Steve Jobs was not happy when he discovered that one of his longtime friends and trusted Apple executives planned to join a competing company.
He just couldn’t process the idea of it, as Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli explain in their book, “Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader,” which launches on March 24.
Jon Rubinstein had been at Apple since its early days, first starting at NeXT in the 1990s and then coming into Apple after Jobs returned. He stayed at the company until 2006.
But the year following his departure, he emailed Jobs as a courtesy to tell him what his next venture would be — he had been hired by Palm Computing.
Today, Rubinstein is known in the tech industry for his years as CEO of Palm Computing and his role at Hewlett Packard, and he also sits on Amazon’s board of directors. But when Jobs first learned that Rubinstein was heading to Palm in 2007, he was perplexed to say the least.
It only took about four seconds for Jobs to call Rubinstein after he sent that email, according to the book.
“He couldn’t understand,” Rubinstein told Schlender and Tetzeli. “He said, ‘You’ve got plenty of money, why are you going to Palm?’ I’m like, ‘Steve, what are you talking about? I mean, you’ve got orders of magnitude more money than I have and you’re asking me? Are you joking?”
The move was like treason to Jobs, the authors wrote, and the two never spoke again.
Rubinstein has spoken publicly about his dissent with Jobs over the past several years. He told TechCrunch, “I’m definitely off the Christmas list,” in 2010 when asked about how his relationship with Jobs ended.