Apple tried to block a lengthy 4,000 word plus profile of Steve Jobs from being published in yesterday's Sunday Times newspaper.
Respected journalist and author Bryan Appleyard reports Apple twice tried unsuccessfully to halt the story, which covers familiar and not-so-familiar ground including Apple's iconic appeal, Job's upbringing, patchy education, love life, control freak nature, business success and failure and most recently renewed concerns about his health.
"Apple hates personality stuff and press intrusion. 'We want to discourage profiles', an Apple PR tells me stiffly, apparently unaware she is waving a sackful of red rags at a herd of bulls," Appleyard writes.
"Another PR rings the editor of this magazine to try to halt publication of this piece."
Appleyard and those quoted notable observers - Dan Lyons, Philip Elmer-DeWitt, Andrea Cunningham, Michael Maccoby, Alan Deutschman, Andy Hertzfeld, Alvy Ray Smith amongst them - paint a picture of Apple's CEO swinging between the Bad Steve/Good Steve poles.
While the article is a far cry from simple character assassination, Appleyard paints a pretty grim picture of life at Apple: "A cult of corporate omerta - the mafia code of silence - is ruthlessly enforced, with employees sacked for leaks and careless talk.
"Executives feed deliberate misinformation into one part of the company so that any leak can be traced back to its source."
"Workers on sensitive projects have to pass through many layers of security. Once at their desks or benches, they are monitored by cameras and they must cover up devices with black cloaks and turn on red warning lights when they are uncovered."
Appleyard also speculates on an Apple without Steve Jobs, suggesting a future merger with Google, antitrust regulators permitting, would be the logical step, as each share a common bond and until recently Eric Schmidt, the now former Apple director and chairman and chief executive of Google.
Google’s innovation and Apple’s design and market sense would be a very good fit suggests Appleyard, with both companies trying to seize market dominance from Microsoft.
'Steve Jobs: The man who polished Apple' by Bryan Appleyard is available at The Times website.