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‘SPAC King’ Chamath Palihapitiya Reveals He Was Interviewed By Steve Jobs And Almost Became Head Of iPhone: ‘I Was Like A Believer Meeting Jesus’



Silicon Valley veteran Chamath Palihapitiya, known as the “SPAC King” for his use of special purpose acquisition companies, recently shared a surprising story on the All-In Podcast. Palihapitiya, who left Facebook in 2011, revealed he almost became the head of iPhone at Apple after interviewing with the iconic Steve Jobs.

What Happened: Palihapitiya was reminiscing about his early days at Winamp, where he spearheaded a visionary 99-cent music download store concept. While the idea impressed big names, Palihapitiya said owner AOL‘s internal politics stalled the project. Nine months later, iTunes launched a similar service, which he believed showcased Apple’s superior execution.

This anecdote transitioned into a bombshell revelation. Palihapitiya hesitantly shared that upon leaving Facebook in 2011, he interviewed for a job at Apple — specifically, the rumored head of iPhone role. 

“And I was adamant that I would never work for anybody until I heard it was Steve Jobs. And I was like, I will do whatever he says,” Palihapitiya said. “I would have driven his car.”

See Also: Top 10 Best SPACs Right Now

A Small Twist: The venture capitalist said he would not get into the details of the interview rounds and the “process died” once it emerged that Jobs was not going to be CEO anymore, and Palihapitiya would end up reporting to Tim Cook. “They said I wasn’t a good cultural fit for Apple in the new era,” he said.

“So then I went and I started Social Capital, but that was my only job interview that I had when I was leaving Facebook,” Palihapitiya said. “I was like a kid meeting his, I don’t even want to call it ‘idol.’ I think I was like a believer meeting Jesus. That’s how it felt.”

The Twilight Of The Jobs Era: It’s important to note that 2011 was a significant year for Apple. Jobs, battling health issues, was nearing the end of his tenure as CEO. While details remain private, the interview process likely coincided with Jobs’ decision to hand over the reins to Cook, a shift that would significantly impact Apple’s leadership structure.

Palihapitiya’s Facebook Years: Palihapitiya joined Facebook in 2007 (the same year when the iPhone was launched) when it was a little over three years old, rising to become a prominent figure who led projects such as Facebook Home and Facebook Phone — which Palihapitiya had said would have “been an Apple iPhone-like moment.”

Read Next: Apple’s Rollercoaster Week: New iPads On Horizon, iPhone Sales Slump In China And Mark Zuckerberg’s Jab At Vision Pro

Photo by TechCrunch on Flickr

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