Apple employees at the company’s Cupertino, California headquarters are still in a spin after an apparent rampage by CEO Steve Jobs through the company cafeteria yesterday led to the banning of pears, blackberries, and other fruit from the site.
The incident started just after noon, when a bedraggled Jobs, who is currently on a temporary medical leave of absence from the company, walked into the lunchroom and jumped on top of a table where four employees were enjoying bagged and cafeteria lunches.
Jobs glared at iPhone interface designer Michael McCarthy, then reached into his brown paper bag and pulled out the pear that McCarthy had packed to complement his egg salad sandwich.
“It was the strangest thing I’ve ever seen,” McCarthy recalls. “Steve came in, unshaven and in his bathrobe, and we were all concerned and asking how he was feeling. He walked right past me, then turned around, jumped on the table, grabbed my pear and launched into a tirade about that German company that’s selling the Mac clones. Said we couldn’t eat pears in the lunchroom anymore because it would be like a show of support for PearC.”
Beginning to lose his balance on top of the table, Jobs then jumped back to the floor and began rushing from table to table while pawing through other employees’ lunches. Within seconds, he had pulled an orange from another worker’s bag, then thrown it on the ground and began stomping on it repeatedly.
“Those stupid French judges decided we weren’t allowed to have an exclusivity contract with Orange, so we had to change our entire business model to suit them,” Jobs said in a mocking, sarcastic voice. “Well la, di, da, di, da, Mr French judge. Vive le difference, baby. From now on, I don’t want to see another orange in this place.”
Stunned cafeteria patrons called Apple’s security guards, but they had not yet responded when an increasingly agitated Jobs rushed the cafeteria serving line, where he grabbed several plates with the special of the day – blackberry pie – and threw them on the ground.
“Blackberry pie?” he shouted. “Blackberries? Honestly – of all the flavours of pie in the world, you are serving Blackberry in my cafeteria? Blackberry?”
Jobs then pulled his iPhone from the pocket of the bathrobe, described by one onlooker as being “fluffy and puce”, and emailed the entire company with an order that the fruits would no longer be allowed on campus, and that a list of approved fruit would be posted within 48 hours. After pressing Send, Jobs grabbed an apple from a basket and shouted “these aren’t OK either — I’ve been negotiating with those Apple Corps people for the Beatles music for years, and they go and sell out to Rock Band?!?”
Jobs pocketed his phone and ran, clutching the apple, out of the cafeteria, leaving stunned onlookers to mop up and resume their meals.
“It was like a scene from The Aviator,” the source said, shaking his head.
Apple did not return calls for comment, although an inside source said Jobs had been missing Apple’s micromanaging culture recently and had perhaps taken too much of the wrong kind of cough syrup.