Steve Jobs was controversial in life, and now his high-tech mega-yacht is associated with a controversy long after his death. The former Apple CEO's ship was impounded in Amsterdam in the middle of a financial battle over a disputed bill.
Phillippe Starck, a French product designer and architect, has alleged that Jobs' heirs owe him 3 million euros for his work on Venus, the 256-foot yacht Jobs commissioned before his death. Jobs allegedly agreed to pay 9 million euros for the huge minimalistic vessel, which has a distinct, Apple-looking design. The boat reportedly cost $131 million to build.
On Christmas Eve, though, news reports indicated Jobs' heirs reached a temporary agreement in the financial dispute with the designer.
"A solution has been found and a security has been lodged on a bank account for the boat to be free to leave," Gerard Moussault, who represents Jobs' heirs, said in a statement.
Starck had called in debt collectors and the yacht was impounded last week.
"The boat is brand new but there is a 3-million euro claim on it," Jeroen Ranzijn, a spokesman for the Port of Amsterdam, told the BBC. "The parties will have to fight it out."
According to CNN, the Venus is made entirely out of aluminum, with 40-foot-long floor-to-ceiling windows lining the passenger compartment and seven 27-inch iMacs making up the command center.
Finished After Jobs' Death
"Steve and I shared the same idea about the elegance of the minimal, the elegance of work well done," Starck told the BBC. "It is not like a lot of mega yachts showing the vulgarity of money. It's a boat showing the elegance of intelligence." The yacht was finished Oct. 28, a year after Jobs' death from pancreatic cancer.
Jobs said in a biography by Walter Isaacson, "I know that it's possible I will die and leave Laurene [Jobs' widow] with a half-built boat, but I have to keep going on. If I don't, it's an admission that I'm about to die."
The boat is finished, but Jobs' family is left to fight for the right to sail it. The temporary agreement may fall apart.
"The project has been going since 2007 and there had been a lot of detailed talk between Jobs and Starck," Roelant Klaassen, a lawyer representing Starck's company, Ubik, told Reuters. "These guys trusted each other, so there wasn't a very detailed contract."