John Sculley: Steve Jobs Was Never Fired From Apple

David Greelish, computer historian with Classic Computing, recently had the opportunity to speak with with John Sculley, former Apple CEO (1983-1993) and discuss, in a great amount of detail, Mr. Sculley’s life and times at Apple. Mr. Greelish thinks that Mr. Sculley has taken a bad rap for firing Steve Jobs. That’s not what happened, and so here is the full story according to Mr. Sculley himself.

Editor’s note: The following interview took place during the last week of 2011. The complete, 80-minute audio interview is available in two audio files — Part 1 (43.1 MB) and Part 2 (37.3 MB) — but Mr. Greelish asked The Mac Observer if we would transcribe it for the record, with his full permission. What follows are the highlights of the interview, and we’ve also posted the entire written transcript, if you want to read every word.

David Greelish: Thank you very much for joining me today to conduct this interview. It’s my pleasure to speak with you, and as I told you before the interview, it’s my intention to mostly talk about you, and specifically your time running Apple Computer post-Steve Jobs…. I know you have publicly expressed heartfelt regret recently in regards to Steve Jobs and what mistakes you felt you made at Apple, but I have researched where you also led the company very successfully for many years. It’s not hard to simply look at the public record of Apple during your leadership and find growth, profitability, and innovation. So this is what I’d like to focus on.

Editor’s Note: At this point Mr. Greelish goes over John Sculley’s vast executive experience, all of which is in the full transcript.

And I thought all you ever did was fire Steve Jobs and ruin Apple! And I’m joking everyone, especially to you John. But John I want to lead off with that. It kinda can’t be helped but to talk about Steve Jobs a little bit, so you know this has come up a lot especially recently that you fired Steve Jobs, but isn’t that kind of a fallacy? You didn’t actually “fire”, quote, unquote Steve Jobs. Can you tell me what happened there?

John SculleyJohn Sculley: Sure. Steve and I were partners and I was brought in to Apple to help run the company, together with him. I had no computer background when I was brought to Apple. I was brought to Apple because they needed someone who had the management experience first to help solve the problem that Apple had introduced the Apple III in 1982, and it had failed. The Apple ][ was near end-of-life, technically, Commodore outsold Apple ][ almost two-to-one, Atari outsold Apple more than two-to-one, the IBM PC had been introduced in 1981 and was rapidly catching to up the Apple ][ and was expected to pass it and clearly it was going to dominate business.

So the real issue that I was brought in to help with was to be able to use my marketing experience to keep the Apple ][ commercially successful for at least three more years to generate enough cash to give Steve Jobs the time to go and create Macintosh, and launch Macintosh successfully. So that was the first reason I was brought to Apple, and it didn’t take any particular computer experience to be able to do that. The way we approached it was it was a question of marketing and management and I recruited in a terrific executive, well known in Silicon Valley, Bill Campbell, who came in as our sales VP and he completely, you know, reenergized the dealer sales channel at that time. He took one of the key executives at Apple, named Del Yocam and put him in charge of the Apple ][ as a group. Ironically, because Steve was no longer interested in the Apple ][ even though he had created it.

DG: Right

JS: And even though Apple ][ was a cult product in itself, much like Macintosh became, that Steve looked at the Apple ][ group as the bozos, and he looked at the Macintosh as the elite talent team that was going to create the next great computer. And so, the Apple ][ group was actually not even physically located on the Apple campus. They were off in an entirely different part of Silicon Valley in a building called the Triangle Building. So the first thing I did when I joined Apple was to move my office over to the Triangle Building and became the titular head of the Apple ][ group. Because I wanted to give it some attention and then I used these two talented directors, Del Yocam who eventually moved from manufacturing to head up the Apple ][ group as the operational head and Bill Campbell, a terrific sales and marketing executive, and between us we were able to recraft the strategy for the Apple ][.

For those people who may remember the Apple ][, it ran on an operating system called Apple DOS, it used the 6502 processor, which was near end-of-life, but what was interesting to me as I was trying to understand how do people use the computer and what do they do with it, a couple of interesting facts came out. One was that most heavy users used it for spreadsheets and most of the people who used spreadsheets didn’t use the Apple operating system they put a [CP/M] card into the Apple ][ slots, and the CP/M had a different processor and different operating system on it and it became, not a different processor but a different operating system, and it became the way in which the Apple ][ was able to kind of stay up with the IBM PC in term of heavy lifting of spreadsheets. From a marketing standpoint, we wanted to find a differentiation for the Apple ][ and the Apple ][ is the first color computer, the reason why the Apple logo was multicolored back in those days, a multicolored apple with a bite out of it, was that it wanted to emphasize the fact that it actually had a color display, before anybody else did.

And so, as we were thinking about how do we differentiate the Apple ][ and make it exciting, we said lets focus on spreadsheets, lets add color graphics to the spreadsheet as the appeal that differentiates us and let’s create sales incentives for the sales channels to promote that particular solution. And let’s start designing new packaging for the industrial design of the Apple ][ that we later introduced a product called the Apple //c which was basically a repackaged Apple ][ and we were able to keep the Apple ][ extremely profitable, we started regaining market share, and it generated the cash flow that Steve needed to be able to create the Macintosh. So that was the first reason why I was brought in to Apple.

The second reason was that Steve Jobs believed that personal computers were eventually going to change the world in ways that would be every bit as important as any consumer product had ever been accepted by people. And therefore he said that we have to learn at Apple how to market personal computers the way that you, John, learned how to compete against Coke in the cola wars. Back in 1978, Pepsi actually passed Coca-Cola in the United States as the largest selling packaged good in America. And so Steve was really interested in how we accomplished that. He and I spent months together getting to know one another, probably almost five months. Weekends. I’d go to California, he’d come to New York, and so forth. And in those discussions, I was trying to teach him what I had learned at Pepsi about marketing.

One of the key insights we learned was that you don’t sell the product, you sell the experience. We did that with Pepsi Generation, and we did that in the early ‘70s with Pepsi Generation focused on baby boomers who were then young, and we did it when color television was first appearing, and large screen color television, meaning 21-inch screens were becoming the norm in the marketplace and we went to our ad agency, and they went to the best Hollywood directors with the instructions build lifestyle commercials that can appeal to the baby boomers with experiences that they can relate to. And we want you to do them as 60-second movies.

So Apple, no excuse me, Pepsi was the first company to do lifestyle marketing and that was called Pepsi Generation. So, the Pepsi Challenge was very much built on the same principles of experience marketing. … And Steve totally related to that. Because he said that’s how I think about computers. He said Macintosh is all about experience, it’s all about the user experience. We’re gonna deal with graphics, things that no one’s ever thought before in user interface, and we’re gonna make it incredibly approachable. And so, Steve and I were completely aligned in terms of what we were, what our roles were.

John Sculley

My role was to keep the Apple ][ successful and keep it generating cash and then help build the marketing campaign for not only Apple ][, but help Steve and his team with the marketing campaign to launch the Macintosh. In the meantime, Steve was focused on creating the Macintosh and so, the alignment of roles worked perfectly. Where things broke down was in 1985, the Macintosh office was Steve’s vision of what we later called desktop publishing. But the reality was that the technology just wasn’t powerful enough. The microprocessors were just too slow to be able to handle the heavy duty graphic geometries that had to be manipulated in order to do what we know today as desktop publishing, and then later desktop presentations.

The Macintosh office was introduced at the 1985 annual meeting and it came out with a lot of fanfare, but when it got out into the market it was a complete dud. Even though we had a laser printer, called the LaserWriter, and even though the Mac graphics were beautiful and what you saw on the screen was what you could print out, the reality was the system just wasn’t powerful enough to be practical for anybody. And so it got treated as a toy. It got highly criticized. And Steve became very discouraged and people stopped buying the Macintosh and the curiosity wore off. So the early excitement that everyone had around the creation of the 128K Mac quickly wore off with the Macintosh office.

As we moved out into March, the Macintosh sales were not doing well and Steve and I started to have major disagreements on what we should do about it. Steve wanted to lower the price of the Macintosh. And yet he still wanted to run substantial advertising behind the product. And he wanted to de-emphasize the Apple ][. I said look Steve, we’re a public company and we’ve set expectations in terms of our sales and our profits. The Mac just can’t deliver what you want it to be able to do yet, we have to continue to focus on the Apple ][, and we can’t afford to lower the price on the Macintosh and still put advertising behind it.

So, that was a major disagreement between us. I said if you try to change that on your own, then I have no choice but to go to the board, and we need to bring this issue up with the board. And he didn’t think I would do that. And I did. And so it was at the board level that, the board asked Mike Markkula, who was the third co-founder of Apple, was also vice-chairman of Apple, to go off and interview executives inside of Apple, all the key people, anybody he wanted to, and find out was John right or was Steve right.

John Sculley

Mike Markkula did that, took him about ten days to conduct this project. He came back, reported to the board, and his conclusion was that I was right. That the Macintosh just wasn’t ready to do the kinds of things that Steve wanted to do in terms of publishing. The processor technology just wasn’t there yet. He agreed that we had to keep the focus on the Apple ][, that we should leave the price alone if we wanted to continue to advertise the Macintosh at the level Steve wanted. So, Steve was very unhappy about that. The board asked him to step down from the role of leader of the Macintosh division. To be quite honest, I didn’t appreciate coming out of corporate America, because remember people get moved around all the time in corporate America, I didn’t appreciate what it meant to a founder, the creator of the Macintosh, to be asked to step down from the very division that he created to leave the very product that he believed was going to change the world.

So, I think because we came from such different experiences, mine from the East Coast in corporate America and Steve as a start up entrepreneur in Silicon Valley, I wasn’t as sensitive as I wish I had been on that. On the other hand, there was no question in my mind either then or later on, that we had no choice but to follow the business strategy, which we did. We continued to focus on the Apple ][ until the technology became powerful enough, which it later did by the way in 1986, when we could launch what we then renamed desktop publishing and it became wildly successful. It was a question of timing as much as anything.

So Steve was never actually “fired” from Apple, but he was demoted from the role of leading the Macintosh division and then he went off on sabbatical and then he eventually resigned from the company and took a number of key executives and started NeXT Computing. [Italics added.]

And the board was outraged, the outside board members, that he would do that, because he promised them that he wasn’t going to do that and then turned around and did it. So, that’s the actual facts. I think Walter Issacson delved into that in his book and talked to many different people on the Apple board, and actually corroborated that story.

DG: Yes, so this lines up perfectly with the research I’ve done and what I’ve read and heard, especially recently in leading up to our interview. But it’s everywhere, about you “fired” Steve Jobs, so I just though I’d cover that first.

JS: Look, can I just make an observation there?

DG: Sure. By all means.

JS: That when Steve left, I was a complete believer in all of Steve’s brilliant ideas. Remember, we were totally aligned as partners. You couldn’t have found two people who were, who trusted each other, enjoyed working with each other, could finish each other’s sentences than Steve and I during the times when things were going well between us. So, the breakup between Steve and me was incredibly painful for me, but it was also one where during the rest of my tenure at Apple, even though I was not a technologist, never pretended to be a technologist, that I believed in his first principles. And those principles were that we had to have proprietary technology because Apple was constantly making the tradeoffs between hardware and software. Because we were always trying to do things that the technology was just a little too early to be able to do in software alone. Or in hardware alone. So the first Mac 128K, people said “well, gee, why don’t you go license the operating system?” What most people don’t realize, that it wasn’t until Apple introduced System 7 (System 7 was an operating system release), that we actually had our first real operating system….

John Sculley

And so, I strongly believed, even though I wasn’t a computer engineer, that Apple should not license its technology, it should focus on building the absolute best products it could it should only do a few products at a time, and it should not compromise on anything, it should focus on user experience. And these weren’t my ideas, these were all Steve’s. So, during my tenure at Apple, we never changed any of those first principles Steve had. The reality was, I didn’t have the technical skills or the personal charisma to be able to lead Apple, technically, the way Steve could. So we had to parse that out to various individuals. It wasn’t one person making every decision the way Steve did so successfully.

The reality was that when Steve left Apple and started NeXT, he took those same principles and used them again with NeXT. And NeXT was a beautiful product from an industrial design standpoint. You know, it was a black cube. It had an incredible, talented team working on the operating system and graphics and things of that sort. But the end result was that there were certain things he couldn’t control. Just like he couldn’t control for, back in 1985, the fact that microprocessors weren’t powerful enough to do what later became desktop publishing. The Mac office failed. Steve could not control the fact that the things he was doing at NeXT were just too darned expensive. So he came out with a ten thousand dollar computer focused at education, and the reality was nobody wanted to buy a ten thousand dollar computer for education. So ironically, Steve applying those same principles, and sort of elevating it to try get even beyond Apple, failed.

The rest of the story is that Steve’s work with NeXT, again Moore’s Law, caught up to it. By the time he came back, I think in 1996 or 1997, the computers were powerful enough, the cost of technology had come down enough, that he was able to take all the work he did at NeXT, which failed in the late 1980s, and he was able to use that as the core for Apple’s recovery.

_________________

The rest of the interview covers the Knowledge Navigator, the development of Bill Atkinson’s Hypercard, Apple’s Cray supercomputer, Larry Telser, the Newton, ARM, Marvin Minsky, and how Mr. Sculley came to leave Apple.

David Greelish is a computer historian and author of the computer history nostalgia book, The Complete Historically Brewed. He’s at ClassicComputing.com and also cohosts the Retro Computing Roundtable podcast.

This article would not have been possible without the transcription provided by Julie Kuehl. Our collective hats are off to her in perpetuity for the excellent effort on this Herculean task!

Comments

VaughnSC

I think it’s quite disingenuous to offer a rebuttal/alternate-take after more than a decade has elapsed and the other party so happens to be presently pushing up daisies.

I’ll take mine with a large boulder of salt, please.

John Martellaro

The interview, by a historian, is not a rebuttal.  It’s a reminder of the facts that have been known publicly and published elsewhere over the last 25 years.

marcsten

Going down in history as the man who fired Steve Jobs? I wouldn’t want that rep either - like quitting the Beatles in 1962, or being the navigator for the Titanic…

furbies

being the navigator for the Titanic

That’s not really fair to the navigator.

Ultimately the Captain was the one responsible for all decisions.

d'monder

Or in other words: Steve Jobs skated too far ahead of the puck, while the marketing guys took over Apple.  Definitely a perfect storm.

iJack

Or in other words: Steve Jobs skated too far ahead of the puck, while the marketing guys took over Apple.  Definitely a perfect storm.

Well there’s a mix of metaphors I’ve never heard before!

furbies

How come folks is putting words in my mouth ?

Me thinks the Comment Quoting System is confused….

Peter

The board essentially “promoted” Steve Jobs to Chief Executive in charge of Nothing.  He would be trotted out from time to time when Apple needed to look hip, but that’s about it.

That said, keep in mind that this was after the disaster that was the Apple III (which Steve was in charge of) and the looming disaster that was Macintosh (which Steve was in charge of).  He’s lucky they didn’t can him entirely.

That said, knowing Steve, it was the equivalent of being fired.

Anonymous

Motorola did not create the 6502.  MOS did.

mhikl

Sculley?. . . I didn?t appreciate what it meant to a founder, the creator of the Macintosh, to be asked to step down from the very division that he created to leave the very product that he believed was going to change the world.?

No, Sculley didn?t fire Steve. But his observation (or lack of observation and understanding) obviously suggests he wasn?t terribly sensitive to the mind of an artist and that his (Steve?s) forced removal amounted to the same thing.

Sculley So Steve was never actually ?fired? from Apple, . . . and then he went off on sabbatical and then he eventually resigned from the company and took a number of key executives and started NeXT Computing. . . .

And the board was outraged,. . .

Well, Steve was outraged. Some of his Macintosh group were outraged. And when you are outraged, you resigned.

What is it about outrage and the response to outrage that this silly man does not understand. I don?t know very many 17 year olds who don?t understand the concept and consequences of that emotion.

mhikl

And further, something I would think Sculley would understand and should have understood.

Great ideas take research, development and change that is not always obvious. And to develop great ideas takes money. Steve was willing to do research, development and spend the money at Apple. He was willing to do as much at NeXT, often out of his own pocket. He did so when he came back to Apple. He was usually a frugal man (but one who could over spend to creative environment) and one who could drive a good deal. We should[n?t forget it hasn’t always been bulging bank accounts at Steve’s enterprises.

Sculley was the worst possible choice for Apple. It doesn’t take a lot of money to research, develop and sell sugar water. It does take good ideas. Such is a far different place from the loft to changing the world.

DamenS

I think it?s quite disingenuous to offer a rebuttal/alternate-take after more than a decade has elapsed and the other party so happens to be presently pushing up daisies.

I?ll take mine with a large boulder of salt, please.

It’s only Steve Jobs and you who view this as being an “alternate-take”.  Maybe you’ve been standing in the Reality Distortion field a little too long ?

furbies

What is they say about eyewitness reports ?

10 eyewitnesses = 10 different versions of what happened ?

For those whose comments cast Mr Sculley as the villain, it’s easy to cast aspersions/ascribe motives when we weren’t there…

What really matters to me is that Apple is still here and producing insanely great products!

DamenS

And further, something I would think Sculley would understand and should have understood.

Great ideas take research, development and change that is not always obvious. And to develop great ideas takes money.

Yes, Scully understood that.  However if you go back and actually read the article you are commenting on, you’ll discover that the dispute was over the Advertising budget, NOT the research and development funds - in fact, Sculley was brought in to ensure the Apple II had a longer life to INCREASE the Research and Development budget for the Macintosh division.  Sculley’s argument was that there were insufficient funds to simultaneously decrease the Mac price, increase Mac advertising and that it was not a good idea to deemphasise their product which WAS supplying cash flow (the Apple II).  These seem eminently reasonable points from the outside, but it’s probably not clueless “armchair critics” like you and me who are in the best position to assess the intricacies of Apple’s financial situation at the time.

Sculley was the worst possible choice for Apple. It doesn?t take a lot of money to research, develop and sell sugar water. It does take good ideas. Such is a far different place from the loft to changing the world.

Here you’re arguing exactly the opposite of what you just did !!  You were previously talking about good ideas taking research and great ideas taking money - something you believe Sculley didn’t understand.  You are now saying all it takes to sell “sugar water” are “great ideas” !  LOL.  Get a grip man !!  According to your armchair analysis Sculley was the worst possible choice for Apple because all he knew were “good ideas” (not an understanding of the money required for research and development) where previously you argued that good ideas take “research development and change”.  Your argument is inconsistent and ill-considered.  Also, as I said earlier, this dispute had nothing whatsoever to do with Sculley reducing or not supplying funds for “research and development” as you keep harping on about.

For MY part as a bystander who knows nothing but likes to present my worthless opinions as facts, great ideas trump money available for spending on R&D and if Sculley (brought in for his Marketing nous) didn’t want to spend MORE on advertising (Marketing) the Mac whilst reducing the Mac price, he may very well have had just cause and due reason.

Steven Weyhrich

Sculley was the worst possible choice for Apple. It doesn?t take a lot of money to research, develop and sell sugar water. It does take good ideas. Such is a far different place from the loft to changing the world.

Seems to me that the CEOs who followed Sculley were worse choices. They took a company that was doing quite well before Sculley left, and nearly drove it into the ground.

Total

Wait a minute:  Sculley says that Jobs wanted to slash the price of the Mac and continue advertising?  Now note the context of this:  IBM/Windows is starting to become a greater threat to Apple’s market share at this point.  So Jobs is pushing what seems a reaction to that and a reaction that might have been effective.

Instead Sculley refuses, goes over Jobs’ head to the board, and the board relieves Jobs of command of the product that he views as his baby?

Sculley thinks he’s defending himself with this?

VaughnSC

Sorry for the delay; comment system ate my earlier, lengthier reply.

To John, I ask; if this is ‘common knowledge’ why is the article title not: “Sugar-Water-Daddy and Learned-Historian rehash what we already know”? smile

I find it to be a matter of semantics when you (‘inadvertently’ or not) strip someone of their position and responsibilities; that’s ‘firing,’ plain and simple, even if they’re still nominally on payroll and/or when you have given them no sensible course-of-action other than to leave.

It was a power struggle: Jobs wanted Sculley fired. Do you think Sculley’s reaction would not have had an equivalent aim for Jobs?

DamenS

I find it to be a matter of semantics when you (?inadvertently? or not) strip someone of their position and responsibilities; that?s ?firing,? plain and simple, even if they?re still nominally on payroll

That’s a deliberate irony, right ?  Stating that it is a matter of “semantics” and then getting the meaning of a word wrong ... it’s a deliberate joke, right ?  Someone being stripped of their rights and responsibilities whilst remaining in employ is called a “demotion” - at least in British, American and Australian English ... maybe in your country it is different, but in America, Britain and Australia to be “fired”, “dismissed” or “sacked” means having to leave a company.

As to the comment about having given someone “no sensible course-of-action other than to leave”, I think this is a huge problem with society today ... that instead of believing we make choices for ourselves or take actions dictated by ourselves, we believe other people are MAKING us or FORCING us to do things - which makes us weak and insipid and those “controlling us” “evil” ... heck, I’d expect that sort of attitude from any child under the age of 5, NOT someone professing to be a teenager, adult or anyone above the age of 8, really.

Lee Dronick

That?s not really fair to the navigator.

Ultimately the Captain was the one responsible for all decisions.

I worked in ship control and navigation for most of my Naval career. 1st Officer Murdoch, who had the watch, may or may not have been able to avoid collision with the iceberg. We don’t have enough facts as to how far ahead was the iceberg when Seaman Fleet spotted it and if there was enough time to to maneuver around it. Also it depends on the size, you can use the ship’s pivot point to get around an object unless it is too big. Murdoch ordered a backing bell which greatly reduced his ability control direction until there was more flow of water going past the rudder. No matter what actions were taken when the Titanic was in extremis Captan Smith should never had the ship going that fast through an ice field during the night with only stars for illumination. The common practice at that time in history was to heave to and drift or to just proceed at bare steerageway until there was sufficient light to see the dangers. There was a lot of blame to go around in that disaster.

VaughnSC

Semantics: “study of logical aspects of meaning, such as sense, reference, implication, and logical form.” ‘Nuff said.

Seems to me that by your definition, no duties and by extension, no reason to come to work does mean/equate to ‘stay home/don’t come around here no more.’ I note that fortunately we seem to agree that ongoing compensation doesn’t imply proper ‘employment’ (since he wasn’t being ‘employed’ (in its strictest sense of ‘used/utilised’) regularly for anything at that point.)

Choice? Sure, next time you find your hand in boiling water, choose to wait for the water to cool instead of withdrawing your hand. Steve did have a choice, to remain de-facto ‘fired’ or leave. smile

I have my own equally-valid opinion of society’s ills; but you won’t see me bandying it about here, even if asked.

DamenS

Your disingenuous assertion that you know what “semantics” means by providing a definition (copy pasted from some internet source) does not impress me considering my point was that you misused the term in your previous post - something you do not deny ...

“‘Nuff said” is just sheer arrogance and stupidity ... how has your “copy pasting” a dictionary definition of a word proven that you used it correctly in your previous post, or proven that my statement that you are incorrect was ill-conceived ?  “‘Nuff Said” indeed - except that I would rail against the arrogance of believing mine to the be last true correct word anyway - I’ll leave that honour to you.

No reason to come to work ?  What a SUBJECTIVE point arbitered primarily by one’s own Narcissism ... Maybe you think all people in pain should kill themselves - given that you are the sole arbiter of “reason” and a rationale point could be made for such a belief (people come to work without “reason” according to your narrow and subjective tenets every day don’t they ?  Yet you proclaim to know why Mr Jobs SHOULD have come to work or to have not come to work ? ... Interesting ...)

Wasn’t it actually YOUR definition that “no reason to come to work DOES mean/equate to ‘stay at home/don’t come around here no more” which I disagreed with.  First of all - any intelligent, or semi-sentient, person would argue there was not “no reason” for Steve Jobs to come to work ... unless his ego bruised as easily as yours, and even then he could have “sucked it up” ... so, according to you, Steve Jobs is useless unless he is CEO ... LOL !  He was being employed at that point - he had the chance of reclaiming his position and of influencing the direction of Apple if he stopped insisting upon what was a poor business decision at the time.

Being a Steve Jobs Acolyte of the highest order will NOT confer upon you eternal life, no matter what you may have extrapolated from Scientology’s precepts.  Steve Jobs could have remained, and the story may have ended up just as well as it has done (and it would be arrogant of you to think you know otherwise).

Thank God you haven’t allowed my brief summation of some of “society’s ills” in direct response to you ill-conceived response allowed you to express your “Manifesto Of The Truth” in this particular forum !!

Let’s neither of us profess to know the “cure” for society’s ills ... PLEASE !!

mhikl

Here you?re arguing exactly the opposite of what you just did !!? You were previously talking about good ideas taking research and great ideas taking money - something you believe Sculley didn?t understand.? You are now saying all it takes to sell ?sugar water? are ?great ideas? !? LOL.? Get a grip man !!?

I understand where you are coming from ? the logic of black and white. These are far too complex issues with too many shades for you. Sculley had his strengths (great ideas to sell sugar water) and his weaknesses (understanding the complexities of the artist and complex systems such as a technology company with original ideas other than a catchy song). To grant an accolade where it is deserved takes understanding, objectivity and honesty, which, it appears, you lack in spades. Comprehending the spending issues and the creative genius behind what made and makes a company like Apple successful seems far too difficult for your narrow level of thinking. That others worse or at least as narrow in their thinking as Sculley were to come along is part of the obvious that these were difficult times, that leadership continued to flounder even though it was Steve (he could recognise his own short comings) who had thought the issue was being addressed with the hiring of Sculley. The seeds to what almost came to destroy Apple was the lack of Sculley’s leadership because he could only think in the short term and couldn’t perceive the times outside his own limited understanding of change. A catchy tune wasn’t going to be enough to save the company. The coin from selling Apple 2s wasn’t going to last forever. The cliff was in sight and it took a leader like Steve to see what was happening.

mhikl

Seems to me that the CEOs who followed Sculley were worse choices. They took a company that was doing quite well before Sculley left, and nearly drove it into the ground.

Exactly, Steven W. Sculley was the worst, or at least a bad choice, at the time. Then he was out at the right moment. That was his blessing. Even he could see the cliff. There are great parallels with what has been happening in the corporate world for a good long time now.

mhikl

I find it to be a matter of semantics when you (?inadvertently? or not) strip someone of their position and responsibilities; that?s ?firing,? plain and simple, even if they?re still nominally on payroll and/or when you have given them no sensible course-of-action other than to leave.

You are quite correct, VaughnSC. You understand shades of grey!.

Harassment in the work place is a common practice used to get employees to quit when it is difficult or consequentially detrimental to the enterprise to fire them. Honourable people do up and leave over such circumstances.

Some people have difficulty understanding the concept of honour. You, however, do not.  grin

And I must now make my exit as there is a peculiar smell coming from our homunculus that is as in much need of clarity.

DamenS

I understand where you are coming from ? the logic of black and white. These are far too complex issues with too many shades for you. Sculley had his strengths (great ideas to sell sugar water) and his weaknesses (understanding the complexities of the artist and complex systems such as a technology company with original ideas other than a catchy song). To grant an accolade where it is deserved takes understanding, objectivity and honesty, which, it appears, you lack in spades. Comprehending the spending issues and the creative genius behind what made and makes a company like Apple successful seems far too difficult for your narrow level of thinking. That others worse or at least as narrow in their thinking as Sculley were to come along is part of the obvious that these were difficult times, that leadership continued to flounder even though it was Steve (he could recognise his own short comings) who had thought the issue was being addressed with the hiring of Sculley. The seeds to what almost came to destroy Apple was the lack of Sculley?s leadership because he could only think in the short term and couldn?t perceive the times outside his own limited understanding of change. A catchy tune wasn?t going to be enough to save the company. The coin from selling Apple 2s wasn?t going to last forever. The cliff was in sight and it took a leader like Steve to see what was happening.

Oh PLEASE.  Can you stop confusing your Modus Operandi with mine ?  To this point YOU are the one who (as an unthinking and irrational Steve Jobs apologist) has reduced this to being a “black and white” issue.  It is you who have called Sculley a “sugar water” salesman and all sorts of other reductionism’s which would be ill-behoved by anyone arguing with intellect and logic on their side, but which appeal to the poor wounded bitter and blinded Jobs adherent you are.

And here we are.  Me with my opinion - argued through words with a consistent logic, throughout this thread, and you now countering with dumb insults and no new thoughts - no intelligent counter.  I was the one who said NEITHER of us KNEW what happened - despite your arrogant protestations to the contrary.  Was what I said in previous posts really so hard to dissect - or are you protecting your ego over and above honesty and what is right ?

YOU are the one who is arguing in “black and white” just as you accused me of not understanding the term “semantics” when it was (as I proved) your MISUSE of such term which was wrong (and SO hard for you to take - poor didums) ...

Just as you said “no reason to come to work does mean/equate to ?stay home/don?t come around here no more.? which was MY argument and which you appropriated for yourself (it was exactly the opposite of what YOU said previously).  It seems you modus operandi is to ignore all that you’ve previously said (and presumably believe) and just appropriate whatever argument appears to be winning - which up to this point has been mine.

You can say that Sculley was just a “sugar water salesman” all you like - and that he was short-sighted and dumb in not being willing to spend money on R&D (even though I already proved you were wrong on this point - as R&D spending didn’t enter the equation and you were arguing about something - a problem - which didn’t even exist).  You can say that YOU (of all people) understand the complexities of this issue, that YOU understand Apple’s finances of the time and exactly what happened, but this is what I am laughing at.  This is what I termed you “arrogance” and which I now also term your outright stupidity.

You truly believe that you KNOW what happened back then, that Sculley is a liar, that he is merely a “sugar water” salesman and that YOU should have been the one in charge of Apple ... as a shareholder, I can only thank God that people of excessive grandeur and limited intellect are NOT a part of Apple’s Board and future direction !!

You seem to think that because this is a Pro-Apple forum, that provided you are Pro-Jobs all the time you will “win” the argument and garner external support.  This may be right, but I can assure you that any independent arbiter would find your lack of logic and intellect - as well as your misappropriation of my arguments and reattribution of said arguments to yourself as distasteful , immoral and the last bastion of an internet Shill losing a simple argument due to their grandiose and naive belief that they know what happened in the past.

DamenS

You are quite correct, VaughnSC. You understand shades of grey!.

Harassment in the work place is a common practice used to get employees to quit when it is difficult or consequentially detrimental to the enterprise to fire them. Honourable people do up and leave over such circumstances.

Some people have difficulty understanding the concept of honour. You, however, do not.?

Hi VaugnSC, Mhikl here ... DamenS beat me comprehensively in my previous argument, such that I couldn’t respond directly to his post.  However, now that there is someone else arguing with him, maybe we could combine forces to make it look as though he is wrong ?  We all know the weight of numbers can bully dumb people into thinking an argument is correct, right ?  And it will restore my Ego as I couldn’t think of anything to counter what he said because ... well, because he was right ...

Steve Jobs (for all his great points) has ALWAYS been an (undisputed) workplace bully.  I don’t believe this to be “honourable” but obviously Mhikl does ... more’s the pity ...

As to your belief that somebody understands “the concept of honour”, it is clear that “the concept of honour” means merely agreeing with your erroneous viewpoint and nothing more ...

other side

Hasn’t anyone here witnessed a “back stepping”? I.e. where someone’s given a disgraceful demotion to the company’s back door step (so they’ll leave on their own), versus getting fired & being eligible for unemployment benefits and/or a parachute.

It’s a cold way of getting rid of people on the cheap.  And it’s what Sculley and the board did to Jobs.

DamenS

A “disgraceful promotion” ? It’s a “cold way of getting rid of people on the cheap” ?  Yes - maybe -  potentially.  Can’t say it never happens.  Also can’t say it happened in this case because, unlike you, I wasn’t actually there so I understand my views are an uninformed OPINION based upon a mere reportage of the skeletons of a fact.

Disgraceful would mean that it was VERY wrong, right ?  You were there, right ?  Or is this a disgraceful hypothesis of yours ?

I’m not saying you are wrong - I’m just saying you are not necessarily as right as you seem to (confidently) think you are.

Terrin

Kicking Steve off the Macintosh Team and off any position that involved doing anything, was akin to being fired.

Further, Apple hamstrung NeXt by not allowing NeXt to compete in the consumer space.

element94

Did any of you listen to the audio? sculley sounds rehearsed and robotic.

This is the guy who ousted steve jobs based on a disingenuous and ass backwards looking strategy, especially for what was supposed to be a technology company.

In essence his disagreement with Steve, which led to steve’s ousting, was that Apple should prioritize profits and ride an aging product into the ground rather than creating the best thing they possibly could.  SO GREAT, sculley kept Apple profitable for a little while longer - but that strategy couldn’t possibly last, as the other players caught up and undercut the mac which couldn’t take off in a meaningful massive enough way, and then apple died. or nearly.

imagine if apple decided to not do the iPhone or iPad, or to compromise on them - they would have likely remained in the minority market share that Sculley led them into, rather than leapfrogging the industry by looking forward - suddenly Apple is the largest computer manufacturer in the world. Yes, the iPad is a computer. So is the iPhone. between these, the mac marketshare pales in comparison, but these are the magical cutting edge products that bring people to Apple’s platform.
Well, that’s what Sculley did.

Sculley you didn’t run it into the ground, you set the slow moving boat that was Apple into a direction where it was destined to run into the ground. You put profits above ideals

The other argument we could make is that this guy is to thank for the apple of today - perhaps without Steve’s (perceived) failure, and his ousting, Steve Jobs would have never had the drive and passion to set the world on fire like he has since, and Apple would have remained a tadpole in technology.

mhikl

Terrin and element94, as it is usual to read from left to right and top to bottom I have to assume you have read all the posts in this forum. And I must say you are brave souls to enter and to post.

Sculley you didn?t run it into the ground, you set the slow moving boat that was Apple into a direction where it was destined to run into the ground. You put profits above ideals

And now, fearless warriors, your strengths have moved me to draw my sword in poetic lines:

Spiel that shoots from lips of rancour
Raises ire and truth to slander,
But how for smarts he doth hanker
Short on brains be that which sank her.

by
Ocsob for DS
maker of mouth soaps & deodorizers

DamenS

Terrin and element94, as it is usual to read from left to right and top to bottom I have to assume you have read all the posts in this forum. And I must say you are brave souls to enter and to post.

Surely it takes bravery to bare an ill-informed opinion based purely upon empty rhetoric and a demonstrative lack of intelligence at any time in any public forum ?

One MUST be “brave” to display one’s ill-behoved gnashings to any crowd in which they may be judged (which would make one think that this may lead to well-reasoned thoughts being expressed on the internet, and yet ...).

Or maybe it is a lack of intelligence which renders the inarticulate utterings seemingly reasonable to he who promotes them.

It is interesting to observe how often “bravery” and stupidity seem to be inextricably linked.

DamenS

when you (?inadvertently? or not) strip someone of their position and responsibilities; that?s ?firing,? plain and simple

At least we have moved this thread from the position that Steve Jobs was fired “pure and simple” (as though any complex human interaction can be reduced to something which is “pure and simple” - well it can be, but only by egregious reductionism and a lack of understanding of the various ways in which an issue is anything OTHER than “simple” and “pure”).

We now have ...

Kicking Steve off the Macintosh Team and off any position that involved doing anything, was akin to being fired.

At least we have made some progress here.  What happened to Steve is now something “akin” to being fired ... it was “like” being fired ... it is no longer quite so “pure and simple” that he was actually fired.  One takes small steps such as this as a sign of progress.

archimedes

I heard the same story from people who worked at Apple at the time:  Jobs was removed from his position as head of the Mac division and assigned to another job within Apple with no direct reports along with an office by himself (in another building) which Jobs (and perhaps others) called “Siberia.”

However, Sculley is right that Jobs could have stuck around at Apple if he had wanted to. I think Jobs just couldn’t bear having the Mac taken away from him.

archimedes

By the way, those old PowerBooks (oddly enough, they don’t have PowerPC processors) are neat machines!

Before the advent of the PowerBooks, most laptops had keyboards at the front rather than at the back. Some of them had cheesy “sidecar” trackballs on the side.  The “palm rest” design with the trackball in front seems so obvious - it’s amazing that everyone hadn’t thought of it already!

It’s almost reminiscent of what happened to smart phones when the iPhone came out, or portable computers when the MacBook Air and iPad arrived.

Lee Dronick

Before the advent of the PowerBooks, most laptops had keyboards at the front rather than at the back. Some of them had cheesy ?sidecar? trackballs on the side.? The ?palm rest? design with the trackball in front seems so obvious - it?s amazing that everyone hadn?t thought of it already!

The designers of the pre PowerBook laptops took from the typewriter era and the inertia of that mindset. “They” also say that we are not supposed to rest our palms while typing, but it seems that doing so is very popular; Maybe in large part to the height of the desk, I remember typewriter stands and desks that were lower than what we use now. I haven’t messed with too much with other laptops, but I like the short throw of the keys on my late model MacBook Pro because I can rest my palms while typing. Same with the new Mac keyboards. It is quite possible that Apple will have virtual keyboards on MacBooks and perhaps standalone keyboards.

I heard the same story from people who worked at Apple at the time:? Jobs was removed from his position as head of the Mac division and assigned to another job within Apple with no direct reports along with an office by himself (in another building) which Jobs (and perhaps others) called ?Siberia.?

However, Sculley is right that Jobs could have stuck around at Apple if he had wanted to. I think Jobs just couldn?t bear having the Mac taken away from him.

That may have been the best thing that ever happened to Steve, Apple, and us Apple users. Had that sea change not occurred to Steve then things might have been very different and not for the better. Hard to tell, every fork in the road leads to another fork.

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