Apple Confidential: The Real Story of Apple Computer, Inc.

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9781886411289: Apple Confidential: The Real Story of Apple Computer, Inc.

Journalist Owen Linzmayer explores Apple's tumultuous history, from its legendary founding, through a series of disastrous executive decisions, to its recent return to profitability. Backed by exhaustive research, the book debunks many of the myths and half-truths surrounding Apple, the Macintosh, and its creators. Linzmayer looks into secret archives, interviews key players, and tells the real stories behind the hype.

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Review:

Owen Linzmayer's Apple Confidential is subtitled The Real Story of Apple Computer, Inc., and while nobody will ever know the complete, "real" story about Apple, Linzmayer's is probably as close as they come. Having covered Apple news since 1980, he offers extensive insider details about Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, John Sculley, Gilbert Amelio, Bill Gates, and other major players whose lives were (and are) intertwined with Apple's history. And along the way, we also learn about lesser-known figures whose stories have remained hidden in the Apple myth: Ronald Gerald Wayne, for example, who was actually a partner with Wozniak and Jobs in the original incarnation of the company, but who sold his share when he realized he would be financially vulnerable if it should fail.

Linzmayer's tale does have a few drawbacks. Because he mixes a chronological narrative with chapters that focus on key points in the Apple story, he sometimes repeats himself. Case in point: the chapter "Big Bad Blunders" makes a great record of Apple's failures, but the story of the exploding Powerbook 5300s is duplicated at later points. Nonetheless, Apple Confidential is rife with gems that will appeal to Apple fanatics and followers of the computer industry. Especially enjoyable are the revelation of "Easter eggs" that are hidden in several versions of the Mac operating system; the many screen shots, timelines, and telling quotes from Jobs, Gates, Wozniak and others that populate the margins and concluding sections of each chapter; the "Code Names Uncovered" section that makes public the monikers of several secret Apple projects; and Bill Gates's 1985 letter to John Sculley and Jean Louis Gassee pleading for Apple to license Mac technology and develop a "standard personal computer." --Patrick O'Kelley

About the Author:

Owen W. Linzmayer is a San Francisco-based freelance writer who has been covering Apple since 1980. He has written four other Macintosh books including The Mac Bathroom Reader (Sybex). Owen's website is available at http://www.owenink.com/confidential.html.

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