First let me say that I respect Don Crabb as a superior writer (to myself), and I also beleive he likely has a lot more information on this subject than I do. However, (and you knew there had to be one), I find some of the points of his open letter to be unbeleivable. Not that I think there is any malice, I believe this is what he's been told and what he beleives, it just sounds way too funny.
Some will say that I am defending my article or original position out of ego. I do not think so, but then ego maniacs seldom do. I am defending what sounds more logical and what has more evidence to support it. (I know that Don says he has evidence, but I have not seen it and so can not take it into account on basing my own opinions). I am arguing what sounds more beleivable, based on the evidence I have -- but remember, the truth IS sometimes unbeleivable. I am a nobody with some opinions and some basis for them, Don is more an "insider" with information that I do not have... but that does not change the facts that I've seen --
Gil would want to leave on a high note -- not a sour one. Whether he diserves it or not, Gil knows that leaving when a loss is about to be reported, is NOT the way to exit! He will be percieved as a loser. He is smart enough to know this.
He knew the schedules back in January as well. Gil also knows that in one more month, he could leave at MacExpo. Mac OS 8 would be shipping, Rhapsody DR-1 is supposed to ship, they are about to announce new Hardware, its a big show, and he is (was) doing the keynote. All that would be the perfect time to end on a high-note and say "I did what I set out to do". And it would have some meat behind those statements. He would go out a winner.
30 Days is not much time to wait.
We will know in 30 days if all these positive things will come to pass. If they do, then it definitely hints STRONGLY that Gil did not choose the exact time of departure. The timing stinks (from Gils perspective). There would have to be some amazingly strong motives for him leaving now -- and I have seen nothing to hint at what that might be.
This smells like an excuse. It may be true, but if you have politically aspirations, then the last thing you want to "springboard" your career, is to leave on such a sour note and at such an innoportune time.
The opponents ad campaigns are obvious, "He left Apple in a hole, now he wants to do the same for California". It is not that I beleive that he did leave Apple in a bind, but that is how it WILL be spun. Gil is not so daft as to fail to realize this. So this just sounds lame. To imply that polical aspirations are why he left (or even a consideration) makes this sound unbelievable to me. If Gil was running for governor, then he would have certainly stuck out an extra month... and if he was running for any office, he would bribe Apple to let him stay the extra month and get the glory he diserves. (Also the bribe would be good practice for his political carreer).
If Apple is going to go in the crapper in the next couple months, then maybe he is cutting and running now. But I don't think that is the case. If it does go down the tubes, then I have far less respect for Gil for chickening out.
It isn't NOW! So he leaves as a loser. (At least in many's perception.)
It might be different if Apple shocks the world with an announcement that they are profitable. Then it will likely sway the balance far more in favor of Don (and Gil's) story. But that still wouldn't explain why Apple would spin it that they fired him because the board was unhappy with the financial position of the company.
If Apple does not show a profit this quarter, then this whole excuse smells like something you might accidentally step in on your front lawn.
Again, I belive that Don Crabb was told this, and that he beleives this. But I do not. This just defy's reason too much.
Agreed, but she stayed. That says a lot about her. Like her brains are bigger than her ego. We sure could have used more of that around Apple! I'm sorry to see her go. She helped Gil, and Apple, and will be a big loss (IMHO).
Without really knowing, I wonder if there wasn't something more. I've heard rumors that Gil wanted her to succeed him and take over. That would have been good for Apple -- especially if she could have had some glitzy show-dog to parade for speeches and the press (like Jobs).
Agreed. I think that she is likely more technical than Steve is. But I haven't exactly had long heart-to-heart conversations (or bit-bashing conversation) with either of them. I respect Ellen's dignity and wisdom, and as near as I could tell, I agreed with every decision she made.
Its not that I don't beleive that is possible -- it just so highly unlikely as to not be able to swallow this whole without knowing more. The "personal reasons" gig is just too convenient an excuse. I respect Don's integrity, and do not think he should even consider letting people know what he is privvy to. But I just can not think of a thing that would make sense. Health concerns, personal problems, death or crisis, or any opportunity just doesn't make sense -- especially with the reasons given.
If it was any crisis, and Apple was not the instigator, the Gil could have taken a quiet leave of absense until August and then make his farewell speech! So there was nothing to be gained by leaving now (for either Apple or Gil). In fact this hurt Apple. Apple has to know this. There must be reasons from their side, why they wouldn't beg to have him stay until August so THEY could spin it positive for their own reasons!
Gil was doing business as usual the day before the axe fell, and had meetings the day of that were just canceled. If he had been planning this for 6 months, shouldn't he have done better planning?! If Gil did just walked out, after knowing what he planned to do for 6 months, and he just left Apple to Steve Jobs, then I have completely over estimated him as a person.
Apple did not have someone picked to replace Gil, and Ellen not taking over the role temporarily, Apple and Fred Andersons press conference (and spin) -- it all does not fit. Apple (Anderson) has already spun that APPLE was unhappy with financial performance and that it was probably not Gil who was ready to leave. Why would they do this, and slap him down if it was he that was leaving? Why not just state "We are sorry to see him go, and eventhough the company is going to have a less than spectactual quarter, the position of the company is much stronger and we are ready to move forward. Gil achieved a lot, but now Apple needs someone more visionary to go on."
There may be a cohesive glue that makes it fit -- but I just haven't seen it. Until then, logic and reason will have to rule my opinion, rather than an unsubstantiatable claim when the pieces don't fit. Heck, OJ claimed he was innocent as well -- but I don't buy that either. So I respect Don Crabb, but I do not "buy" that particular story.
Written by Don Crabb
Here is the real story. One of the reasons I am in Cupertino this week and next is because of these announcements today.
Forget the bullshit stories you will hear. Gil and Ellen did not resign because Steve Jobs forced them out or because the 3rd Q loss will be $70 million (which is way under the expected loss of $110M), or any other damn reason. Here is why.
1. Gil decided back in January that he would leave this year at the end of Q4. Gil has political aspirations and he felt he could springboard them by then. And that Apple would be profitable by then.
2. Ellen was set to leave when hardware and Software were taken out of her hands with the reorg and Avie and Jon were given direct reports to Gil. She stayed only out of loyalty to Gil with his promise that she could leave when he did. That is exactly what has now happened. Ellen wants to be a CEO and she will be at some place, but not at Apple, because Steve thinks she is not technical. Steve is wrong.
3. Gil decided on leaving now because of personal reasons that I cannot reveal as it would violate confidences. These reasons were why he held an emergency board meeting over the last two days here in Cupertino. These reasons have NOTHING to due with Apple or the its performance. Gil was not forced out.
4. The plan/expectation is that Vice Chair Mike Markkula and the CEO search committee will make Steve the Chairman and that they will hire a CEO and COO to actually run the company. In the meantime, Fred Anderson, CFO, will be interim CEO. Fred knows the numbers.
5. Since all the other exec teams and divisions are fully in place and now well-staffed, this resignation means nothing, except that now someone else will likely take credit for what Gil did - save the company. Now it is someone else's opportunity to take it from there and make it successful again.