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Hewlett-Packard took a beating over the summer as its HP TouchPad had to be "given away" for $99 after the product failed to generate enough sales to continue its market presence. Although HP was a competitor of Apple and Steve Jobs had a long, complicated history with the company, he described the collapse of HP as a "tragedy," according to Steve Jobs, a new authorized biography of the former Apple CEO by Walter Isaacson.
"Hewlett and Packard built a great company, and they thought they left it in good hands," Jobs told Apple employees during his final visit to the company, Wired reported. "But now it's being dismembered and destroyed. It's tragic. I hope I've left a stronger legacy so that will never happen at Apple."
According to the report by Wired, Jobs' relationship with HP went back decades.
When Jobs was in eighth grade, he called up HP founder Bill Hewlett to ask him for a part for a frequency counter he was building.
According to the HP website, the 12-year-old Jobs simply asked, "Is this the Bill Hewlett of Hewlett-Packard?"
After Hewlett affirmed that it was, Jobs made his request and the two talked about the eight-grader's project. Several days later, Jobs went to HP and picked up a bag of electronic parts that Hewlett had put together for him for the project. Hewlett, also impressed with the youngster's ambition, offered him a summer job.
Years later, Steve Wozniac, Jobs' friend and Apple co-founder, was working at HP while building the first Apple computer in his time off. After Apple was in business, Jobs would hire away computer engineers to come work for him, despite the fact he usually found them a "little unhip," Wired reported.
According to Isaacson, Jobs had a great admiration for HP that helped him shape his own path.
"He wanted to be in the pantheon with, indeed a notch above, people like... Bill Hewlett and David Packard," Isaacson writes in Steve Jobs.
Jobs also said that he wanted Apple to be a great company that was "built to last – not just make money," which he considered the most difficult feat to accomplish in business. Some of the companies that Jobs believed accomplished that was Disney, Intel and, before this summer's collapse, HP.