The hard-hitting personal story of the former CEO of Apple, Gil Amelio. Here he offers an expose of corporate folly and his encounter with it over 500 turbulent days. Also covered is the enigma that is Apple; the icons of Silicon Valley; and the full story of the blame for Apple's failings.
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It's hard to think of a company that has captured the public imagination as much as Apple Computer. The rise and fall of the business that single-handedly created the PC market and then let it slip away has been the fodder for several books, most notably Insanely Great by Steven Levy and more recently Jim Carlton's Apple: The Inside Story of Intrigue, Egomania, and Business Blunders. Now in On The Firing Line, former Apple CEO Gil Amelio tells his own story about his 500 days at Apple.
The book provides some insight into the significant events that occurred under Amelio's watch, such as Apple's failed in-house development of Copland, the search to license an operating system for the Macintosh, as well as details about those who would buy Apple including Sun Microsystems and Oracle. But the real focus of the book is Amelio's own frustrations in working with Apple's chaotic and undisciplined culture as well as Steve Jobs, the man who would eventually fire him. Although Amelio's account is at times overly self-serving, On the Firing Line is an interesting read that should interest most Macaholics.From the Publisher:
"Apple is on its way out of business. The only thing that can save it is a strong leader, somebody who can rally employees, the press, users, and developers."
Steve Jobs to Gil Amelio, proposing himself as Apple chairman several months before Amelio was chosen by the Apple board"
Gil Amelio's hard-hitting and frank account of his life as CEO of Apple Computer begins with this astonishing, never-before-revealed encounter. Five hundred tumultuous days later, Jobs himself would play a prominent role in influencing Apple's board of directors to fire Amelio.
On the Firing Line: My 500 Days at Apple is Gil Amelio's gripping and fast-paced recollection of what happened, told from his unique perspective as the occupant of Apple's hot seat. This is the revealing story of how a proven high-technology turnaround artist took on the biggest challenge of his career -- and perhaps his life.
Nothing could have prepared Amelio for the chaos that greeted him when he took over as CEO. First there was the reversal he suffered at the hands of the in-house legal staff from day one that rendered his highly touted compensation package a sham. Then, rapidly, came the spiraling maelstrom of problems -- financial, organizational and creative -- that threatened daily to sweep him and Apple into oblivion.
Amelio quickly uncovered the truth that the company was hemorrhaging both dollars and talent. He immediately plunged into a multifaceted rescue effort that included an extensive fund-raising campaign to solve Apple's cash-flow problem and fevered negotiations for a new Macintosh operating system with luminaries such as Jean-Louis Gassie, Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs.
In his own words, Amelio exposes a company that continually undermines its own best efforts, with financial officers using out-of-date systems that take weeks to process the most elementary data and sales executives being accused of "channel stuffing" -- strong-arming retailers to buy computers they didn't need in order to make the company's quarterly sales look better.
In this compelling and highly readable story, Amelio gives credit where credit is due. But he also reaches beyond the damning headlines to candidly apportion blame for Apple's failures -- even when the person to blame is himself.
At once a frank revelation of the inner workings of Apple and a cautionary tale of business in today's changing marketplace, On the Firing Line is a must-read for Apple devotees and anyone interested in the politics of today's digital economy.
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