April Fool Special IKEA's flatpack days may soon be a distant memory, as Apple and Pixar founder Steve Jobs turns to his latest challenge. Inter IKEA Systems BV will employ Jobs as "acting CEO", from next month. The technology icon will maintain his twin CEO roles at Apple Computer Inc. and Pixar Inc. but will also take command with a wide-ranging brief at the retail giant. For the technology guru, it's just another job, but for the Swedish furnishing franchise, it's a massive gamble. IKEA had a turnover of €13 billion last year, and has over 200 stores worldwide.
For Jobs, who has no furniture at all in his Palo Alto house, it's an opportunity to reinvent an industry once again. Exclusive mock-ups of his first designs have been obtained by The Register.
Apple fans won't be disappointed. Jobs has convinced the Apple board to second the computer company's award-winning design team to work for IKEA, and in a unique licensing agreement, the results will bear the Apple logo.
In magical metal furniture we trust: Jobs wins over a sceptical Swedish boardroom
Amongst the most controversial ideas to be introduced is a radical twist on a classic concept, the "Torquemada". Intended to be the heart of the new IKEA home, the Torquemada brings a Jobs twist to the very idea of sitting comfortably.
Steve wants you to sit comfortably...
Reaction from confidants has been univerally positive.
"Before me," writes Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal in a draft obtained by The Register, "is the most beautiful chair I have seen in 25 years of sitting on chairs. It's another triumph for Jobs. Will that do, Steve?"
"At last, a chair with a point!" punned the New York Times punning technology pundit, David Pogue.
And most controversially, is the "Bönö" - a titanium object in the shape of a crucifix which emits a high pitched whine when approached.
The 'Bono' is in demand all over the world.
The UN's development agency has already purchased 500 for use in Africa, where experts believe it can end droughts.
The 'Bono' turns desert into a river, say sources close to IKEA
Jobs has also plans to revolutionize IKEA store layout. The successful dense walkthrough floorplan will be discarded for a new, open plan approach based on Apple's retail stores. Instead of offering shoppers a choice of thousands of products, IKEA stores will offer just three to begin with: the Bono, the Torquemada and the "Fukka".
Jobs has other plans to shake-up the retail chain.
To the relief of many, the flatpack self-assembly aesthetic will be replaced by high margin, ready-assembled furniture. Packaging for a wardrobe codenamed "Waenka" wardrobe, obtained by The Register, shows that Apple's attention to detail seen in its lavish product packaging has not been lost.
And don't expect the famous IKEA canteen to escape the Jobs makeover. Out go the celebrated Swedish meatballs - Jobs is a fruitarian - to be replaced by a thin miso soup garnished by a solitary piece of carrot or tofu: food best enjoyed while sitting on a "Torquemada".
Jobs is believed to have won over the phlegmatic Swedes with his legendary charm. "It's time this f***ing business of mass mutha****ing furnishing moved from the f***ing Altair era of f***ing self-f***ing assembly, to the Apple II era," he told the board.
A new future awaits us. and it's so inviting, we can hardly wait to be in it. ®