Steve Jobs steps down the first time: The 1985 press coverage

“In 1985, John Sculley–Apple’s president and Steve Jobs’ partner and confidante–became frustrated with Jobs’ management style,” Harry McCracken reports for Technologizer.

“He forced Jobs into a role as Apple’s chairman that was designed to prevent him from making any decisions,” McCracken reports. “A few months later, Jobs resigned and founded NeXT. And that, it seemed, was that.”

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McCracken reports, “The saga got a lot of coverage in the press–not as much as this week’s Jobs news, but a lot. It’s fascinating to look back at it. And I don’t blame anyone who failed to understand the implicates of Jobs leaving back then or even cheered his exodus. I mean, who would have believed you if you’d outlined the story to come?”

Check out all the coverage in the full article here.


  1. But in an interview today, William V. Campbell, an executive vice president, said the company did not need Mr. Jobs. ”We’ve been without Steve Jobs for the better part of four months,” he said, referring to the period since Mr. Jobs lost his operating responsibilities. ”Since that time we’ve been doing just fine.”

    It seems that Jobs forgave this guy for the attitude, since he sits in Apple’s Board of Directors.

  2. We still need to keep in mind one thing. Steve was barely 30 years old when he had that clash with Sculley. He had very little management experience (none outside of his own company) and, more importantly, very little lifetime experience and maturity. Being forced out of Apple (and into other things) provided the exactly kind of breadth of experience that he needed in order to successfully manage and lead a corporation. The 12 years away gave him that, and he often admitted the same thing.

    It is difficult to guess where Apple would have been, had Steve remained (and had Sculley been the one to leave). But it is even more difficult to imagine it being better and greater than it already is today.

  3. John Sculley, while at APPLE turned $800 million to $8 billion – company…. Sculley wanted the NEWTON. Palm and Motorola spun the basic concepts of the NEWTON into a success.
    Apple eyed the PALM and had plans for the iPad – which was in development first… it was Steve Jobs who said – that device if smaller would make a great Phone – and that is what came to market first.

    I think it was Michael Spindler and then Gil Amelio… who brought troubles to Apple.

    1. I agree that the Sculley bashing is unfair. Apple made progress under his leadership, and yes, Newton was Sculley’s brainchild. And there is no question that Newton’s DNA is a part of iPod, iPhone and iPad.

      The twin disasters for Apple were Spindler and Amelio – both absolutely clueless.

      One name that doesn’t get mentioned much, and who might still have a contribution to make to Apple, is Jean-Louis Gassee, who was a sort of mentor to Steve Jobs.

  4. Sculley, to his credit, publicly praises Jobs to this day, so he must not be a complete A$$! I am very sad to see Steve go! I am bracing for the worst possible news within a year. I hope I’m wrong!

  5. Why the hate for Gil Amelio? He and Ellen Hancock had the guts to trash the Pink/taligent project, realizing it was going nowhere.

    Amelio realized Apple needed a clean slate with its OS and went shopping. The final choices came down to Gassee’s BeOS and Jobs’ NeXT

    You have Amelio to thank for the Return Of Jobs. When Steve got back he pulled on Amelio what Sculley did to him. When Amelio was gone Steve went way further then Amelio did in terms of cutting un-needed projects and focusing the company.

    No Amelio hate from me.

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