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Who got slighted in the Steve Jobs movie

Philip Michaels | Aug. 19, 2013
'Jobs' is a largely accurate biopic of the late Apple cofounder. But not everyone is going to like how they're portrayed in the movie.

Jobs movie

Although every biopic takes its share of liberties with the facts, Jobs doesn't wander too far from the historical record in its big-screen retelling of the Apple cofounder's life. (And as I argue in my review of Jobs, that may be to the movie's detriment.) Still, we all think of ourselves as the heroes of our own narratives, not the by-product of some screenwriter's vision of who are. So here's a brief list of the people and institutions who may have a beef with the big-screen versions of themselves in Jobs.

Jef Raskin
Jef Raskin appears in two scenes in Jobs, the first as the bumbling head of the faltering Macintosh team who gets put in his place by Steve Jobs and the second as he cleans out his desk, having been given the bum's rush. That hardly seems a fair depiction of a man dubbed the Father of the Macintosh--though, admittedly, not everyone agreed with that moniker. What isn't in dispute is Raskin's influence on user interfaces, particularly when it came to the Mac's legendary ease of use. And, as Raskin liked to point out in interviews, he kept the Mac project from being scuttled on multiple occasions when one influential Apple employee--whose name rhymes with "Steve Jobs"--kept arguing for the Mac to be ditched (at least until Jobs was removed from the Lisa team and reassigned to the Mac project).

Arthur Rock
Every movie needs a villain, and in Jobs that part falls to Arthur Rock, Apple's bottom-line chairman who butts heads throughout the movie with the more visionary Steve Jobs. (With his owlish glasses, slicked-down hair, and tight-lipped expression, Rock as portrayed by actor J.K. Simmons bears more than a passing resemblance to a figure from a seminal ad in Apple's history, and I'm not referring to the lady who hurls the hammer.)

The real Rock is a visionary in his own right: In addition to his role as an early Apple backer, he was one of the first venture capitalists to invest in what would become Silicon Valley, and he helped to launch Fairchild Semiconductor and Intel. And if nothing else, Steve Jobs isn't the only character in Jobs to grace the cover of Time magazine.

Gil Amelio
Veteran character actor Kevin Dunn plays Gil Amelio, Apple's CEO for 17 undistinguished months from 1996 to 1997, appearing as a flummoxed chief executive clearly in over his head who is promptly outwitted by Jobs for control of Apple.

This portrayal is fairly accurate, actually.

Michael Scott and Michael Spindler
At least Amelio gets some screen time. Michael Scott—the guy who was Apple's CEO from 1977 to 1981, and not a lightly regarded middle manager at an East Coast paper company—and Michael Spindler don't appear in Jobs at all. In fact, they're the only Apple CEOs to be left out of the movie (other than Tim Cook, who is unlikely to be bothered by that fact).


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