Part 4: That was the last word spoken in the meeting and I could tell Steve was mad. I was mad too. An engineer walked me to my office while saying it had been nice knowing me.

I closed my office door, picked up the phone, and asked for Andy Grove. I wanted to know why they weren’t in the conversation. I guessed it was because we used the Intel i860 chip on one of our graphics boards and it didn’t impress us. But what were Michael Dell, Bill Gates and Andy going to do about the Intel 80486 facing the same fate as Motorola’s 68040? I had to know.

I got Andy’s assistant on the phone. His assistants were executives-in-training who spent 2 years mentoring under Andy. I explained that if Steve heard about this call I would be fired. I justified the call by saying sometimes history has shown you have to do the right thing and keep it secret from Steve until later, as the Mac team famously did when they hid a Sony engineer in the Apple building so Steve wouldn’t find out.

I said I had no idea what Steve’s relationship with Andy was. For all I knew, Steve thought Intel chips were shit (the word Steve would have used). But I knew Steve liked people at the top of their fields who admired and mentored him. Could I meet with Andy and explain our situation so Andy could call Steve?

He said he would ask Andy. He called back and scheduled a two-hour meeting at Intel, saying Andy would be there. I suddenly felt I had to have an engineer there and sought William Parkhurst, who I admired as one of the most influential engineers we ever hired. I fessed up to my boss, Mike Slade, about what we were doing. Max Henry, Donna Simonides, William and I piled in my Honda Accord and headed for Intel.