Bizarro Steve Jobs

“Me kidnap real Steve Jobs, lock away in dungeon with rest of hippies. Now Bizarro Steve Jobs run Apple. Me want trade secret all to self. Me want hurt Worker Bee. Me get even with ATI. Me scare journalists. Me got munchies.... Go get potato chips for Bizarro Steve Jobs. Why room spinning? Bizarro Steve Jobs not like. Leakers bunking my high. Bad trip. Why Cheetah sitting so close to Solomon Grundy?”

—Bizarro Steve Jobs,
Excerpted from a transcription of a rant from the Hall of Doom, Cupertino, Calif. (pictured in background)

Artwork by David Nagel. Transcript acquired from anonymous source.

 




OPINION AUGUST 7 , 2000
Talkin' Smack: Invisible Men Are Stealing My Trade Secrets Too!

Why I sympathize with Apple's seemingly bizarre behavior

by David Nagel
Executive Producer
[email protected]

I usually try to stay away from writing stories about Apple itself. This site is about the tools that make this platform great, not about one company. However, that said, there are times when I can't resist—the times when Apple either does something so great or so bizarre that it simply can't be ignored.

Some might say Apple's recent rants, lawsuits and threats over leaks of its trade secrets would fall into the category of bizarre. In fact, judging from the behavior of Steve Jobs himself, one might even conclude that Apple's CEO had been usurped by some kind of evil double from the Bizarro planet and that Apple's boardroom had become the Hall of Doom. Perhaps, if one were to sit in on a board meeting, one might see gathered together all the greatest supervillians in history, slamming their fists on the podium as they blather on in tirades against the forces of truth and justice. I can see them now—Lex Luthor, the Joker, Solomon Grundy, Larry Ellison—grumbling with hate as Bizarro Steve Jobs stirs them to action against those who would report their secrets.

"Me kidnap real Steve Jobs, lock away in dungeon with rest of hippies. Now Bizarro Steve Jobs run Apple. Me want trade secret all to self. Me want hurt Worker Bee. Me get even with ATI. Me scare journalists. Me got munchies.... Go get potato chips for Bizarro Steve Jobs. Why room spinning? Bizarro Steve Jobs not like. Leakers bunking my high. Bad trip. Why Cheetah sitting so close to Solomon Grundy?"

I suppose that's possible—even probable. But maybe something else is going on. Maybe there really is a reason for Apple to fear the leaks. Maybe there's something going on here that we just can't understand, a high-level drama involving mystery and intrigue, betrayal, insanity and even death.

Here are the facts as we know them.

Steve Jobs had a secret. A big secret. Maybe the biggest, most important secret in history. Soon, very soon, Steve Jobs himself would reveal his secret to the drooling masses at the Macworld Expo. But, until then, it was a secret to be guarded at all costs.

The secret? Apple is going to repackage its existing technology.

Of course, the magnitude of such a secret cannot be overstated. New colors for iMacs. A new enclosure for the G4. A clear mouse. This was a secret to be shared with nobody except thousands of employees, partners and developers. Could you imagine what calamity would befall humankind if such information were revealed anywhere but on a stage at a convention center at a preordained date and time?

And then it happened. Betrayal. Somebody let the information slip. Suddenly, there were pictures of unannounced Apple products all over the Web. It was a worst-case scenario.

But Apple acted decisively. They made up a law that says journalists are bound by contracts they haven't signed and threatened to sue the editors of these sites for revealing trade secrets unless they took down the pictures. One site, Macintouch, took down the pictures and posted instead Apple's threatening letter, which, in essence, confirmed that the rumors of the new products were true.

So the lawyers were in on it too. Could Apple trust anyone?

Apparently not. For soon after, one of Apple's trusted partners, ATI, dared to reveal that its graphics systems would be used in Apple's new products. New products? Nobody's supposed to know about those, even though Apple itself leaked the information through its lawyers.

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