Booted from Apple
At first, Jobs and Sculley were a powerful team, dubbed on the cover of an October 1983 BusinessWeek as "Apple's Dynamic Duo". It didn't last.
Soon after its showy introduction, it became apparent that the Macintosh was not going to be the instant hit that Jobs had predicted. Plagued by a 128KB memory allotment – low even for that time – plus a lack of expandability, no hard drive, and other limitations, it failed to attract a critical mass of software developers.
It didn't help, either, that the Mac's graphical user interface was unfamiliar to the developer community – although there was one young, up-and-coming developer who thought the Mac was worth investing in: Bill Gates.
Mac sales tanked. Jobs reportedly blamed everyone but himself – including Sculley – for the apparent failure of his pet project.
He also made the strategic error of alienating both his once-friend Steve Wozniak and the company's Apple II team – still responsible for the bulk of the company's revenue – by ignoring the company's one successful product during an annual meeting.
Wozniak quit Apple - loudly. According to iCon, Wozniak tore into Jobs and his supporters during his resignation, saying: "We had a shareholders' meeting last week and the words 'Apple II' were not mentioned once." Jobs was running out of friends at Apple.
Jobs then made another strategic error by attempting to work behind Sculley's back to get him fired. The machinations involved in his struggle with Sculley and his supporters were complex and many-layered – and the stuff of legend – but in the end Sculley won.
At the end of May 1985, Sculley convinced Apple's board of directors to remove Jobs as general manager of the Macintosh division and deny him any day-to-day operating role in the company – although he was allowed to retain his position as board chairman. Jobs described Sculley's withdrawal of support as being like when "somebody punch[es] you in the stomach and it knocks the wind out of you and you can't breathe".
Jobs and John Sculley – presumably when they were still speaking with one another
On June 1, in an article entitled "Apple Co-Founder Jobs Demoted", the San Jose Mercury News reported that Apple said Jobs would take on "a more global role in product innovations and strategies".
After being "demoted", Jobs spent some time in Europe, and when he returned to Cupertino he was asked to move out of his office to a separate building he nicknamed "Siberia", where he pondered his next move. Pun intended.
"I went for a lot of long walks in the woods and didn't really talk to a lot of people," Jobs said about the period ofter his exile to Siberia. But then he began to quietly put together a team of Apple senior engineers to launch the company that eventually became known as NeXT.
On August 15, 1985, Apple's stock was at its lowest point in its history, before or since, closing – when adjusted for three splits since – at $1.8125. In September 1985, after another bout of internecine warfare with Apple management, Jobs tendered his resignation.
In early 1986, Jobs finished selling off all but one of his shares of Apple stock. He kept that single share, he is said to have commented, in order to keep receiving the company's annual reports.
The same Merc article that reported his ouster also said: "As of January, Jobs still owned 11.3 percent of Apple stock, a block that was worth about $120 million on Friday, when Apple closed at 17 3/8, down 1/4." As of January 2011, when Apple's market capitalization was hovering around $315bn, 11.3 per cent of Apple stock was worth approximately $35.6bn.
In an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek on October 20, 2010, John Sculley said: "Looking back, it was a big mistake that I was ever hired as [Apple's] CEO."
Next page: Jobs' NeXT step
A fully tricked-out Apple II – every geek's object of lust
Indeed it was.
I was but a young whippersnapper when my school received its one and only Apple ][ computer way back in 1980 and what a time of wonder it was.
We used to book time on "the computer" in 10 minute lots, most of which were spent copying each others disks.
Apple Panic (aka Lode Runner) , Escape From Castle Wolfenstein (Ach Leiben, your caught!"), Wizardry and Blitzkreig! were favourites that I remember to this day.
I had a disk box that I built out of wood with my own hands that would hold the handful of 5.25 inch single sided floppies that I could afford to buy.
Joyous was the day when we discovered that the judicious application of a boxcutter knife enabled us to double our "storage capacity" x2 by cutting out the write enable notch allowing the flip side of the diskette to be used.
Learning how to write programs in BASIC and later 6502 "machine code".
PEEKS and POKES.
In those days computers were exciting. They were a new frontier. It was like riding a wave. With a computer *anything* was possible.
These days it is all about lock down and lock in.
Computer users are something to be controlled and harvested for personal information.
Gone are the exciting days of finding a new program and the wonder of what can be achieved.
Ditching Windows (which has long been a tool for corporates intent on user control) for the "wild west" of Linux (and the Internet) has bought some of that innocent wonder of old back but the truth be told we will never see those halcyon days again.
I'm just grateful that I had some small involvement in the wonder of those times
I pity the kids of today. Bought up on Windows and WGA not to mention iOS and the "walled garden".
The tech is much more impressive these days, but it is also much more cold and sterile.
God I feel old.
You can hate Apple and there business practices all you want, but remember this, without the drive of Steve Jobs in the last 10 years we wouldn't have things as good as we do now. Apple products have forced other companies to up their game and that's a good thing for everyone.
RIP Steve :(
My Nan used to tell me "if you've got nothing nice to say, say nothing". Sage advice, but I'm going to ignore it for now. We all know what a vitriolic little shit you can be, so please do the world a favour and keep it to yourself for a day or two, not out of respect for anyone but yourself. You really are a petty and small man.
Name ten or so things you've done to change the world for the better?
It's very easy to be an armchair pundit and slate people, but the medium you are using to spew your negative comments (ie. the WWW) was developed on a NeXT computer, y'know the company Steve Jobs created when he left Apple.
Who knows, maybe the WWW would have been worse if Tim Berners-Lee had written it on another computer. Those who have programmed NeXT machines were always praising its ease of development.
Monopolies don't help any industry and the re-emergence of Apple has been good for the industry. Windows Vista and Windows 7 are heavily inspired by OSX.