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Ballmer

Say this for Steve Jobs: He didn’t sugarcoat things, even in his final days. But the soon-to-be-released biography of the Apple co-founder might be undoing a lot of the goodwill that was directed toward Jobs upon his death a few weeks ago.

The New York Times, one of the publications with early access to the book, has compiled a “scorecard of putdowns” by Jobs in the book. Here’s what the Times reports about Jobs’ comments regarding modern-day Microsoft …

In the final pages of the book, written in Mr. Jobs’s own words, he described Microsoft as “mostly irrelevant” and said companies like it often ran aground when they were run by salespeople. He singled out Apple’s former chief executive, John Sculley, and Microsoft’s chief executive, Steve Ballmer, as examples, adding that he didn’t think Microsoft would change as long as Ballmer was in charge.

Of course, it’s popular to criticize Microsoft for not being a nimble as it should be. But on its face, the “mostly irrelevant” statement is actually a little strange, given that Windows still runs on upwards of 90% of the world’s computers.

It’s important not to judge these things before reading the actual book. But combined with the other quotes on the NYT’s list, and the earlier reports about Jobs calling Bill Gates an “unimaginative” copycat, it should be interesting to see how this book ultimately shapes the Apple co-founder’s legacy.

At least Ballmer wasn’t alone on the list, joined by the likes of singer John Mayer and President Obama in being criticized by Jobs. The NYT reports that Jobs told biographer Walter Isaacson that he “was disappointed in Mr. Obama because the president did not want to offend anyone, a quality that Mr. Jobs conceded he lacked.”

Sheesh, no kidding.

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