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Steve Jobs: The alternate future

What if Steve really left Apple?

August 23, 2011: What feels like an earthquake shakes New York City. In fact it's a JJ Abrams-like ripple in time, which punches back to 1983 when, overlooking the Hudson river, 27-year-old Apple Chairman Steve Jobs finally convinces Pepsi-Co CEO John Sculley to abandon the world of flavoured sugar-water and come join him in the limelight at Apple Computer.

"You can change the world," Steve tells John. The world shudders.

The burst of energy caused by the meeting of visionaries Jobs and Sculley weakens points of the fabric between two parallel worlds, and a point of technological singularity is reached. That ripple in time reverberates around the careers of those two men of business acumen and technological vision, opening wormholes into their 1985 mighty battle for control of the burgeoning tech giant.

August 24, 2011: The energy of the singularity rips the time-space continuum as Jobs again loses control of Apple, and becomes Chairman of the company for the third time. It never ends well. Even the Apple board are shocked by Steve’s resignation, although design guru Jony Ive is seen giggling at the back when the news is announced to the managerial team.

August 25, 2011: The world is shocked by the news that Jobs has again resigned as CEO. Even people who’d never heard of Jobs, people who owned Zunes, people who love their BlackBerry PlayBooks – even they are reduced to tears. Replacement Tim Cook is a sort of dull Jobs clone, dressing the same, saying the same words, but without the visionary gleam of Jobs.

August 26, 2011: Wow. Jobs does exactly what he did back in 1985, and informs Apple that he is leaving the company to form a new startup, and he’s taking a few “low-level” Apple employees with him.

August 27, 2011: New CEO Tim Cook is stunned when he reads Jobs’ list of “low-level” staff he is taking with him to join his new company. Aside from the vegan chef from the Cupertino canteen (“The only cook I’m taking with me," Jobs had quipped), and the guy in charge of the parking lot, there are two names on the list that Cook can’t believe: Jonathan Ive (Senior Vice President Industrial Design) and Ron Johnson (Senior Vice President Retail).

Cook calls Johnson to ask what the hell is going on. Ron replies that he’s working on a series of new stores for Jobs’ new project. He reveals its name: iNeXT.

Ive is uncontactable.

August 28, 2011: Still unable to contact Ive, Cook confronts Jobs at his Palo Alto house. When Jobs opens the door Cook is again rendered speechless. Steve Jobs is the picture of health. He's even wearing a bow tie.

“I feel great,” Steve tells Cook. “Incredible! Amazing!”

“Jony and I have been working on something magical. And I mean truly magical.”

Cook demands to know how long Jobs has been planning his new company, and Steve waves him away with his hand: “Just the past week, actually,” he tell Tim.

And then the real shocker: “I’ve just bought HP’s PC business. We've got to change the logo from that horrible blue. I was thinking maybe something black, white or aluminum grey. And the shape. These things have got to be cubes. This time the world is really ready for a cube computer. Just you watch.

“And we got all that webOS stuff. You can forget about Android – your lawyers can handle those guys. Jony’s been playing with the TouchPad, and thinks he can make it into the most amazing tablet ever.”

Cook faints.

August 29, 2011: To be continued…

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