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FEB. 25, 2007
 Cover Story
 BT Special
 Back of the Book

Trading with ASEAN
In the recent Indo-ASEAN summit, ASEAN was, for the first time, on the defensive. India has agreed to bring down its negative list of imports to 490 items in the free trade agreement with the 10 ASEAN nations. But India’s step towards free trade was not matched by the ASEAN nations, as more than 1,000 items still figure in the negative list of the ASEAN. In 2005-06, India’s total trade with ASEAN was at $22 billion (Rs 99,000 crore), against just $7 billion (Rs 31,500 crore) in 2000-01.

Exchange Deal
Indian markets are on a roll. Global stock exchanges and financial institutions’ interest in the Indian stock exchanges goes to show the long-term growth potential of India Inc. The year has started on a positive note. The NYSE and three global financial institutions have each picked up a 5 per cent stake in the NSE. The deal will open exciting vistas in global co-operation for the NSE, and at the same time could improve the fortune of smaller exchanges in the country.
More Net Specials
Business Today,  February 11, 2007
The Other Steve
Apple's co-founder and the greater genius, Steve Wozniak, on himself and the iconic company.
By Steve Wozniak with Gina Smith
Headline Review
Pp: 313
Price: Rs 359
The names Apple and Steve Jobs are so synonymous that few know there was another Steve without whom there would have been no Apple. Steve Wozniak was the shy super-nerd whose brilliance created the first Apple computer (and the next) and put the two 20-somethings into business. Yet, while reams and reams of newsprint have been spent writing about Jobs and how he created the Apple magic, not enough has been said about the 'inventor' of Apple. Martha Kendall's Steve Wozniak, Inventor of the Apple Computer was the first comprehensive authorised biography of his, but I, Woz is a far more interesting book simply because it comes from the horse's mouth. Why did Wozniak wait for so many years to pen his memoir? "I was busy-too busy," he says, but finally got around to doing it because "so much of the information out there about me is wrong". He did not drop out of college as commonly believed, it wasn't Steve and him who engineered Apple's first computers, but "I did them alone", and he didn't leave Apple because he was unhappy, but because he wanted to launch his own company.

Read the book and one can't help but feel surprised that the two Steves partnered at all. As far as personalities go, they couldn't be more different. Wozniak is the archetypical geek who's got the binary numbers flowing in his veins, and while Jobs is a technology enthusiast, he's an entrepreneur first. He is the brilliant marketer who can bag a $50,000 order (double of Wozniak's annual salary then at hp) against just a promise. Here's a scene, as Wozniak describes it, from one of their early pitches to corporate investors: "I'll never forget how, in that conference room, Steve Jobs made what I thought was the most ridiculous statement. He said, "You might just want to buy this product for a few hundred thousand dollars." I was almost embarrassed. I mean, there we were, we had no money, we had yet to prove to anybody there was going to be any money in this. Steve added, "A few hundred thousand dollars, plus you have to give us jobs working on this project."

Despite their brash genius, the Steves weren't the first to see how big Apple II could become. It was a retired, 30-year-old engineer from Intel called Mike Markkula who foresaw the potential. "We are going to be a Fortune 500 company in two years. This is the start of an industry. It happens once a decade," Wozniak recalls Markkula telling them prophetically while agreeing to put cash behind Apple. The iconic company today, with its iPods and iPhones, is vastly different from the one founded 30 years ago (it has even dropped the word Computer from its name), and Wozniak hasn't been a full-time employee of Apple since 1985, although he continues to work part time. But there's no doubt that it was Wozniak's computers that built Apple.

By Suresh D. tendulkar & T.A. Bhavani
Oxford University Press
Pp: 206
Price: Rs 395

Putting out a balanced fare on the reform process in the country over the last 15 years is a tough task, as it requires a deep understanding of the political economy. Suresh Tendulkar and T.A. Bhavani in their book Understanding Reforms have weaved in this aspect lucidly. How could the Narasimha Rao government in 1991, with a modest majority in Parliament, undertake reforms while the Rajiv Gandhi government, with a thumping majority on the floor of the House, a few years earlier, do little on this count? Such trends are captured by the authors as they journey in time from 1991 to the present. And, there are lessons from this analysis.

This, however, does not happen at the cost of missing out the large body of economic factors that precipitated reforms in 1991. The authors have elaborately documented the reasons that led to the balance of payments crisis in 1991 that triggered large-scale reforms in the country. The book has also dwelled on the varying pace of reforms over the last 15 years, including comparisons with China. Surely, a fine read on the economic reforms history of the country over the last 15 years.