Steve Jobs and Michael Dell seem to harbor a “highly personal grudge” in addition to their well-known business rivalry, according to an
The New York Times
The article notes that a couple of years ago, Dell dissed Apple by saying that its shareholders would be better off if the company were to close its doors and they put their money in mutual funds. In return, Jobs drew a bull’s-eye over a picture of Dell’s face at a Macworld keynote and announced that Apple was coming after him and his customers.
In April, Dell toured the United States and Australia, repeatedly predicting Apple’s doom, according to The Times. And Jobs used a boxy Dell portable as a counterpoint to the sleek new iBook. He also said, in announcing the new portable that Apple planned to recapture the education market lead from Dell.
Why the bad blood? “Some say all this counterpunching is best explained by the fact that the industrial era that the two men did much to create is ending,” the article said.
“There’s nothing like a downturn in the computer industry to turn sunshine boys into grumpy old men,” Richard Shaffer, a veteran industry analyst who is publisher of the Computer Letter newsletter, told The Times.
Accustomed to 20 percent or higher growth rates the last several decades, the United States personal computer industry has actually shrunk the last two quarters, the article points out. Computer executives are hoping that the downturn is just cyclical, but many industry analysts predict that the industry will never grow as quickly as it did in the past.
Plus, the article said that Jobs and Dell are very different in personality and lifestyle. According to “The Times,” “Jobs is a child of the 1960’s and 70’s, who once dated the folk singer Joan Baez and even now speaks fondly of the counterculture” and “Dell, who came of age in the Reagan 80’s, is the quintessential Republican businessman.”
“They represent very different generations,” David Yoffie, a professor at the Harvard Business School who has closely followed the computer industry, told
The New York Times