Since everyone seems to be blogging about Steve Jobs…

Here’s an extract from a piece I wrote in January, 2009 on how Steve affected my career:

Why am I a Mac user? During 1996 there were rumours that Sun was trying to buy Apple. While any talk of acquisition soon fizzled, contact continued. For most of that year, I was part of a secret team working to integrate the Sun and Apple technology portfolios. Sun was to give up making desktop computers, Apple would abandon its minuscule server business, Solaris would be used as the basis for OS X, and sales and channel strategies would be coordinated. I spent much of my time that year at Apple, working on the networking aspects of the deal. It all unravelled when Steve Jobs returned to Apple at the beginning of 1997; with the NeXT OS technology he had no need for Solaris. Shortly afterwards, Eric Schmidt left Sun to join Novell, before moving to Google a few years later. All I got was a T-shirt, and a PowerBook – but that was enough.

The Apple side of the proposed deal was initiated by Ellen Hancock (CTO) and Gil Amelio (CEO), both of whom were dumped by the Apple board as part of Steve’s return. Neither seemed the kind of person who understood the importance of design, and could have led Apple down the path towards the iMac, iPod, iPhone and iPad. So in retrospect the Apple board got it exactly right. But the joint venture was fun while it lasted, and I got to work with some amazing Apple engineers: figuring out how to add AFP and Apple printing support into Solaris, and working on eliminating the last non-TCP based networking dependencies in Mac OS.