He wanted Amelio to help him return to Apple as the CEO.
"There's only one person who can rally the Apple troops," Jobs said, "only one person who can straighten out the company."
The Macintosh era had passed, Jobs argued, and it was now time for Apple to create something new that was just as innovative.
"If the Mac is dead, what's going to replace it?" Amelio asked.
Jobs's reply didn't impress him.
"Steve didn't seem to have a clear answer," Amelio later said. "He seemed to have a set of one-liners."
Amelio felt he was witnessing Jobs's reality distortion field and was proud to be immune to it.
He shooed Jobs unceremoniously out of his office.
By the summer of 1996 Amelio realized that he had a serious problem.
Apple was pinning its hopes on creating a new operating system, called Copland,
but Amelio had discovered soon after becoming CEO that it was a bloated piece of vaporware
that would not solve Apple's needs for better networking and memory protection, nor would it be ready to ship as scheduled in 1997.
He publicly promised that he would quickly find an alternative. His problem was that he didn't have one.