Charles Arthur has written a fascinating book, Digital Wars: Apple, Google, Microsoft and the Battle for the Internet, and I think this interview below will help you understand why I found the book quite interesting.
But I have to make a confession: I thought I would dislike the book, which is not what you want to think or feel as you start a new non-fiction book. Not to mention doing an interview with its author.
Let me clarify. I was asked to read this book and interview its author. The author is the technology editor for The Guardian,so I had no doubt he would know what he's talking about.
However, I have read, and done interviews on, dozens of books that explore the history of the Internet and what various companies like Google did right and wrong. So I was expecting this book to be a rehash of what I already knew and, thus, be boring.
But, thankfully, boring this book is not. Arthur covered these companies' rise and their various missteps as a reporter and editor and shares that and additional reporting with this book.
Yes, these is crossover, material that I previously read in such books as Googled, but Arthur keeps a tight focus and explores various issues in different ways than other authors I have read.
His book contains enough gems and details I didn't know (and probably many others also did not know) to keep the book not only interesting but engaging. For example, I dog-eared a page where he reports that Google's co-founders searched for a company chief executive, at the urging of its venture capital backers. They told the backers they had found someone, who was born in 1955 and was "a very experienced chief executive at a comparatively small company whose glory days were behind it and that was struggling to compete with Microsoft," Arthur writes.
"Yes, they explained to their backers: Their choice was Steve Jobs. He, however, indicated non-availability. The search continued. Eventually it ended in March 2001 when they hired Eric Schmidt," Arthur writes.
Can you imagine how different this book, not to mention technology, would be had Steve Jobs became the head of Google instead of returning to Apple?