Inventor of Email Attachments Reveals Why He Turned Down Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs wanted to hire the inventor of email attachments and the whole team, but he failed to do so, because nobody wanted to work with Jobs, recalls Nathaniel Borenstein, father of email attachment recalls, speaking with the Telegraph.

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Thirty-four years ago, sending an attachment via email was nowhere, as only about 120 “machines” were connected to the Internet, and they could only send plain text messages to each other.

The solution for embedding images into email as attachments came from Nathaniel Borenstein, who achieved this as a side project without knowing that it would turn into a long and successful carrier. And even Steve Jobs was interested in hiring the whole team, but his reputation as a domineering personality blocked the deal.

“Around this time, a guy named Steve Jobs came by, and he saw the mail system, and he tried to hire my whole team on the spot. And nobody wanted to work for him. “I’d say that was the right decision, unless you only cared about getting rich. Which would have been the wrong decision,” said Borenstein.

“I had a couple of dealings with him. I admired him greatly, but I would not have wanted to work for him. He was a totally domineering personality. If you were at Apple and you disagreed with Steve Jobs, you lost, whether you were right or wrong. And nobody can always be right.

By the way Borenstein was also a domineering character, so it was pretty obvious that any such collaboration wouldn’t have lasted.

As a result, Jobs decided to create its own multimedia tool for Next, called NextMail. However, Borenstein had the idea of creating a common standard called the Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME), which would extend the capabilities of email, enabling multi-language and file attachment support.

This technology became so popular that Steve Jobs incorporated it in NextMail, which later transformed the Mail app built into the Mac OS X of today.