Apple may not have initially liked Becoming Steve Jobs, the Steve Jobs biography by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli which is coming out tomorrow, but Geekwire and iDownload blog report that the tech company is now showing considerable support for the book.
To start with, Apple is heavily promoting the book in iBooks, and several members of senior management have also given interviews with the NY Times, the New Yorker, and Fast Company, and tweeted their support of the book.
Apple has been pushing an exclusive sneak peek which includes the prologue and first chapter of the book, through its iBooks Twitter accounts, iTunes marketing emails, and in a banner on the iBookstore’s rotating carousel.
I just got the sample myself, and I can tell you that it includes Schlender’s first interview with Jobs after he founded NeXT (shortly after he was booted from Apple in the mid-1980s).
I'm not sure I'm going to buy the book, although I do find it interesting that we're seeing a shift in Apple's social dynamic as the book is about to hit store shelves.
The authorized biography of Steve Jobs, as approved by the Steve-ness himself, was written by Walter Isaacson and published 3 years ago. It was based on over 100 interviews, extensive research, and numerous talks with Jobs.
You would think that this book would be the final word on Jobs, but apparently it no longer meets with Apple's approval. In an interview with Fast Company, Tim Cook said that the Isaacson biography "was just a rehash of a bunch of stuff that had already been written, and focused on small parts of his personality". Jony Ive expressed a similar opinion, telling the New Yorker that that "My regard couldn’t be any lower."
"After a long period of reflection following Steve’s death, we felt a sense of responsibility to say more about the Steve we knew," Apple spokesperson Steve Dowling told The New York Times. "We decided to participate in Brent and Rick’s book because of Brent’s long relationship with Steve, which gave him a unique perspective on Steve’s life. The book captures Steve better than anything else we've seen, and we are happy we decided to participate."
Geekwire believes that Apple's open and enthusiastic support for Becoming Steve Jobs marks a significant cultural shift at Apple since Steve Jobs' death, and that the once notoriously secretive has since opened up for more interviews with senior management.
Me, I'm not so sure. Rather than true openness, I think we're just seeing a different marketing strategy playing out - one which focuses on Apple management as people, rather than Apple as a technical powerhouse.
It's six of one and a half a dozen of the other, as far as I am concerned.