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Apple's Jobs, Oracle CEO in e-mail prank

graphic January 1, 1998
Web posted at: 7:08 p.m. EST (0008 GMT)

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) -- The continuing saga of Apple Computer Inc.'s search for a chief executive has taken a strange detour.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that interim CEO Steve Jobs and Apple board member Larry Ellison were apparently so annoyed by a computer consultant who wants to be Apple CEO that they sent prank e-mails telling the executive he had the job.

The newspaper reported Wednesday that Jobs and Ellison, who is also chairman and CEO of Oracle Corp., both sent e-mail messages to Michael Murdock, a Burlingame, California-based computer consultant, two days before Christmas, telling him he had the job.

"OK. You can have the job. -- Larry," was one message sent to Murdock, who has been conducting an e-mail campaign for the top job, the Chronicle reported.

Jobs reportedly wrote, "Yep, Mike, it's all yours. When can you start?"

Murdock said he took the messages seriously and said he could start work January 5. The newspaper said Jobs replied, "Please do not come to Apple."

Apple Computer spokeswoman Katie Cotton said the situation was "completely ridiculous" and said that Jobs had responded to Murdock "in jest" because of the numerous e-mails he had received.

"This particular person was just firing e-mails and sending e-mails to Steve and Larry on a regular basis and in jest. Steve responded to him," she said.

"He has taken it too far," Cotton said, referring to Murdock, who said she has been calling media organizations with the story.

But Murdock -- who said he quit his job as a Macintosh Systems engineer at Pixar Animation Studios Inc., where Jobs is also chairman, in August -- said he has not harassed Apple or any of the individuals involved.

Murdock said he sent Jobs about four e-mails on the topic since August, and that when Jobs wrote him in December to say "please go away," he gave up his campaign. He also contacted Apple's search firm Heidrick & Struggles, Apple board member Bill Campbell and Ellison. He also said he had lunch with Apple's co-founder, Steve Wozniak.

"I have never called Apple; I have never called Pixar," Murdock said. "I have not been pounding down the door."

The consultant said he respected Jobs and Ellison but felt like they were "trying to play some type of fraternity joke."

Copyright 1998 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.


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