Former Apple CEO John Sculley claims he never fired Apple co-founder Steve Jobs in an interview with the BBC from the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show.
“…[T]he myth that I fired Steve wasn’t true and the myth that I destroyed Apple, that wasn’t true either,” Sculley told the network.
Jobs and Sculley had an infamous falling out with Jobs in the mid-1980s, over disagreements about Apple’s marketing plan and pricing strategy for the Macintosh line.
Jobs wanted the Macintosh to be more affordable, while Sculley wanted to set a higher price to increase profit margins.
Apple’s Board of Directors voted to strip Jobs of his managerial control over the Macintosh division in 1985. Jobs resigned from Apple several months later and went on to found NeXT Computer. He also invested in Pixar, an animation studio that entered the spotlight in the mid-1990s following the release of Toy Story, its first feature-length film.
Jobs returned to Apple in 1996 following the company’s purchase of NeXT Computer. Apple’s CEO at that time was Gil Amelia; Sculley had been ousted in 1993.
In 1997, Amelia was forced to step down and Jobs was named interim CEO. In 2000, the Jobs’ interim tag was dropped, and he led Apple to a successful decade, introducing revolutionary new products like the Apple iPod, iPhone and iPad, as well as a revamped Macintosh lineup.
Jobs resigned from Apple in August 2011 due to failing health, after battling cancer for years and a lengthy medical leave of absence. The sometimes mercurial innovator died less than two months later on October 5, 2011, at the age of 56.
The following month, Walter Isaacson’s in-depth biography of Jobs was released, which shed much light on the feud between Jobs and Sculley, including the details behind Jobs’ resignation. Jobs granted Isaacson exclusive access to his personal life, and chose not to read the content of the biography prior to his death.
Sculley, who said he hadn’t read the biography, praised the book for bringing the truth about Jobs’ departure to the public.
Jobs’ relationship with Sculley started well; the two were very close immediately following Sculley’s hiring. It was Jobs, in fact, who persuaded Sculley to take the executive job, often flying to New York to court him.
At the time, Sculley was CEO of Pepsi, and led a successful marketing campaign that reinvigorated the cola brand. Jobs famously convinced him to take the job by asking him if he wanted to sell sugar water forever, or help “change the world.”
The $2 Billion Stash
In the interview, Sculley also denied claims that he destroyed Apple and brought the company to the brink of bankruptcy. “When I left Apple it had $2 billion of cash,” he told the BBC. Although Apple did struggle in the years following Jobs’ departure, Sculley claims most of the trouble had to do with decisions made after he left.
Jobs and Sculley never appeared to make up publicly or privately following their falling out. In a 1995 interview with PBS, Jobs said that hiring Sculley was a bad decision. When asked if he was referring to Sculley, Jobs agreed and added that Sculley destroyed everything he spent ten years working for.
Sculley was named the 14th worst CEO of all time by Portfolio.com
This guest post was written by Harrison who is an Apple fan geek and takes up Japanese Bonsai Trees as a hobby. Recently he has started his own blog, BonsaiTreeGardener.net and is aiming to provide the most in-depth information on bonsai trees, tools and care.