In order to translate the NeXT logo into the look of real products

In order to translate the NeXT logo into the look of real products, Jobs needed an industrial designer he trusted. He talked to a few possibilities, but none of them

impressed him as much as the wild Bavarian he had imported to Apple: Hartmut Esslinger, whose frogdesign had set up shop in Silicon Valley

and who, thanks to Jobs, had a lucrative contract with Apple. Getting IBM to permit Paul Rand to do work for NeXT was a small miracle willed into existence by Jobs’s belief that reality can be distorted. But that was a snap

compared to the likelihood that he could convince Apple to permit Esslinger to work for NeXT.

This did not keep Jobs from trying. At the beginning of November 1985, just five weeks after Apple filed suit against him,

Jobs wrote to Eisenstat and asked for a dispensation. “I spoke with Hartmut Esslinger this weekend and he

suggested I write you a note expressing why I wish to work with him and frogdesign on the new products for NeXT,” he said. Astonishingly, Jobs’s

argument was that he did not know what Apple had in the works, but Esslinger

did. “NeXT has no knowledge as to the current or future directions of Apple’s product designs, nor do other design

firms we might deal with, so it is possible to inadvertently design similar looking products. It is in both Apple’s and

NeXT’s best interest to rely on Hartmut’s professionalism to make sure this does not occur.” Eisenstat recalled being

flabbergasted by Jobs’s audacity, and he replied curtly. “I have previously expressed my concern on behalf of Apple that you are engaged in a business course

which involves your utilization of Apple’s confidential business information,” he wrote. “Your

letter does not alleviate my concern in any way. In fact it heightens my concern because it states that you have ‘no knowledge as to the current or future

directions of Apple’s product designs,’ a statement which is not true.”

What made the request all the more astonishing to Eisenstat was that it was Jobs who, just a year earlier, had forced frogdesign to abandon its work on Wozniak’s remote control device.shlf419

Jobs realized that in order to work with Esslinger (and for a variety of other reasons), it would be necessary to resolve the lawsuit that Apple had filed.

Fortunately Sculley was willing. In January 1986 they reached an out-of-

court agreement involving no financial damages. In return for Apple’s dropping its suit, NeXT agreed to a variety of restrictions: Its product would be

marketed as a high-end workstation, it would be sold directly to colleges shlf419

and universities, and it would not ship before March 1987. Apple also insisted that the NeXT machine “not use an operating system compatible with the Macintosh,” though it could be argued that Apple shlf419

 

would have been

better served by

insisting on just

the opposite.

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