Written by Nick Heer.

Fellow Apple Fellows

Here’s a great story from Andy Hertzfeld:

Bill [Atkinson] explained how upset he was that he didn’t get any recognition for his work on Lisa, his voice hesitant at first, but picking up conviction as he started to get emotional. He told Steve that he was thinking about leaving Apple, because he was treated so unfairly.


The following week, Steve arranged for Bill to meet with Apple’s HR team, to discuss what was bothering him. Bill reiterated that his main complaint was getting recognition for his work. After more discussions with Steve, they came up with something that was mutually acceptable to everyone.

The solution was to appoint Bill as an Apple Fellow, in recognition for his work on the Lisa. Apple Fellow was the most prestigious technical position at Apple, awarded to only two employees so far: Steve Wozniak and Rod Holt. Now there would be two more, Bill Atkinson and Rich Page, who also made seminal contributions to Lisa. A fringe benefit of being appointed an Apple Fellow was a fresh pile of stock options, which could be quite valuable if Apple’s stock price continued to rise.

Phil Schiller is now one of very few people to have earned this internal Apple distinction — and he has absolutely earned it. Earlier today, I wrote that it is a “euphemistic way for a graceful eventual transition out of Apple” — euphemism was not exactly the right word to use. Honorary is closer.

So much for that claim a few years ago, from a former Advanced Technology Group senior manager, that “Phil is not a technology guy”.