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Apple engineer says working under Steve Jobs is ‘the reason I’m divorced’

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STEVE Jobs is widely regarded as a visionary - responsible for changing the world by leading Apple’s creation of the iPhone.

But a new book by author Brian Merchant claims the high-pressure, fear-driven environment that Jobs created cost people their marriages and their sanity, The New York Post reports.

In a tell-all book called “The One Device: The Secret History of the iPhone,” Merchant portrays Jobs as a taskmaster, pitting members of his company against each other in intense conditions — resulting in disastrous personal outcomes.

Employees of the iPhone project were told “you’re going to have to give up nights and weekends probably for a couple years as we make this product, according to the book.

The work lived up to that prophecy.

Senior iPhone engineer Andy Grignon called the work “professionally one of the worst times of my life,” and claimed “the iPhone is the reason I’m divorced.”

The sentiment was echoed by multiple Apple employees.

Jobs split the iPhone team into two task groups referred to as P1 and P2, pitting them against each other.

P1 was tasked with adding phone functionality to the existing iPod.

They eventually produced a phone that used the click wheel to scroll through a virtual rotary dial.

P2, the winning team, was tasked with designing a phone using the now ubiquitous touch interface.

As Merchant tells it, tensions were so high that executives from the two teams would “barely be able to tolerate sitting in the same room together.”

Grignon described the “soup of misery” as “a pressure cooker of a bunch of really smart people with an impossible deadline, an impossible mission.”

Jobs also insisted on an intense level of secrecy for the project, partly because, as one employee described, he was “just naturally paranoid.”

He chose the office for the project that became known by its codename “Purple” because it was windowless.

Cleaning crews weren’t allowed in because Jobs didn’t want them to see what was written on the whiteboards.

According to iPhone software lead developer Scott Forstall, Apple “locked the entire floor down".

He said: "We put doors with badge readers, there were cameras, I think, to get to some of our labs, you had to badge in four times to get there.”

Forestall told Merchant that there were even posters reminding employees to keep the project secret: “[Jobs] put up a sign that said ‘Fight Club’ because the first rule of Fight Club in the movie is that you don’t talk about Fight Club[.]”

Jobs was notorious for his hot temper and unconventional business tactics. He has famously fired employees in public and without notice.

The book also reveals that Jobs was one of the biggest roadblocks to the success of the iPod and creation of the iPhone, despite their prominent roles in cementing Jobs’ legacy.

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