Former Apple CEO John Sculley says he never fired co-founder Steve Jobs

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  • Reply 41 of 122
    First, I will ask a question. Did Steve and Sculley ever talk since 1985? I don't believe so. I think that says a lot.



    I wasn't in the room to know what went down in May 1985.



    I do know that Steve was stripped of any power with the Macintosh or Apple, so for a normal human being, when that happens, they leave. That, my friends, is as close to being fired as you can get. Who said it was semantics, I agree. Reminds me of Obi Wan Kenobi's line that he mentions more than once in the Star Wars movies "depends on your particular point of view". Was what happened to Steve demoralizing, yes! For God Sakes, any decent human being - yes, he was, he had his moments, we all know this - would be seriously depressed and Steve was.



    Then they wouldn't even let him run AppleLabs. And they wanted him around as a figure head. I will say the board had balls. I don't recall who, if anyone, sided with Steve. I loved the resignation in the paper and thanking Chiat/Day in the paper when Sculley dumped them for BBDO. Classic Steve. Loved it. I would say Steve has always been WYSIWYG. He was one of a kind.



    Was it "Revenge Of The Nerds" that Steve said that Sculley tried to destroy Apple, starting with him? Melodramatic? Perhaps. He was hurt. Had reason to be hurt. While what was going down at Apple and with Steve was on a course to get this result, Sculley was orchestrating. My God he was with freakin Pepsi, he knew the political maneuvers. So Sculley, I'm sure, had his hand in this more than he wants to admit, Steve did too. But don't tell me "I didn't fire Steve", he did everything but say "you're fired'. But what about "you're out" doesn't imply being fired, though?



    What is interesting and I didn't fully digest all the posts to see, it doesn't end there. Remember the lawsuit that Apple had with NeXT?!!
  • Reply 42 of 122
    It's weasel behavior to rehab your image like this after the primary person you're speaking about is no longer around to rebut. It is also large corporate politics in spades.



    Portfolio Magazine (and Business Insider) rank CEOs according to their effectiveness at their jobs and the value they brought to (or took away from) their companies.



    Mr. Sculley is currently ranked as the sixth worst American CEO in history, three ahead of luminary Angelo Mozilo of Countrywide. Steve Jobs is ranked as the best CEO of the last 20 years.



    Article link, Worst CEOs: http://j.mp/wHPXo3

    Article link, Best CEOs of last 20 years: http://j.mp/yJ2bor
  • Reply 43 of 122
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by redbarchetta View Post


    Uhh, what? Being an "at will" state means the opposite. Sculley (or the company) could fire Steve, just as Steve would be free to quit at any time. Hence "at will."



    Technically that's true, but there are many, many lawsuits out here for "wrongful termination", even though it's an "at-will" state, which indicates "at-will" isn't as cut and dried as many would like to believe.
  • Reply 44 of 122
    Of course he's going to say this after Steve dies so it can't be refuted.
  • Reply 45 of 122
    ssquirrelssquirrel Posts: 1,196member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by gaurav_1711 View Post


    Even Apple's most fierce competitor (copycat) SAMSUNG, delayed their product launch for sometime after Steve passed in show of some respect.......is it because Koreans Businessmen have some ethics and American Capitalists don't?



    That's possible. It's also a given that they would not have competed w/all the news about Jobs death. Their spotlight was stolen.
  • Reply 46 of 122
    Just because I'm reading this section in Isaccson's book now, I have to chime in.



    I'm relying on Isaccson's journalistic integrity and he quite clearly states that Scully said he wanted Jobs out. Steve was given an office on the outskirts of the campus and he was stripped of all power and responsibilities. He was made into a "chairman" with no power. That came about because of the collusion of the board and Sculley. As everyone else here stated previously, he's splitting hairs when he says "I didn't fire him."



    Second, Steve was out of control and probably deserved to be ousted. The Macintosh wasn't profitable, Steve was all over the place and fighting with everyone. While he had the concept for the iPhone and the iPad in his head ("Macintosh in a book"), technology wasn't ready for him. There was no way of knowing what was to come. I understand where the board was coming from. At the time, the cost was too great.



    But as noted in the Stanford speech, Steve ultimately turned his humiliation into success and this of us "fanbois" and shareholders are better off for it.
  • Reply 47 of 122
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Psych_guy View Post


    Just because I'm reading this section in Isaccson's book now, I have to chime in.



    I'm relying on Isaccson's journalistic integrity and he quite clearly states that Scully said he wanted Jobs out. Steve was given an office on the outskirts of the campus and he was stripped of all power and responsibilities. He was made into a "chairman" with no power. That came about because of the collusion of the board and Sculley. As everyone else here stated previously, he's splitting hairs when he says "I didn't fire him."



    Second, Steve was out of control and probably deserved to be ousted. The Macintosh wasn't profitable, Steve was all over the place and fighting with everyone. While he had the concept for the iPhone and the iPad in his head ("Macintosh in a book"), technology wasn't ready for him. There was no way of knowing what was to come. I understand where the board was coming from. At the time, the cost was too great.



    But as noted in the Stanford speech, Steve ultimately turned his humiliation into success and this of us "fanbois" and shareholders are better off for it.



    Not arguing with your general evaluation....



    But:



    "That came about because of the collusion of the board and Sculley. "



    How does a CEO collude with the BOD -- isn't that their jobs?
  • Reply 48 of 122
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bageljoey View Post


    I just now realized that by buying an Apple ][c I helped Sculley fire (sort-of) Jobs. I had been saving for and dreaming of owning an Apple for so long, I didn't even consider a Mac. Besides Macs had that silly "mouse" and hid the power of the computer behind a constraining "graphical user interface".



    I had the same limited view of a fast moving technological field at 16 as that talented sugar water salesman...



    Dint be so hard on yourself. Remember that Steve later said getting fired helped him was one of the best things that ever happened to him.
  • Reply 49 of 122
    chris_cachris_ca Posts: 2,543member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tundraboy View Post


    We're not firing you, we're just moving your office to the fifth stall of the men's bathroom...



    That never stopped George Costanza from working at the company...
  • Reply 50 of 122
    melgrossmelgross Posts: 31,663member
    I remember this pretty well from back then. First of all, understand that it was Jobs himself who hired Scully, not the board, though they approved, of course.



    But Jobs was hard to work with, and people under him didn't like him very much. This was from people I knew, from Apple. He also made a number of mistakes. The Apple III was the first major one. This was their first machine specifically designed for business. It was rushed out, and had many problems. That was laid at Jobs's door. It was his project to a great extent.



    Then the failure of the Lisa was thought his mistake. The later failure of the Mac to take off was also his doing. Many of us were surprised at what it looked like, and it

    s closed nature. I knew a lot of business people who were intrigued, but lost interest when they saw the small monitor screen, and the closed hardware. This was also his decision.



    So it wasn't just one thing that caused his problems, it was a number of them. Let's face it, he had never run large teams before. That's tough for anyone new. And this was a hard, fast moving industry. Once IBM got involved, it became almost impossible, and almost all other thriving computer makers from that time went out of business.



    So being removed of the power he did have was frustrating for him, at the time. It was likely the proper thing to do. Jobs was not the same man he was when he returned to Apple. We can't predict the future. No one knew how things would turn out when he came back. In fact, many of us were frustrated those first few years after he did.



    People might have noticed that the first new product was harkening back to the first closed Mac, with the iMac. This is what we thought: Jobs is back, and we get the same ol'. He even made the PowerMacs smaller, with fewer slots, which was frustrating.



    You've got to know that professionals were much happier with Apple AFTER he left, and the first open Mac came out. Would that have happened with him there? Probably not. That saved the Mac, and Apple along with it. So not everything was bad.



    Scully did make some bad decisions. One was in raising the price of Macs after he turned down MS's offer to license the OS. The other was to release the Newton before it was completely ready. So he left. But developing the ARM chip was done on his watch as well, a pretty forward looking thing.



    But the real damage was done by Michael Spindler, who was brought in as CEO after Scully. He was, I believe, the head financial guy for Apple in Europe. Shortly after he took over, he was asked in an interview that after Jobs, who was a visionary, and Scully who was, whether Apple needed a visionary to run it. His reply was that it didn't.



    He was right, he wasn't a visionary, and ran Apple right into the ground! The one decision that almost destroyed Apple, was made on his watch. Does anyone here remember it? I mentioned it several times over the years.
  • Reply 51 of 122
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by melgross View Post


    I remember this pretty well from back then. First of all, understand that it was Jobs himself who hired Scully, not the board, though they approved, of course.



    But Jobs was hard to work with, and people under him didn't like him very much. This was from people I knew, from Apple. He also made a number of mistakes. The Apple III was the first major one. This was their first machine specifically designed for business. It was rushed out, and had many problems. That was laid at Jobs's door. It was his project to a great extent.



    Then the failure of the Lisa was thought his mistake. The later failure of the Mac to take off was also his doing. Many of us were surprised at what it looked like, and it

    s closed nature. I knew a lot of business people who were intrigued, but lost interest when they saw the small monitor screen, and the closed hardware. This was also his decision.



    So it wasn't just one thing that caused his problems, it was a number of them. Let's face it, he had never run large teams before. That's tough for anyone new. And this was a hard, fast moving industry. Once IBM got involved, it became almost impossible, and almost all other thriving computer makers from that time went out of business.



    So being removed of the power he did have was frustrating for him, at the time. It was likely the proper thing to do. Jobs was not the same man he was when he returned to Apple. We can't predict the future. No one knew how things would turn out when he came back. In fact, many of us were frustrated those first few years after he did.



    People might have noticed that the first new product was harkening back to the first closed Mac, with the iMac. This is what we thought: Jobs is back, and we get the same ol'. He even made the PowerMacs smaller, with fewer slots, which was frustrating.



    You've got to know that professionals were much happier with Apple AFTER he left, and the first open Mac came out. Would that have happened with him there? Probably not. That saved the Mac, and Apple along with it. So not everything was bad.



    Scully did make some bad decisions. One was in raising the price of Macs after he turned down MS's offer to license the OS. The other was to release the Newton before it was completely ready. So he left. But developing the ARM chip was done on his watch as well, a pretty forward looking thing.



    But the real damage was done by Michael Spindler, who was brought in as CEO after Scully. He was, I believe, the head financial guy for Apple in Europe. Shortly after he took over, he was asked in an interview that after Jobs, who was a visionary, and Scully who was, whether Apple needed a visionary to run it. His reply was that it didn't.



    He was right, he wasn't a visionary, and ran Apple right into the ground! The one decision that almost destroyed Apple, was made on his watch. Does anyone here remember it? I mentioned it several times over the years.



    Ahhh....



    Das Diesel... Brings back lots of bad memories...
  • Reply 52 of 122
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by karmadave View Post


    Jobs wasn't technically fired, but he was effectively fired when the Apple board relived him of any operating responsibility. I worked at Apple, from 1987-1992, and Scully was actually quite popular. In fact, compared to Michael Spindler, Scully was a god



    He comes across as being intelligent and thoughtful, which is exactly what you'd expect from someone Steve Jobs recruited. The fact that they clashed over the direction the company should take does not make one of them wrong or evil, but we know that in such situations, someone is going to prevail and the other is going to be out.



    In the end, it could hardly have worked out better.
  • Reply 53 of 122
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post


    He comes across as being intelligent and thoughtful, which is exactly what you'd expect from someone Steve Jobs recruited. The fact that they clashed over the direction the company should take does not make one of them wrong or evil, but we know that in such situations, someone is going to prevail and the other is going to be out.



    In the end, it could hardly have worked out better.



    Yeah...



    That's karma!



    Steve jobs accomplishments, IMO:



    -- returning to Apple

    -- leaving Apple

    -- founding Apple



    Apple == Steve Job == Apple ---> Repeat
  • Reply 54 of 122
    onhkaonhka Posts: 1,025member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Woodlink View Post


    Umm, if anything Jobs made some of the above convenient, and profitable. But don't try and convince me he cured a disease, or died in a war.



    If that is what you understood or got out of NomadMac's comments, I don't think that anyone is bright enough to convince you of anything.
  • Reply 55 of 122
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,445member
    never mind
  • Reply 56 of 122
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,445member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post


    He comes across as being intelligent and thoughtful, which is exactly what you'd expect from someone Steve Jobs recruited. The fact that they clashed over the direction the company should take does not make one of them wrong or evil, but we know that in such situations, someone is going to prevail and the other is going to be out.



    In the end, it could hardly have worked out better.



    He was intelligent and thoughtful, but he still almost killed Apple. During his tenure (and after, until Jobs returned), Apple had a number of serious problems:



    - during the early part of Sculley's tenure, they released very few machines in the Mac line: Jobs left in October of 1985, so let's not blame Sculley for 1986. But in 1987, Apple released only an updated version of the Apple IIe and three Macs: a II, II/40MBHD and an SE. In 1988, they released a very slightly enhanced version of the IIc, called the IIc+, which was the very last model in the Apple II line and three new variations on the Mac: a Mac II 40MB with 4MB of memory, an SE with a hard disk and the IIx. In 1989, four more insubstantial variations: SE30, IIcx, IIci and another SE variant. Etc.



    - One of the supposed big bone of contentions between Sculley and Jobs was that Jobs wanted to de-emphasize the Apple II line in favor of the Mac. But even under Sculley, the Apple II line only lasted another year.



    - In 1993, Sculley's last year, Apple released an incredibly confusing lineup of 26 desktop Macs across five product lines (Mac, LC, Centris, Quadra, Performa) and 6 laptops. This was a huge marketing mistake as the product line was so confusing, even informed consumers had no idea what to buy and what the differences were. It was also Apple's "grey box" era where most of the computers comprised of clunky looking odd shapes.



    - Sculley initiated the development of a next-gen operating system, but could never get the team to pull it off, although Sculley's replacements (Spindler, et al) were no better and it wasn't until Apple purchased NeXT that they were able to accomplish OS X. But during this period, Apple kept changing their approach to the next OS, which severely alienated developers and program producers and turned them away from the Mac.



    -The Newton was developed under Sculley's tenure. And we all know what a great device that was.



    - By the time Steve returned in July of 1997, Apple's finances were in such distress that the company was close to going under. Sculley can't take all the blame because he left four years earlier, but he certainly was part of the problem.



    So while most historians of the era praise Jobs for recognizing that he needed an outside, experienced executive to run Apple, they criticized him (in retrospect) for hiring the wrong person and making the hiring decision based upon personality.



    As for Sculley, Condé Nast Portfolio ranked Sculley as the 14th worst American CEO of all time. I've met executives like Sculley and they do very well when companies pretty much run themselves and have strong executive teams who actually manage the company, so they can simply act as the figurehead. They don't do well when they have to take an active role and/or when companies have severe strategic problems.
  • Reply 57 of 122
    You omit one or two crucial items: First, that Apple was more profitable during the Scully years than it had ever been before, and into the early '90s was more profitable than it would be for many more years after Jobs returned. The Mac's market share peaked near 12% in this timeframe. Twenty years later the Mac share is almost back to where it was with Scully wrecking the company.



    Another convenient omission is that Apple was a financial and administrative train wreck when Jobs recruited Scully. The company had no budget and was divided into competing duchies. Jobs could not create order from the chaos, in fact he was one of the creators of the chaos. Jobs recognized at least that Apple needed "adult supervision" if it was going to survive. He recruited Scully because of his management reputation.



    It's too simple to bash Scully for all of Apple's problems during the '90s. A lot of them stemmed from a clueless board of directors. In retrospect the board blew it back in '85 when they could not find a way to mediate between Scully and Jobs and keep both of them in their best roles. Faced with the choice between management and vision they chose management. That gave the company many good years of profitability, at the expense of technological vision. We know the rest.



    The Newton was a great device. A lot of us saw that then, and more should understand it now.
  • Reply 58 of 122
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Woodlink View Post


    The debate over whether or not Sculley fired Jobs or not is stupid.



    So are people who waste their time posting forums that they think are a waste of time.
  • Reply 59 of 122
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    So are people who waste their time posting forums that they think are a waste of time.



    And it's less stupid than arguing about what the next iPhone will be named. (I have no idea what you're talking about¡)
  • Reply 60 of 122
    I work in the corporate world and what he says is half true, people get "moved around" all the time.



    What he does not mention is that some moves are disguised firings, even though the person is not actually terminated. This is common practice in upper management. The message comes precisely in the form Sculley sent it: the executive is removed from their role, perhaps given some token role with a big name. It's done this way because the overt firing of major executives is an embarrassment to the organization and it looks bad on their CV. Companies (in other words, other executives) give those fired this way the valuable ability to say that they left on their own.



    Most executives thus marginalized will leave quietly within a few months, ideally to a job elsewhere. This may have been what Sculley expected, but Jobs was no corporate soldier. He was self-made and full of ideas. He understood he had no future at Apple, and not being one to waste time he left and went to form NeXT.



    Sculley is a liar because he understands corporate language perfectly and knows full well what he did to Jobs. Now that this is a liability to him, he uses a technicality to try weasel away from it.



    His revenue and market share stats are of little meaning, since the company had huge momentum and no credible competition in the GUI OS space till Windows 3.0 showed up in 1990. It was then that the lack of innovation and vision under Sculley was gradually exposed, and the 90's proceeded to be a big bag of hurt for Apple till Jobs returned.
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