disney Co., which is worth more than ten times as much and generates 100 times as much revenue.

The article goes on to list some of the many things Mr. Alsop loves about Apple and the products that have been created at that company under Steve Jobs. He closes with more words of praise, and the admonition that Apple should leave TiVo alone. We recommend the full article as a good read.

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