Working Backwards: Insights, Stories, and Secrets from Inside Amazon
shares an anecdote about an interesting meeting between the two titans of tech industry.
According to a report by CultofMac, which cites the anecdote from the book, Jobs met Bezos and over a platter of sushi told him about how Apple had created the greatest Windows application ever built. The application was none other than iTunes.
In the book — written by Amazon employees Colin Bryar and Bill — both of whom joined the company in the late 1990s. The authors talk about Bezos, Bryar and and Diego Piacentini — a former Apple VP who later Amazon — traveled from Seattle to Cupertino to meet with Jobs.
They were greeted by Jobs and another Apple employee “who ushered us into a nondescript conference room with a Windows PC and two platters of takeout sushi. We had an informal discussion about the state of the music industry (note: this was not long after Apple launched iTunes) while doing some serious damage to the sushi platters, for it was already past dinnertime.”
“After dabbing his mouth with a napkin, Jobs segued into the real purpose of the meeting and announced that Apple had just finished building their first Windows application. He calmly and confidently told us that even though it was Apple’s first attempt to build for Windows, he thought it was the best Windows application anyone had ever built.”
Jobs further predicted the demise of CDs during the meeting and told Bezos as much indirectly. “Amazon has a decent chance of being the last place to buy CDs,” Jobs said. “The business will be high-margin but small. You’ll be able to charge a premium for CDs, since they’ll be hard to find.” At this point, CDs were a big part of Amazon’s portfolio and Jobs comments as per the report could be interpreted as him telling Bezos that Apple is ‘destroying a big part of your business’.
According to the report, the book’s authors thought that Jobs’ comments could have been a key step in making Bezos realise about physical sales of products — some at least — was likely to fizzle out.