Steve Jobs & John Sculley

by Guruprasad

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A tree with an Axe? :)

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs with Apple CEO John Sculley.
In the previous pics of this album, I had narrated some stories about history of Apple & Microsoft. Few readers sent me msgs asking why was Steve fired and how could a company fire its own founder. These are very curious questions and I think many more readers might be curious to know about it.

Let me narrate you the story of how it happened.

As Apple grew exponentially in late 70s and early 80s, the board thought Jobs was still too young to run daily activities for such a big company, and asked Jobs to hunt for a suitable CEO. Jobs also wanted another person as CEO so that
would not have to bother about company’s daily activities and could get back to working on innovative products.

John Sculley was a very successful executive at that time and was the CEO of Pepsi. Jobs approached him many times requesting him to head Apple, but Sculley was happy with his stable job at Pepsi and rejected initially. Then, Jobs gave this legendary statement: “Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life or come with me and change the world?” which finally tempted Sculley to head to Apple.

A few months after John Sculley became the CEO, he started setting visions for the company which seemed to hinder its rapid growth and Jobs never liked such a thing. Since Jobs still had a prominent role to play in the company, he would try to have his final say in what the company should do, but Sculley being from a traditional industry had his own vision and this used to cause lot of coflict between them.

Jobs was already notorious for his short temper, erratic behaviour and poor attitude. There is a funny anecdote which says that Jobs used to park his car in slots meant for physically handicapped. Upon asking why, he showed the picture of a man on wheelchair above the parking slot (which indicates its for physically handicap), and said he always thought it was for the chairman (because of a man sitting on the chair). And since he is the chairman, he has the right to park it there. :)

There are stories which say that Jobs was so temperamental that he used to fire innocent employees even in elevators just because they could not respond to him properly. He went on to become more erratic due to conflicts with Sculley and used to hold meetings till 1am in the night and expect members to come again at 7am in the morning.
Another destructive thing he did was to bring discrimination among Apple employees. Because Jobs was heading the Macintosh division, he used to glorify this team and look down upon other teams. The Macintosh team was always treated superior which went on to cause lot of disturbances in the company.

All these factors pushed the board of directors to support Sculley and every director voted for termination of Jobs. In 1985, Steve Jobs was fired from his own company which he had founded and groomed.

What he did after getting fired is another big story which I will narrate next time using a different photo :)