Nobody sacked him, Steve Jobs left Apple himself — Wozniak
One of the things we know about Steve Jobs is that “At 30, Steve Jobs was wildly successful, fabulously wealthy and a global celebrity. And then he was fired by Apple.”
The CEO of Apple at that time was John Sculley and we always called him “the man who fired Steve Jobs.” As CEO, Sculley was thought to have control issues with Jobs — who founded the company alongside Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne in 1976 — which later metamorphosed into the sacking of the former by the Apple board at that time.
Early days: Wozniak and Steve Jobs.
After he returned as CEO in 1997, Steve Jobs was speaking at a 2005 conference in Stanford University when he talked about the “firing” incident. The talk has been circled in many biography movies of the tech enthusiast who is often considered as a legend:
We had just released our finest creation – the Macintosh – a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew, we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so, things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. And so, at 30, I was out… and very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.
He continued, a blessing in disguise:
I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.
Steve Jobs introducing the Original iPhone in 2007.
However, Apple co-founder, Steve Wozniak, who naturally knows more than most of us in the matter, gave a shocker speech last week when he disclosed that Steve Jobs was never sacked from Apple. He insinuated instead, that following the failure of some Apple products that had high expectancy, Jobs, left the company out of embarrassment:
One thing nobody likes to point out is that John Sculley himself, as well as almost all of us at Apple, believed that the Macintosh was Apple’s future. We all sacrificed the growing personal computer market (10x over a decade and MS got all the growth) in this belief. We (Sculley leading) had to work very hard for 3 years to make the Macintosh as successful (in dollars) as the Apple ][ had ever been, following Jobs’ vision. The choices can be argued because you can never go back and say what decisions would have what results, but it was a business decision to SAVE Apple as a company, after the stock dropped by a third in about a day when the Macintosh failed to sell due to not much software. Steve Jobs wasn’t pushed out of the company. He left. I supported him in his belief that he was made to create computers. But up until then he’d only had failures at creation. He was great at productizing and marketing the Apple ][ and the revenues financed the failures Apple ///, LISA, Macintosh and NeXT. This is not shown in the movie. After the Macintosh failure it’s fair to assume that Jobs’ left out of his feeling of greatness, and embarrassment about not having achieved it. That is not shown either. This movie is more about Steve Jobs inside, his non-feeling about a lot of things including how others thought of him, and some pushes to reform that in the end.
Except for his wife, children and maybe close associates, nobody believed John Sculley when he mentioned that Steve Jobs was never sacked from Apple.
Sculley said in May 2015:
Steve was never fired. He took a sabbatical and was still chairman of the board. He was down, no one pushed him, but he was off the Mac, which was his deal – he never forgave me for that.
He started NeXt and was sued by the board for hiring Apple engineers, but he was never fired by Apple.
The man who many of us thought to be Jezebel was actually cool. “I wish in hindsight I had reached back to Steve and told him, ‘I want to help you come back to Apple,'” Sculley told CNN. “I wish Apple had hired him back sooner rather than later.”
In his post Apple days, Sculley founded a mobile upstart called Obi Mobiles, the company has been offering affordable smartphones in emerging Asian and African markets. The late Steve Jobs on the other hand, will be remembered for his contributions in making of the iPod, Mac OS X, iPad and the iPhone.