Steve Jobs fights Jewish journalism student

By Jennifer Lipman, September 21, 2010
Steve Jobs refused to help the student with her assignment

Steve Jobs refused to help the student with her assignment

A Jewish student from New York spent Yom Kippur thinking about Steve Jobs after she received an email from the Apple chief executive telling her to leave him alone.

Chelsea Kate Isaacs described Mr Jobs as rude after he refused to help her with her university coursework. The 22-year-old former model, who studies journalism at Long Island University, had asked him for a comment for an article she was writing about the iPad. The university has launched an initative providing students with iPads.

The assignment was due two days after Yom Kippur and Ms Isaacs was hoping to finish it before the fast. But despite leaving six phone messages with Apple, she had received no help.

At the suggestion of a friend, she contacted Mr Jobs on his publicly-available personal email last Thursday. She wrote that she only had "three quick questions", that the coursework was "crucial" to her grade and that she had a tight deadline.

An hour later Mr Jobs replied curtly and said: "Our goals do not include helping you get a good grade".

Chelsea Kate Isaacs said she just wanted a good grade

Chelsea Kate Isaacs said she just wanted a good grade

In response, Ms Isaacs wrote back berating Apple's lack of "common courtesy". She added: "I never said that your goal should be to help me get a good grade.

"Rather, I politely asked why your media relations team does not respond to emails, which consequently, decreases my chances of getting a good grade.

"You do have a creative approach, indeed."

Mr Jobs then said he could only respond to emails from customers who had a problem. However Ms Isaacs, who owns an iPod, replied: "I do meet your criteria for being a customer who deserves a response. I am one of your 300 million users. I do have a problem."

To that Mr Jobs said: "Please leave us alone."

Ms Isaacs told The JC that she had not expected to hear from Mr Jobs himself, but had been desperate to complete the work so she would not have to do it over Yom Kippur.

"I wouldn't have been disappointed if he hadn't replied. But he did - and he just was not nice."

She said she was surprised to receive such an "abrupt" reaction from someone in charge of a public company. "I was just trying to do my work. I feel really disappointed by how he reacted."

However Ms Isaacs acknowledged that sending the emails from her BlackBerry - Apple's business rival - might not have helped the situation.

"But if that is the case, that is pretty absurd. Just having a different phone doesn't entitle him to react that way".

Ms Isaacs, who hopes to work in journalism, said she would think twice about buying Apple products in future.

She said: "Apple didn't really want to help and they didn't really care."

Her coursework has been marked with a B+, rather than the A she had hoped for. But Ms Isaacs, who spent Yom Kippur with her family at Manhattan's Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, said she had spent the service "meditating" about the situation.

"The holiday reminded me what was important," she said. "I used Yom Kippur to forgive him. I don't hold any grudges.

"Maybe he is a great guy. I'm hoping he'll give me a phone call."

Last updated: 3:01pm, November 2 2010