The Chiat/Day relationship with Steve Jobs and Apple is nothing short of legendary. That legend goes something like this:
Chiat was hired by Apple to create the (also legendary) Ridley Scott-directed, $1 million, only-aired-once-cause-it’s-so-goddamn-special 1984 commercial that introduced the Macintosh line of computers during the Super Bowl.
was forced out of left Apple, he used some of his newfound wealth to put Chiat/Day on retainer as his personal ad agency; basically, he took them with him when he left the company.
The ad agency used some of that money to build a new office building.
Completed in 1991, Chiat’s Gehry-designed building on Main Street in Venice is a globally-recognizable structure that boasts office space of 71,935 square feet teamed with the iconic presence of Claes Oldenberg‘s enormous binocular edifice arching over the original parking entrance. The building is within sight of the original design space of Charles and Ray Eames, a stone’s throw from one of our favorite Austrian’s old hangout spots (e.g. Gold’s Gym), and across the street from the original Venice Short Line Ocean Park Yard trolley station (it’s now an MTA bus depot and you can still see some original rail tracks from before the buses took over).
In 1996, the ad agency left that building and moved to Playa del Rey. Jobs was running NeXT computer when that company was bought by Apple. TBWA/Chiat-Day created a self-contained subsidiary called Media Arts Lab. This new organization would be dedicated to a single client, Steve Jobs.
Apple’s New Rivalry
“Make no mistake: Google wants to kill the iPhone. We won’t let them.” – Steve Jobs addressing Apple employees in early 2010
Apple (Jobs) seems to thrive on competition. See Microsoft (Bill Gates) for more info. Jobs has always had a reputation for being the “cool kid” amongst the tech giants. Your cute lab partner in chemistry class? Steve’s ex-girlfriend. And like any good Alpha geek, he’s got a chip on his shoulder. Just let him think he’s in charge and everything will be cool.
I’m still researching the origins of their personal relationship, but they’ve been neighbors for years. Schmidt was a big deal at Sun when they developed Java and then went to run Novell before leaving to head Google. He’s taught at Stanford. It seems like the guy has been in the Valley since grad school.
Fast-forward to 2010. Rumours develop of a rift between Eric Schmidt and Steve Jobs.
It’s like watching Lex Luthor fight Dr. Viktor von Doom: baaaaaad aaaass (I leave it up to you to figure out who’s who in that simile)
- June 2007: Schmidt joins Jobs on stage as he introduces the iPhone.
- Labor Day 2009: On a pay phone in the Nevada desert, Jobs asks Schmidt about the “Google mobile phone”; they decide to start seeing other people.
- August, 2009: Schmidt abdicates Apple’s board as Google’s Android phone poses the first credible competition to the white-hot iPhone.
- March, 2010: as the two companies’ philosophies diverge, the two titans meet al fresca in Palo Alto to discuss … stuff?
- February, 2011: In Woodside – Silicon Valley’s ranch-ey township-cum-Liechtenstein – Jobs and Schmidt attend el Presidente’s tech dinner party (conspicuously absent: Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina)
So, this post will never be done. I have to publish it now or I will never stop working on it.
But the saga continues…
UPDATE: An anonymous source at Google confirmed that this theory is not unlikely. Internally, Googlers are a little jealous of the unstoppable climb in Apple’s share price. Coupled with the its fanaticism, the reality distortion field (RFD) at Apple breeds contempt amongst the faithful toward any perceived non-believers.