Is Gil Amelio unfairly judged in the Apple history books...?

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by Unspeaked, Nov 27, 2007.

  1. Unspeaked macrumors 68020


    Dec 29, 2003
    West Coast
    Apologies for going old school here, but if there's anyone who like to talk classic Apple history, I recently went through some of my computer magazines from the later part of the last decade and most of the Mac-centric ones really blasted Gil Amelio.

    I realize that on the surface, his short reign as Apple's CEO was far from the best of times, but the guy really seems to be unfairly judged in my book.

    I think a lot of this has to do with the person who followed him in the role... it's tough to be respected when someone turns a company entirely around, but I think many of the seeds that helped Apple through the good times we're having to this day were planted by Gil:

    • He brought back Steve Jobs, which I don't think anyone can argue with.

    • He hired Fred Anderson as COO.

    • He knew enough to dump Copland and rather than start from scratch, build off of an existing OS, which turned out to be NeXT.

    • He spear-headed OS 8 as a stop gap for the transition from the old OS to the next generation OS, which kept Apple from totally fading away in the wake of Windows 95.

    • He got the company back into solvency from the horrible Spindler years and the millions lost during his era.

    • He streamlined the product lines which had been all over the place into a very tight consumer/professional lineup that stands to this day.

    • He oversaw the marketing department's push into product placement that has been invaluable ever since.

    So, it seems to be he did a lot of good work. I know he got some amazing severance package and was well compensated, but the venom that spewed from the Mac community at the time, and still to this day in places, just seems really misplaced to me...
  2. MacsRgr8 macrumors 604


    Sep 8, 2002
    The Netherlands
    His best move was acquiring NeXT.
    It seemed Amelio was the one who actually saw that "Classic" Mac OS was going nowhere, but it is more like an old General who realizes that he is not the best man for the job anymore, and his soldiers need to be replaced.

    So, IMHO he helped Apple out of its old "troubles" without introducing something new.
    Apple needed a Steve with real ideas and vision to come up with a new strategy.
    Amelio never did. So, I don't think he was a great CEO. He just saw he wasn't really op to it to get Apple back on track.... and that self-knowledge was something good.
  3. synth3tik macrumors 68040


    Oct 11, 2006
    Minneapolis, MN
    It's really interesting that you brought this up. I wound not have expected it. I would think my main point was your first. He brought back Steve. Which was a great move. basically the move that saved Apple. However this was not his intent. He was justing trying to keep Apple afloat. He bought NeXT for the OS after the hole BeOS, and Windows things fell through. He paid way way way too much for NeXT and HAD to take Steve as part of the deal. Letting Steve on the board was a saving move for Apple, but the last miss of his career. I do think that people focus mainly on the negatives. He could have done so much more if he was a more well rounded CEO.
  4. jaw04005 macrumors 601


    Aug 19, 2003
    I think Amelio was just out of his league. Apple had become such a bloated corporation with its hand in too many product categories.

    Jobs made a remark about Gil Amelio at the All Things Digital conference. He said Amelio said the following to him:

    "Apple is like a ship with a hole in the bottom, and my job is to point the ship in the right direction."

    Looking back, it was if Amelio practically gave up on Apple at the end. He knew what he was getting into with the purchase of NeXT. Apple's stock price was dead, the company was hemorrhaging money and by purchasing NeXT (and Steve Jobs)—Amelio saved Apple. Unfortunately, for him he couldn't save himself.

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