Just two weeks after the death of Steve Jobs in October 2011, Simon & Schuster released the massive biography, Steve Jobs.

The book was written and researched by Walter Isaacson, the well-respected journalist and editor, who had been recruited by Jobs himself to write the definitive version of his life story. Though the book seemed rushed into print following Jobs’ death, it was generally well-reviewed and became a bestseller.

The book certainly had its share of critics who felt it dwelt too much on Jobs’ flaws, or perhaps gave him too much credit for Apple’s success. But that was balanced by the fact that Isaacson had years of exclusive access to interview Jobs as well as his colleagues, family, and friends. Jobs no doubt knew it would be warts-and-all type affair, but in the end seemed comfortable placing his legacy in the hands of another person.

It turns out, many at Apple are not so happy with the result of Isaacson’s endeavor.

They have begun a not-so-quiet campaign to undermine the book’s credibility, while eagerly promoting a new biography that will apparently provide what Apple insiders believe is a better picture of Jobs’ life and work. Those efforts, however, are being complicated by a new documentary on Jobs, and likely by a feature film in the works based on Isaacson’s book.

Executives haven’t detailed their specific grievances with Isaacson’s book. But they are making their disdain for it quite plain.

In a recent New Yorker profile, Apple design guru Jony Ive said he’d “read only parts of the book, but had seen enough to dislike it, for what he called inaccuracies.” The story quotes Ive as saying: “My regard couldn’t be any lower” with what the reporter describes as “unusual heat.”

Then a Fast Company story about Jobs included this blistering attack from Apple chief executive Tim Cook:

I thought the Isaacson book did [Jobs] a tremendous disservice. It was just a rehash of a bunch of stuff that had already been written, and focused on small parts of his personality.

You get the feeling that [Jobs was] a greedy, selfish egomaniac. It didn’t capture the person. The person I read about there is somebody I would never have wanted to work with over all this time. Life’s too short.

That article and quote are excerpts from a new biography being released later this month called Becoming Steve Jobs. The book is coauthored by Brent Schlender, a former Wall Street Journal and Fortune editor and reporter; and Rick Tetzeli, executive editor of Fast Company.

The coauthors got extensive access to Apple executives and employees, along with Jobs’ colleagues at Pixar. It appears they were eager to cooperate in the hopes that this new book would right whatever wrongs they felt Isaacson committed.

The book description from Random House also seems to take a subtle swipe at the Isaacson book: “Brent knew Jobs personally for 25 years and draws upon his many interviews with him, on and off the record, in writing the book. He and Rick humanize the man and explain, rather than simply describe, his behavior. Along the way, the book provides rich context about the technology revolution we all have lived through, and the ways in which Jobs changed our world.”

Presumably, Isaacson is guilty of merely describing, rather than explaining.

While Isaacson’s work may have been less than complete, or perhaps less nuanced than some would have liked, it’s hard to understand the depth of the vitriol. As Cook points out, many of the anecdotes it contained about Jobs were well-known, particularly his famous temper. It seems Apple executives are hoping the new book will temper that with more anecdotes from them about Jobs’ humanity, like Cook’s story of offering his liver to Jobs when he learned his friend needed a transplant.

But any hope to control the narrative about who Jobs was was thrown a bit of a curveball this week by the preview of a new documentary, Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine by Oscar-winner Alex Gibney. The Verge called it an “unforgiving look” at Jobs. Apple apparently chose not to cooperate with the documentary, but that didn’t stop Apple executive Eddy Cue from blasting it on Twitter:

Cue followed that with his own backhanded slap at Isaacson buried in a compliment for the new biography, which presumably he got to read in advance.

We’ll see how widely Gibney’s documentary is seen, and whether it has any impact on the image of Jobs.

But in the meantime, work is moving ahead on the Jobs biopic written by Aaron Sorkin, who showed he’s not afraid to tear down a tech leader with his take on Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in 2010’s The Social Network. That movie is currently set to be released in October 2015.

Of course, whatever the truth of who Jobs was, or what lessons he has to teach us, the sprawling efforts to define his legacy reveal a lot about his impact.

Almost 3.5 years after his death, we still can’t stop talking about him. His story remains as complex, intriguing, and elusive as ever.

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