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Old Jan 9, 2013, 11:03 AM   #1
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Former Anobit CEO Discusses Acquisition by Apple, Contrasts Cultures of Apple and Intel




Just over a year ago, Apple acquired Israeli flash memory firm Anobit, and now that Anobit founder and CEO Ariel Maislos has left the company to start his next venture he has been able to share some details on his experiences with Apple. ZDNet covers an interview with Maislos at a recent meeting of the Israel Semiconductor Club, an event where Maislos shared details about how the acquisition came about and how Apple's culture compares to that of Intel, another company Anobit had worked closely with.

On the acquisition front, Maislos noted that Anobit wasn't looking for a particular exit for the venture but that an existing relationship with Apple developed to the point where an acquisition made sense for both sides.
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"We had already had a close working relationship with Apple," Maislos revealed. "When you are working in the flash memory industry, it's kind of hard not to come across Apple at some point, as a partner or a customer - and they were a very big customer. We developed a very good relationship with them, and a mutual appreciation developed between both companies."
Maislos contrasts the culture and expectations at Apple with those of Intel, which had previously invested $32 million in Anobit during an earlier financing round, noting that Apple's return from the brink of bankruptcy in the late 1990s has instilled expectations of excellence that simply don't exist at Intel.
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While Intel engineers are given assignments and are rewarded for ingenuity and creativity, he said, it's a given at Apple that engineers will be at the top of their game. "At Apple, you have to run ahead just to stay in place, and there are very high expectations of everyone. Apple expects everything you do to be amazing.

"That is not the case at Intel, where no one expects you to be 'amazing'," said Maislos, although Intel does reward those who give their "A+ game".
Maislos went on to note that Apple is extremely focused on its goals, demanding much more personal excellence than Intel or perhaps any other tech company.

Maislos is of course not a neutral observer, given the close relationship he has had with Apple and the exit it provided for Anobit's founders, but his comments do provide a small glimpse at how an experienced outsider transitioning from partner to employee views Apple's culture.

Article Link: Former Anobit CEO Discusses Acquisition by Apple, Contrasts Cultures of Apple and Intel
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 11:10 AM   #2
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Different cultures drive different results, and customer experience.
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 11:12 AM   #3
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Expecting A+ always vs rewarding A+... different approaches and yet both are leading the same road albeit different markets.
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 12:42 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by jav6454 View Post
Expecting A+ always vs rewarding A+... different approaches and yet both are leading the same road albeit different markets.
I wonder what A+ is responsible for iTunes 11. And the swiss railway clock disaster. And you can't fix maps with a dozen A+ people, but you can with 1000 B-.

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Originally Posted by GuitarDTO View Post
One of my favorite parts of the Jobs biography was the talk about how he didn't want "B team" players at Apple, only A team players. *Sounds like they still carry that approach. *Not many companies do it that way either, there are always B team players. *It's fascinating I think.
That's the correct approach for players. But there is tons of work that needs doing, and I think the players are overstretched.

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Originally Posted by powers74 View Post
If it weren't for the Microsoft bailout they would have.
That's nonsense.
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 12:56 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by gnasher729 View Post

That's nonsense.
Yeah, after reading a couple articles, the loan was only $150M when they had over a B in the bank at the time. Who know why these things happen. Essentially covered some marketing costs.

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Originally Posted by mjtomlin View Post
The funding from Microsoft was nothing more than a publicity stunt.
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Originally Posted by shawnce View Post
In most ways Microsoft's investment was symbolic and orchestrated by Steve and Bill to help both Apple's image of relevance and Microsoft's image of playing well with others (facing down anti-trust issues at the time).

Yikes, didn't mean to start that landslide.
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 01:49 PM   #6
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Interesting points.

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Originally Posted by gnasher729 View Post
I wonder what A+ is responsible for iTunes 11. And the swiss railway clock disaster. And you can't fix maps with a dozen A+ people, but you can with 1000 B-.
While my experience with Maps is excellent I have to agree iTunes 11 is a complete disaster. Frankly it has been years since I've seen such a crappy piece of software from Apple. ITunes 11 stinks and has more bugs than software written by a 11 year old. In fact some 11 year olds produce better software.
Quote:
That's the correct approach for players. But there is tons of work that needs doing, and I think the players are overstretched.



That's nonsense.
In any event I just had to put in my two cents with respect to Maps and iTunes 11. Relatively Maps rocks and always gets me to where I'm going. ITunes 11 can't even get simple things right like ending a movie and returning to the right place in your library. In a nut shell iTunes 11 is utter garbage.

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Originally Posted by mjtomlin View Post
The funding from Microsoft was nothing more than a publicity stunt. $150 million when Apple had a couple billion in cash, does not make a "save." At the time Steve took over, Apple's operating costs and product lines were out of control. They were hemorrhaging money and were very close to bankruptcy; the $150 million from Microsoft would've only lasted a week or two.
150 million can go an awfully long way. However your position isn't supported by what is publicly know about the company at the time. They where indeed very close to being bankrupt with the common figure bandied about of less than 90 days before the bankruptcy became real.
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The Microsoft "deal" consisted of several things and probably were somewhat responsible for helping to save Apple - at least in public perception...

Microsoft would "invest" $150 million in Apple.
They would promise to continue develop Office for Mac.
Apple would drop all patent litigation.
They would both agree to cross-licensing (of current technology) for the next ten years.
That investment was far more important than you imply.
Quote:
What really saved Apple was Steve Jobs trimming off all the fat. Allowing the money they did have to last longer giving them time to refocus, develop new products and get them on the market.
Trimming the fat allowed Apple to move forward when it otherwise would not have been able to do so. You however make the implication that they had all sorts of money, that isn't the case at all. 2 billion in the bank doesn't mean much if you can't cover expenses every month.
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 01:51 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by carmenodie View Post
KFC has been frying of chicken for over 40 years in a row and that sh** is still fingering licking good.
Not sure what you mean here. It's still fast food level chicken. You can get better tasting chicken in lots of other places.

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Originally Posted by 12dylan34 View Post
Steve came back by Apple acquiring NEXT and made the famous chart with consumer and professional on one axis and portable and desktop on the other. He minimized their computer line to 4 products, which, along with some funding from Microsoft, saved the company.
The funding did nothing but appease the ignorant. As did the MS Office commitment. Of course MS was going to keep making Office, it makes them money. That's why they kept making it after the five year commitment expired.

Minimizing the computer line, and the courage to break a few molds (i.e. the iMac form factor) is what "saved" the company.

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Originally Posted by macingman View Post
They were VERY close to bankruptcy however. Around 90 days away from bankruptcy in fact.
Apple had $4billion in the bank, and the previous $750million dollar loss was from write-downs. The public and press failed to understand this and thought "Apple is going down."
[/QUOTE]

Quote:
Originally Posted by gnasher729 View Post
I wonder what A+ is responsible for iTunes 11. And the swiss railway clock disaster. And you can't fix maps with a dozen A+ people, but you can with 1000 B-.
I wouldn't call the swiss railway clock a distaster. An oops, sure, but not a disaster.

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Originally Posted by Rodimus Prime View Post
Difference is one leads to burn out and once does not.
It could also be said one use the stick for everything and the other use a carrot
Note that giving your A-game does not necessarily mean working long hours or stressing. I'd love to work in a place where my A-game was expected, encouraged, and celebrated.
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 12:43 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by jav6454 View Post
Expecting A+ always vs rewarding A+... different approaches and yet both are leading the same road albeit different markets.
Difference is one leads to burn out and once does not.
It could also be said one use the stick for everything and the other use a carrot
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 11:13 AM   #9
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Just another company for Apple to ruin. Or maybe... miraculously.... it'll be a decent partnership/buyout.
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 11:15 AM   #10
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Just another company for Apple to ruin. Or maybe... miraculously.... it'll be a decent partnership/buyout.
Man why so cynical? Apple ruined your company or something?
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 11:30 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by SmileyBlast! View Post
Man why so cynical? Apple ruined your company or something?
Apple manages to do that to most companies it acquires...
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 12:24 PM   #12
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Man why so cynical? Apple ruined your company or something?
And even if they did...at least the paid you for it
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 11:15 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Squilly View Post
Just another company for Apple to ruin. Or maybe... miraculously.... it'll be a decent partnership/buyout.

And I guessed right. One of the new visitors
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 12:31 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Squilly View Post
Just another company for Apple to ruin. Or maybe... miraculously.... it'll be a decent partnership/buyout.
Are you a Samsung marketing employee? I was reading about a less publicized Samsung marketing tactic the other day. It involves hiring regular forum Trolls to wage a war of attrition against Apple to tarnish their brand.
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 02:22 PM   #15
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Are you a Samsung marketing employee? I was reading about a less publicized Samsung marketing tactic the other day. It involves hiring regular forum Trolls to wage a war of attrition against Apple to tarnish their brand.
Umm... No. Although that would be a decent job...

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Originally Posted by iglobe View Post
Anti-apple company ceo
Then why would I be here?

Logic?
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 12:56 PM   #16
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my guess

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Just another company for Apple to ruin. Or maybe... miraculously.... it'll be a decent partnership/buyout.
Anti-apple company ceo
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 01:09 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by carmenodie View Post
KFC has been frying of chicken for over 40 years in a row and that sh** is still fingering licking good.
Are you saying Apple is the KFC of consumer electronics?

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Originally Posted by daftpunker909 View Post
Sounds good on paper.
Toilet paper?

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Originally Posted by Nunyabinez View Post
I take exception to the slam on Intel. I worked for Intel for 3 years as a marketing manager before I returned to get a Ph.D, and to say that they don't expect excellence out of employees is B.S.

I love the great things that Apple does, but it's not like there is a bunch of crap coming out of Intel. This guy is just taking a shot at a former partner. Intel has always had the reputation of hiring the best and brightest. Maybe Apple is wringing more out of their employees, but Intel is no slouch at innovation and consistent, quality improvement.
I don't think it was a slam on Intel - he wasn't saying Intel doesn't hire great people who do great work, just that if you spent a day at Intel doing merely good work you wouldn't be worried about keeping your job. Sounds like working at Apple must be horrible, to be honest!

----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by TennisandMusic View Post
Actually Apple is known in the industry for having pretty average pay. It's actually one of the reasons they don't get the "best" people overall. Lower pay, and a culture that is pretty controlling.

Google is known for getting the best engineers. Excellent pay, excellent work environment, and a much more creative and "open" culture.

You can look into this stuff yourself, if you don't believe me.
I'm an Apple fanboy, but I know where I'd rather work! (Not that either of them would hire me, of course!)
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 07:07 PM   #18
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Just another company for Apple to ruin. Or maybe... miraculously.... it'll be a decent partnership/buyout.
What are you talking about?

Any one can talk I suppose, but it does not mean the talk makes any sense.
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 02:11 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Joe-Diver View Post
Different cultures drive different results, and customer experience.
And...Apple is quite different than Intel or other giant (people size) companies...Apple makes what?...6 computers, 3 different iPods, 1 iPhone, and 1 iPad...all of which are aimed 99.94% at consumers. Intel makes a LOT more products and so tons of other places...what about Microsoft and it's mass of software and business services/support? What about GE or IBM or other companies with employee counts over 20,000?

Another item is that if you want the A+ team every day, you need to pay them. I'm not saying Apple employees are millionaires, but they're not going to be working there for the same $$ as other places. And the other places aren't complacent or lazy employees, it's just a different culture. Apple often seems to be super super stressful and many of their eggs are in 1 basket (iTunes fails and there go the iPods, iPads, iPhones, music sales, etc).

I'm sure it's very exciting to work at Apple, but I think it would feel like you're always working at a startup company where every day could seemingly be the last day of business and every single solitary thing must be 100.00000% perfect.
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 11:12 AM   #20
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This is not surprising at all. Steve Jobs instilled a commitment to excellence in Apple and it shows. Doesn't mean everything will always be perfect but compared to their competitors it is quite obvious. Dell, HP, Samsung, Motorola, and the rest of their competitors seem to operate around something quite different.
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 11:17 AM   #21
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This is not surprising at all. Steve Jobs instilled a commitment to excellence in Apple and it shows. Doesn't mean everything will always be perfect but compared to their competitors it is quite obvious. Dell, HP, Samsung, Motorola, and the rest of their competitors seem to operate around something quite different.
Yes clearly those other companies you mention don't have any commitment to excellence
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 11:20 AM   #22
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One of my favorite parts of the Jobs biography was the talk about how he didn't want "B team" players at Apple, only A team players. Sounds like they still carry that approach. Not many companies do it that way either, there are always B team players. It's fascinating I think.
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 11:23 AM   #23
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a-game is expected in toilet paper use too
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 12:03 PM   #24
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a-game is expected in toilet paper use too
Speak for you own house buddy
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 11:23 AM   #25
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One of my favorite parts of the Jobs biography was the talk about how he didn't want "B team" players at Apple, only A team players. Sounds like they still carry that approach. Not many companies do it that way either, there are always B team players. It's fascinating I think.
I think he also said that the leverage you get from a really good programmer is like 25 times or something.

Sure puts the pressure on people in that field.

Working at Apple must be pretty stressful at times.
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