Outgoing Apple board member Bill Campbell offers insight into company, Steve Jobs in interview

Posted:
in General Discussion edited July 2014
Following a Thursday announcement that Bill Campbell would retire as a member of Apple's board of directors, Fortune published an interview in which the Intuit chairman describes his time in Cupertino, relationship with cofounder Steve Jobs and "coach" to silicon valley elite.


Source: InternetNews


In the short feature, Campbell, 73, tells Fortune about his 17-year tenure as Apple's longest-serving board member, a feat equalled only by company cofounders Jobs and Mike Markkula.

A year after returning to Apple in 1996, Jobs offered Campbell -- who also left Apple in the mid-90s -- the position. At the time, Campbell was CEO of Intuit, where he still serves as chairman of the board.

"He came by one day, and we sat on a bench by the pool and he said, 'I'd like you to join the Apple board,'" Campbell said of Jobs. As his neighbor in Palo Alto, Calif., Jobs would often visit Campbell unannounced. "The only time I've had a rush like that was when I was asked to be a trustee of Columbia University. I said, without hesitation, 'For sure.'"

Campbell's relationship with Jobs was close, with some industry analysts referring to the board member as "Steve's guy."

"I watched him emerge as a CEO in real time," Campbell says. "I had a continuum with him. I watched him when he was general manager of the Mac division and when he went off and started NeXT. I watched Steve go from being a creative entrepreneur to a guy who had to run a business."

During the early years as an Apple board member, Campbell began "coaching" up-and-coming tech executives like Amazon's Jeff Bezos, Google's Eric Schmidt and Twitter's Evan Williams, among others. He continues the practice today, but things got heated when Schmidt and Google became Apple's competiton.

"Steve would say, 'If you're helping them you're hurting me.' He would yell at me," Campbell said. "I'd say, 'I can't do HTML, come on. I'm just coaching them on how to run their company better.'"

As for Cook, Campbell refers to the current Apple chief as a "calm, thoughtful guy" who studies a topic before making a decision and moving on. Illustrating this warm nature, Campbell said Cook called on Thursday to ask if he could make a contribution in Campbell's honor. The donation will go somewhere related to Campbell's hometown in Pennsylvania.

"That's the way he thinks," Campbell said. "In his warm way of saying goodbye to me he's going to do something warm for me, make a contribution to my home town."

With Campbell stepping down, Apple has tapped BlackRock cofounder Susan Wagner fill the role, making her the second female board member behind Andrea Jung.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 49
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,156member

    Screw the bastard. Bill Campbell is the one who killed off Quicken for the Mac. He’s the one who saw to it that the Mac version of Quicken never reached feature parity with the Windows version. He’s the one who’s arm Steve Jobs twisted to delay Quicken for Mac’s cessation of development. All we’re left with now is a piece of shit called Quicken Essentials and a few other subpar, so-called financial programs for OS X. Good financial software for the Mac simply does not exist.

  • Reply 2 of 49
    hopelesshopeless Posts: 65member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

     

    Screw the bastard. Bill Campbell is the one who killed off Quicken for the Mac. He’s the one who saw to it that the Mac version of Quicken never reached feature parity with the Windows version. He’s the one who’s arm Steve Jobs twisted to delay Quicken for Mac’s cessation of development. All we’re left with now is a piece of shit called Quicken Essentials and a few other subpar, so-called financial programs for OS X. Good financial software for the Mac simply does not exist.


    I'm sure Campbell did some good things for the company. I never have seen someone get so worked up over Quicken, though. Hilarious.

  • Reply 3 of 49
    sevenfeetsevenfeet Posts: 398member
    I met Bill Campbell at an Apple-sponsored party in December 1985 while I was still in college. I still have his business card from those days. Probably the most successful career change from being an unsuccessful college football coach in history (Columbia lost 4 years in a row). Mac users might be mad about Quicken over the years, but I doubt Steve Jobs would have been the leader he was in his second act with Bill Campbell as a sounding board.
  • Reply 4 of 49
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,896member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

     

    Screw the bastard. Bill Campbell is the one who killed off Quicken for the Mac. He’s the one who saw to it that the Mac version of Quicken never reached feature parity with the Windows version. He’s the one who’s arm Steve Jobs twisted to delay Quicken for Mac’s cessation of development. All we’re left with now is a piece of shit called Quicken Essentials and a few other subpar, so-called financial programs for OS X. Good financial software for the Mac simply does not exist.


     

    Why not just use Quicken 2007 if you don't like Quicken Essentials?

  • Reply 5 of 49
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by macxpress View Post

     

    Why not just use Quicken 2007 if you don't like Quicken Essentials?


     

    I've always thought that the best solution to not being able to find the Mac version of any software to be Bootcamp and Windows.

     

    Ironically, I've never had to fall back on it.

  • Reply 6 of 49

    Quicken was a dead end product, just like MS Money.  That is why they bought Mint and offers other SaaS's.

  • Reply 7 of 49
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,390member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

     

    All we’re left with now is a piece of shit called Quicken Essentials and a few other subpar, so-called financial programs for OS X. Good financial software for the Mac simply does not exist.


    I gave up looking for Mac financial software; I use Quicken 2013 with Wine. It works pretty well.

     

    At some point, I might stop using Quicken and rely on Mint.com (which I've been using before Intuit's acquisition), but not until Mint.com's investment tracking features work better. For daily cash flow/transaction stuff, Mint.com is awesome.

  • Reply 8 of 49
    frank777frank777 Posts: 5,796member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by winstein2010 View Post

     

    Quicken was a dead end product, just like MS Money.  That is why they bought Mint and offers other SaaS's.


     

    Yes, but after the NSA revelations, people are more wary about putting their accounting and tax data into the cloud.

     

    A full-featured Quicken for Mac would be doing well right now.

  • Reply 9 of 49
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,390member

    The data is already online: banks, credit card issuers, brokerages, lenders.

     

    Online services like Mint.com, Yodlee, etc. just aggregate the data. Heck, my brokerage firm offers the same service too.

     

    Anyhow, a full-featured Quicken for Mac is never going to happen.

  • Reply 10 of 49
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,652member

    I've been a Quicken/Quickbooks user since the 1990's.  The only reason I run Windows on my mac (via VMware) is because of two of there three programs belong to Intuit. 



    I've been disappointed with Intuit's Mac offerings.  They were beyond pathetic.  I briefly tried Quicken for the Mac and I found it horrible.  It's like they didn't even bother making even a decent effort to match the Windows version.



    I don't see Intuit changing their ways with it.  They will remain a Windows-dominant vendor, and that's too bad.



    The other program I use is a development package by IBM, and even then they came out with a Mac version last year, while not 100% the features of Windows, is pretty darn close.  At least IBM made an effort.



    Either way, I see myself using Windows for these apps for the very long foreseeable future.



    I'm glad he's gone.  Bring in some fresh blood.

  • Reply 11 of 49
    bugsnwbugsnw Posts: 717member

    Well he had something that Jobs deemed valuable. Nothing wrong with loyalty... I guess we'll all have to overlook the Quickbooks/Quicken fiasco. Maybe he brought gifts in other areas to bear.

     

    I agree with others on the new blood requirement. 17 years is too long. That was definitely a reach around from Jobs.

  • Reply 12 of 49
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Originally Posted by bugsnw View Post

    I agree with others on the new blood requirement. 17 years is too long.


     

    Yep, that’s right; kick out anyone after 15 or so years, regardless of if they’re still pounding out great ideas or not¡

     

    “But he wasn’t...”

     

    Not the point being made.

  • Reply 13 of 49
    customtbcustomtb Posts: 336member
    hopeless wrote: »
    I'm sure Campbell did some good things for the company. I never have seen someone get so worked up over Quicken, though. Hilarious.

    I'll second it... Glad to see an intuit rep booted from the board. Quicken and quickbooks for mac were great years ago.... Many years ago.... Intuit should be ashamed of mac releases of the last ten years. Their current relases are a joke. Unfortunately, I'm still looking for a suitable replacement.
  • Reply 14 of 49

    Start working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life.

     

    This is what I do>>>>>>>> w­w­­w­.­m­o­n­e­y­k­i­n.­C­?­M

  • Reply 15 of 49
    scotty321scotty321 Posts: 313member
    Finally, this disgusting parasite of a human being is gone!! Good riddance to this disgusting man who has done more to hurt the Mac platform than almost any other man in existence. The man who has always allowed his company Intuit to treat all Mac users like second-class citizens, which still continues to this day. The man who has never lifted a finger of good for the Mac platform. The man who allowed his company to drop all support for Quicken for the Mac, then drop all support for QuickBooks for the Mac, then reluctantly bring back QuickBooks after many years, but still never brought back Quicken and still keeps QuickBooks paralyzed with 99% less features than the Windows versions of QuickBooks. The man who allowed his company to never develop any other accounting products for the Mac. The man who made everyone in the entire tech industry doubt that the Mac was a viable business machine. Why Steve Jobs was EVER friends with this pathetic human being is beyond me. Good riddance.
  • Reply 16 of 49
    codog24codog24 Posts: 15member

    I don't think his reaction is unreasonable at all. For the entire time he was on Apple's board, Campbell refused to create a version of his company's core product - Quicken - that was anywhere near feature parity on a Mac with the Windows version of the product. In fact, for well over a year after Apple no longer supported running non-Intel-optimized applications on it's then-current OS, Quicken didn't run at all with that OS. Those of us who depended upon Quicken to manage our financial lives were forced to remain on an older OS and refrain from upgrading our computers (which generally wouldn't work with anything older than the then-current OS) in order to keep the application working. All of this more than four years after Apple moved from PowerPC to Intel processors. When they finally fixed this, it was with a crappy patch to a piece of software that was at the time more than five years old, and it took another year after that for the patched version to become stable on the Mac.

     

    Many Mac users (myself included) have been confounded by the utter contempt that Intuit has exhibited towards us for years, and all the more so by the fact that Bill Campbell, Intuit's Chairman, is on Apple's board. Why nobody at Apple ever managed to get him to make a commitment to supporting the company's computers with his software is beyond me, but I, for one, am glad to see him go. It won't change the fact that Quicken on a Mac is still a POS, but at least my blood won't boil when I see him reelected to the board every year!

  • Reply 17 of 49
    karmadavekarmadave Posts: 315member
    I can certainly understand why some folks would get worked up over Quicken for Mac, but the flip side is that revenue generated funds software projects and the volume of product sold simply matched the investment. That's the cold, hard truth of software development. Apple is unique in that their software investments drive hardware sales. Most ISV's business model only allows them to invest resources where it will generate the most profits and thus returns for shareholders. Any CEO or Chairperson would operate in this manner regardless of what boards they served on. That said, I still limp along with Quicken 2007 on my old MBP running Snow Leopard...
  • Reply 18 of 49
    pinolopinolo Posts: 91member
    Find it strange that everybody is talking about the outgoing guy and no one about the incoming person.
    she is a founder of a management and investment group. Nothing to do with tech but everything with the new direction apple is taking. It seems to be another sign that Cook is turning apple into a fully fledged corporation. With all the right ties to businesses, investment and corporate world (IBM deal and now this). I don't see that as bad, but there are dangers in it. Apple is too big to be a company, and needs to become a corporation. The danger is that they take the corporation mentality (Microsoft, HP, Samsung, and others outside tech). If Cook manages to keep the right balance between innovation, swiftness, focus and product care and design with business, investors etc then he might have a new type of company under his tenure. But I don't envy him.
    Part of black rock in the board might be due to people like Icahn being investors and in general the global reach apple has achieved in the last years, as well as the expansions in markets like china.
  • Reply 19 of 49
    bugsnwbugsnw Posts: 717member

    Yeah, I worry about some of that corporate lethargy as well. But as long as Apple continues to do things they don't have to (think Sapphire glass and free OS updates), I remain confident in their direction. If they start cutting corners to save costs, that's an Apple I'm not familiar with. I would sell my half share immediately and write my congressman post haste if, say, the 2015 MBP had a plastic case.

     

    The wrong CEO could do a lot of damage.

  • Reply 20 of 49
    fred1fred1 Posts: 329member
    Sorry, but is this a sentence??:
    ". . ., Fortune published an interview in which the Intuit chairman describes his time in Cupertino, relationship with cofounder Steve Jobs and "coach" to silicon valley elite."

    Is there a job opening at AI for an editor? I hope so!
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