One sticking point was that Jobs wanted his payout to be in cash. Amelio
insisted that he needed to “have skin in the game” and take the payout in
stock that he would agree to hold for at least a year. Jobs resisted. Finally,
they compromised: Jobs would take $120 million in cash and $37 million
in stock, and he pledged to hold the stock for at least six months.
As usual Jobs wanted to have some of their conversation while taking a walk.
While they ambled around Palo Alto, he made a pitch to be put on Apple’s board.
Amelio tried to deflect it, saying there was too much history to do something like
that too quickly. “Gil, that really hurts,” Jobs said. “This was my company. I’ve been
left out since that horrible day with Sculley.” Amelio said he understood, but he was
not sure what the board would want. When he was about to begin his negotiations
with Jobs, he had made a mental note to “move ahead with logic as my drill sergeant”
and “sidestep the charisma.” But during the walk he, like so many others, was caught
in Jobs’s force field. “I was hooked in by Steve’s energy and enthusiasm,” he recalled.
After circling the long blocks a couple of times, they returned to the house just as Laurene
and the kids were arriving home. They all celebrated the easy negotiations, then Amelio
rode off in his Mercedes. “He made me feel like a lifelong friend,” Amelio recalled. Jobs
indeed had a way of doing that. Later, after Jobs had engineered his ouster, Amelio would
look back on Jobs’s friendliness that day and note wistfully, “As I would painfully discover,
it was merely one facet of an extremely complex personality.”
After informing Gassée that Apple was buying NeXT, Amelio had what turned out to be an
even more uncomfortable task: telling Bill Gates. “He went into orbit,” Amelio recalled. Gates
found it ridiculous, but perhaps not surprising, that Jobs had pulled off this coup. “Do you
really think Steve Jobs has anything there?” Gates asked Amelio. “I know his technology,
it’s nothing but a warmed-over UNIX, and you’ll never be able to make it work on your
machines.” Gates, like Jobs, had a way of working himself up, and he did so now: “Don’t
you understand that Steve doesn’t know anything about technology? He’s just a super
salesman. I can’t believe you’re making such a stupid decision. . . . He doesn’t know
anything about engineering, and 99% of what he says and