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Avie Jon & Steve: Enemy Action

'Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three times is enemy action.'


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Speculation is but one small step this side of conspiracy theorising. But don't tell Auric Goldfinger that when he knows there's something that's happened. It's just a matter of process of elimination for him to figure it out - and he will figure it out.

It's hard to believe that anyone from higher management - especially someone who began twenty years ago at NeXT - would not see the significance of walking on Friday, as the day after, 1 April, is the much ballyhooed thirtieth anniversary of Apple computer.

One almost gets the feeling that anyone choosing that particular day to walk out was trying to say something about the corporation and their belief in it. Stay another day and get in on the celebration; run a month earlier and avoid all gossip; walk the day before and make a statement.

Now if it was but one, it might be put off to happenstance or at least coincidence - even by Auric Goldfinger. But it wasn't but one - it was two, and not just any two either but the two people more responsible for NeXT and Apple hardware and software over the past twenty years than anyone else.

Fact: Avie wasn't the only one to walk on Friday. There's almost no mention of this in the press, but Jon Rubinstein walked too. Don't know who Jon Rubinstein is? He is (or was) head of hardware at the iPod division at Apple.

Why is this significant? Easy: heading iPod hardware is new for Jon, as was heading software for Avie. Both were heads of their respective divisions at NeXT and remained in those positions (at Apple since 1997) until recently.


Not one but two walked - on the same day. Jon Rubinstein, pictured left, was head of hardware at NeXT from the beginning and took over the same position at Apple in 1997. Avie Tevanian, pictured right, was head of software at NeXT and took over the same position at Apple in 1997. The press are going on about Tevanian's departure on 31 March but they mention precious little about the equally significant Rubinstein and the fact that these two long time friends decided to walk out together.

Although Avie was chief of software, he was still promoted in 2003 and his old job filled by long time NeXT programmer Bertrand Serlet. Jon was head of hardware at NeXT, shuffled out the NeXTcube and the NeXTstation, and took over the same slot at Apple in 1997.

As Auric said, 'Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action, Mr Bond.' Something might very well be afoot. It's time to analyse what really happened. Using process of elimination of course. There are three possible scenarios.

Scenario One: Neither Avie nor Jon knew the other guy was quitting on 31 March. This is highly unlikely as these guys have known each other and worked together for twenty years. They and their families probably socialise outside work. Eliminated.

Scenario Two: Avie and Jon knew they were both quitting and on the same day but they never talked about it together. This too is highly unlikely. Eliminated.

Scenario Three: Avie and Jon both knew they were both quitting and on the same day and even talked about it but it's still pure coincidence. This is possible if not likely - the question remains what in fact they talked about when they talked about it.

Subscenario Three - One:
Avie: Hey Jon, they tell me you're quitting too.
Jon: That's right. On 31 March.
Avie: 31 March? No way!
Jon: Way! Why?
Avie: Because that's the day I'm leaving too!
Jon: No way!
Avie: Way!
Jon: Hey this is going to look like shit!
Avie: Way!
Jon: People are going to wonder if something else is afoot!
Avie: No shit, dude! But hey - PR will take care of it. No worries!

That's one way it could have gone. But Auric Goldfinger wouldn't have believed it for a second.

Subscenario Three - Two:
Jon: They tell me you're quitting, Avie.
Avie: Yeah. Sigh. It's about time. I'm so sick of this place.
Jon: Me too. Start with the NeXTcube and graduate to a lifestyle accessory. Shit.
Avie: Have you given them a date?
Jon: Yeah. 31 March. We can get away for a nice holiday in Cancun if we book early.
Avie: 31 March sounds good. I'll make it then too. But I think I'll go north. Alaska. Always wanted to see it.
Jon: Twenty years.
Avie: Yeah. Ten of them straight downhill.
Jon: But I liked the PowerBooks.
Avie: Yeah, they were cool.
Jon: It's not your fault they fucked up OS X. Really. Don't take it personally.
Avie: But I do. They fucked things up and I couldn't stop them.
Jon: But what could you do? Apple will never change.
Avie: Yeah I've come to realise that. I've been itching to leave for sometime. I don't want my name associated with this mess.
Jon: Me neither. 'Jon Rubinstein, the man who brought the world the iPod nano and the iPod boombox.'
Avie: Haha.
Jon: Hey as if that's going to get me a new job.
Avie: We could make a new startup.
Jon: True. We get enough in going away presents for that.
Avie: You take your family to Cancun and we'll talk about it later. We should do dinner as well.
Jon: How about the weekend of 1 April? We won't be leaving until the middle of the week after.
Avie: Sounds great! Jon, I am so fucking tired of this Apple shit and these insufferable fanboys.
Jon: Tell me about it! It's not exactly the way we thought it would turn out, is it?
Avie: OK, I got a meeting with the Bearded One. Talk to you later.
Jon: We'll give you guys a call on Saturday afternoon and set the dinner up.
Avie: Good enough. It's a deal. Bye!

Avie Jon & Steve

This of course precludes the possibility that either of them ever realised how bad this could look for Apple and also the possibility Apple discussed the matter with them.

Which again is highly unlikely. But as we know they both did walk out on the same day, as we know Apple were aware of this for some time, we must conclude, as would Auric Goldfinger, that there is enemy action afoot.

Apple will necessarily have attempted to get the duo to 'stagger' their departures so as to not scare shareholders and the marketplace; but it is a fact they both did walk on the same day. And that, as Auric Goldfinger said, is enemy action.

There is no way Jobs would want to let them walk on the same day - it just looks bad. Even if he was glad to see the both of them go - highly unlikely - he wouldn't be happy to see the both of them go on the same day. Rumours. Smoke where there's no fire. Articles like this at sites like this.

So Jobs would have tried to get them to not leave on the same day. Obviously. Yet he could not.

Time to get out the laser, Auric.

Postscript: Jon Rubinstein's 404

As the day these two NeXT icons walked was not just any old day but the day before Apple were to celebrate their thirtieth anniversary, founded as they were on April Fools 1976, and as the Apple PR site has a press release for Tevanian's departure but none to be found for the departure of Rubinstein, Apple PR were asked for the location of the formal notice for Rubinstein.

There was no reply.

[For more conspiracy theories on enemy action, click here,]

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