Otellini's Unrequited Hug

Peter Burrows

I just got back from Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference, where Steve Jobs laid out Apple's plan to base future Macs on Intel's microprocessors. All in all, it was another demo par excellence--right down to the moment when Jobs proved to the many doubters in the crowd that an Intel-based Mac could work, by disclosing that the presentation they'd been watching was in fact being run on one.

There was, alas, one uncomfortable moment. Call it "the hug that wasn't."

Jobs had just called Intel CEO Paul Otellini on stage to take a bow. Otellini came out, face beaming, and tried to lay a bear hug on Jobs--who after a momentary stab at a back slap, recoiled uncomfortably and assumed conventional hand-shaking position. Said one onlooker, "In this sense, Steve is like the Queen of England. You just don't hug the Queen."

If Otellini's appearance didn't start well, he more than saved face n front of the potentially hostile Mac crowd. His best move of the day was rolling the tape of Apple's "Toasted Bunny" 1996 ad, in which one of Intel's bunny-suited dancers gets torched to show its inferiority to the PowerPC. "They burned our bunny person!," Otellini said. "But we didn't hold a grudge." Not anymore, anyway.

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