Gassée came in afterward, but he acted as if he had the deal in his hand.
He provided no new presentation. He simply said that the Apple team knew
the capabilities of the Be OS and asked if they had any further questions.
It was a short session. While Gassée was presenting, Jobs and Tevanian
walked the streets of Palo Alto. After a while they bumped into one of the
Apple executives who had been at the meetings.
“You’re going to win this,” he told them.
Tevanian later said that this was no surprise: “We had better technology, we
had a solution that was complete, and we had Steve.” Amelio knew that
bringing Jobs back into the fold would be a double-edged sword, but the
same was true of bringing Gassée back. Larry Tesler, one of the Macintosh
veterans from the old days, recommended to Amelio that he choose NeXT,
but added, “Whatever company you choose, you’ll get someone
who will take your job away, Steve or Jean-Louis.”
Amelio opted for Jobs. He called Jobs to say that he planned to propose to the
Apple board that he be authorized to negotiate a purchase of NeXT. Would he
like to be at the meeting? Jobs said he would. When he walked in, there was
an emotional moment when he saw Mike Markkula. They had not spoken since
Markkula, once his mentor and father figure, had sided with Sculley there
back in 1985. Jobs walked over and shook his hand.
Jobs invited Amelio to come to his house in Palo Alto so they could negotiate
in a friendly setting. When Amelio arrived in his classic 1973 Mercedes, Jobs
was impressed; he liked the car. In the kitchen, which had finally been renovated,
Jobs put a kettle on for tea, and then they sat at the wooden table in front of
the open-hearth pizza oven. The financial part of the negotiations went smoothly;
Jobs was eager not to make Gassée’s mistake of overreaching. He suggested that
Apple pay $12 a share for NeXT. That would amount to about $500 million.
Amelio said that was too high. He countered with $10 a share, or just over $400
million. Unlike Be, NeXT had an actual product, real revenues, and a great team, but