Memo to Steve

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Memo to Steve

By Philip Michaels

Being one of the bright lights in the Mac publishing industry, Macworld prides itself on the special access it has to Apple Computer.

Oh, sure, our confidential sources can't always give us the poop about upcoming Power Macs and Mac OS releases. But one of them did obtain this top-secret memo from atop Steve Jobs' desk. That's got to count for something, right?

January 19, 2000

Steven P. Jobs
iCEO, Apple Computer
1 Infinite Loop
Cupertino, CA 95014

Dear Steve:

As a board member here at Apple Computer and one of the founders of this company, I'd like to thank you for the insanely great job you've done over the last two and a half years as our interim CEO. You've brought Apple back from the brink by following your vision, by rolling out some totally cool products, and by thinking different. And the board thinks you deserve a reward.

So as a token of our gratitude, we'd like you to accept this Gulfstream V jet. It's an insanely great jet, the kind of plane that any iCEO would be proud to fly. From the choice of eye-catching colors -- I'd go with the tangerine model if I were you, Steve -- to the transparent casing that lets you look directly into the plane's engine, this is not just a jet that thinks different; it flies different, too. And it comes fully equipped with features designed to take advantage of our unique Mac OS 9 operating system -- iTakeOff, iLand, iAltimeter, and iFlotationDevice.

Unfortunately, to cover the costs of the jet, the board has made some adjustments to your baseline compensation. I'm sad to say that we've decided to cut your salary by 10 percent for this year.

I know what you're thinking, Steve: "How am I supposed to live on an annual salary of 90 cents a year, especially with the cost of black turtlenecks skyrocketing out of control?" And believe me, the board shares your concern. Even at $1 a year, it seemed you had trouble making ends meet, what with all those holes in your blue jeans.

But I'm confident you can make do with 90 cents (63 cents after taxes). You have pluck, Steve. You have resilience. You have an unshakable vision in where you're going and how to get there.

You also have options to buy 10 million shares of Apple stock. So that sort of takes the sting away.

But that's not all, Steve. The board also voted to include some other killer benefits to make this the most insanely great compensation package among iCEOs today. When it came time to put your package together, we followed your lead and thought differently. That helped us come up with these totally unique perks, the next wave in groundbreaking benefits package technology.

* a pre-beta release of Mac OS X;

* a $25 gift certificate for The Gap (Have another black turtleneck on us, Steve!);

* an autographed copy of On The Firing Line by Gil Amelio;

* all the Newtons you can carry;

* dinner for two at Tony Roma's in San Jose (Try the onion rings!);

* a "My Company's Market Cap Hit $17.9 Billion And All I Got Was This Stupid Gulfstream Jet" T-shirt;

* a set of "Toy Story 2" commemorative drinking mugs; and

* a signed 8-by-10 glossy of Noah Wyle.

Generous? To a fault, Steve. But don't feel embarrassed -- you've earned this. Given what you've accomplished in the past two-plus years, I think it's safe to say that the "i" in iCEO doesn't stand for "interim," it stands for "insanely great."

My best to the wife and kids.

Steven P. Jobs
Co-founder, Apple Computer

Macworld Associate Editor PHILIP MICHAELS ( ) writes for several humor Web sites when he's not hard at work covering the Mac market.

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