Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Apple story

One of the best stories about American-Japanese relations I've heard. Better even than the Crazy People ad, interestingly enough also involving Sony. Note that it's talking about how Apply initially needed to get a floppy drive working, and the Apple engineers had to work around the complete looniness of Steve Jobs:

They hatched an alternative plan to continue to work with Sony surreptitiously, against Steve's wishes. Larry Kenyon was given a Sony drive to interface to the Mac, but he was told to keep it hidden, especially from Steve. Bob and George also arranged meetings with Sony, to discuss the customizations that Apple desired and to hammer out the beginnings of a business deal.

This dual strategy entailed frequent meetings with both Alps and Sony, with the added burden of keeping the Sony meetings secret from Steve. It wasn't that hard to do in Japan, since Steve didn't come along, but it got a little awkward when Sony employees had to visit Cupertino. Sony sent a young engineer named Hide Kamoto to work with Larry Kenyon to spec out the modifications that we required. He was sitting in Larry's cubicle with George Crow when we suddenly heard Steve Jobs's voice as he unexpectedly strode into the software area.

George knew that Steve would wonder who Kamoto-san was if he saw him. Thinking quickly, he immediately tapped Kamoto-san on his shoulder, and spoke hurriedly, pointing at the nearby janitorial closet. "Dozo, quick, hide in this closet. Please! Now!"

Kamoto-san looked confused but he got up from his seat and hurried into the dark janitorial closet. He had to stay there for five minutes or so until Steve departed and the coast was clear.

George and Larry apologized to Kamoto-san for their unusual request. "No problem.", he replied, "But American business practices, they are very strange. Very strange."

Ah Apple. When you released the puck mouse, I guess you hadn't learned anything.

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