For a year and a half, no one outside of six key personnel — five Apple employees and one employee’s wife — knew of the existence of “Project Marklar,” Apple’s Intel-powered Mac computer.That’s according to a person who says she is the wife of a former Apple employee, Kim Scheinberg. She told the story of the birth of the Intel-powered Mac computer on Quora.
The whole project began as a way for Apple employee John Kullman to justify staying on Apple’s payroll.
Kullman had been working in California, but wanted to move east. His son was a year-old, and his parents, as well as his wife’s parents, lived on the east coast.
Apple let him work on the East Coast, but eventually his boss said, “I need to justify your salary in my budget. Show me what you’re working on.”
Kullman was in California at the time, and showed his boss Mac OS X running on a computer with an Intel chip. At the time Apple’s computers ran on PowerPC chips.
This got the attention of Apple’s top executives. Bertrand Serlet, who led OS X was brought in to see Kullman’s work. He asked if Kullman could do that for a Sony Vaio. Kullman said he could, and it would only take a few hours.
After Kullman proved that Mac OS X could run on a Mac computer with an Intel chip, Apple came and gave his home and family the Men in Black treatment:
Bertrand (Serlet) sits (John Kullman) down and has a talk with him about how no one can know about this. No one. Suddenly, the home office has to be reconfigured to meet Apple security standards.
(Kullman) points out to Bertrand that I know about the project. In fact, not only do I know about it, I am the person who named it.
Bertrand tells (Kullman) that I am to forget everything I know, and he will not be allowed to speak to me about it again until it is publicly announced.
The Intel-powered Mac went from a random side project led by one employee to experiencing the full treatment of Apple’s super-secret culture.
It’s also unclear as to why, or even if, the project was named “Project Marklar,” which actually appears to be a reference to a South Park episode that aired in 1999.
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