When Jobs finally presented the idea, the board was not thrilled.
Gateway Computers was going down in flames after opening suburban stores,
and Jobs's argument that his would do better because they would be in more expensive locations was not, on its face, reassuring.
"Think different" and "Here's to the crazy ones" made for good advertising slogans,
but the board was hesitant to make them guidelines for corporate strategy.
"I'm scratching my head and thinking this is crazy,"
recalled Art Levinson, the CEO of Genentech who joined the Apple board in 2000.
"We are a small company, a marginal player. I said that I'm not sure I can support something like this."
Ed Woolard was also dubious.
"Gateway has tried this and failed, while Dell is selling direct to consumers without stores and succeeding," he argued.
Jobs was not appreciative of too much pushback from the board.
The last time that happened, he had replaced most of the members.
This time, for personal reasons as well as being tired of playing tug-of-war with Jobs, Woolard decided to step down.
But before he did, the board approved a trial run of four Apple stores.