Former Apple CEO Sculley gives his take on Steve Jobs

“Apple’s former chief executive John Sculley is perhaps best known as the man who first mentored and then clashed with Steve Jobs, leading to the late co-founder’s exit from the firm in 1985,” BBC News reports. “Mr Sculley was ultimately forced out himself by Apple’s board in 1993.”

“According to Steve Jobs’ biographer, Walter Isaacson, Mr Sculley and Mr Jobs’ relationship also started off well,” The Beeb reports. “But as the book makes clear neither man emerged untarnished from their subsequent falling out – something the BBC put to Mr Sculley.”

From what I’ve heard from people who have read the book Walter Isaacson cleared up some of the myths – that I never really did fire Steve Jobs and that Apple was actually a very profitable company. When I left Apple it had $2bn (£1.3bn) of cash. It was the most profitable computer company in the world – not just personal computers – and Apple was the number one selling computer. So the myth that I fired Steve wasn’t true and the myth that I destroyed Apple, that wasn’t true either. A lot of things happened after I left before Steve came back. – John Sculley

Much more in the full interview, including the Newton, Macintosh Office, ARM, and more, here.

MacDailyNews Take: ‘Twas the unprepared sugar water salesbozo who signed the poorly-written contract that unleashed the Dark Age of Personal Computing on the world; a darkness from which most are only now emerging. The fool had a penchant for making unbelievably massive mistakes. Sculley makes Steve Ballmer look like a business genius.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz” and “Dan K.” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
John Sculley: I wish I told Steve Jobs ‘This is your company, let’s figure out how you can come back and be CEO’ – Septemeber 13, 2011
Steve Jobs steps down the first time: The 1985 press coverage – August 26, 2011
John Sculley: Apple’s big mistake was hiring me as CEO – October 14, 2010
Sculley: Uh, maybe I shouldn’t have fired Steve Jobs – June 7, 2010


  1. MDN Take is stupid. Who was the bigger fool, Sculley or the man who hired him?

    Sculley had some great ideas and some poor execution. To call him a bozo is to show once again, how immature some of these takes can be.

    Spindler takes the cake.

    1. Agreed. MDN needs to give it a rest on Sculley. He has been nothing but gracious in his praise of Jobs and admission of his own shortcomings. That said, Sculley substantially grew Apple and it was healthy when he left. He is the father and champion of Newton – a real product that is the earliest clear predecessor for the iPhone and iPad.

    2. I have read the Isaacson biography and seen video of Sculley praising Jobs whilst admitting to his own mistakes. Jobs also made mistakes and in his 2005 Berkeley address, Jobs admits he was ripe for being ousted because of his abrasive and pushy style. Getting fired was the best thing that happened to him, he said.

      Back then Jobs was certainly not CEO material and he knew that. Markkula and maybe some others had told him so. So lets give Sculley a break MDN. Sure he made mistakes but so have many other CEO’s. Beyond time to stop the witch hunt.

    3. Scully and the rest after him SUCKED!!!! I lived through it using Apple products since the early 1980s. Thank God Steve Jobs made it back to Apple. I pray the people in charge can keep it all together and continue the greatness.

      1. I have to agree. I owned an Apple Iici and a PowerPC 8500 from those day’s, even Power Computing was better at making Macs than Apple. Adding RAM to the 8500 forced you to pull the mother board out and literally reassemble the thing. It was a nightmare with none of what makes Apple fantastic today.

        1. Your memory, crisrod63, is sadly mistaken. The 8500 was introduced in mid-1995, years after Sculley’s departure, just as the Power Computing clones came years after Sculley. Sorry to confuse you with the facts…

          1. I’d also like to mention that I have a PowerPC 7300 – also not from the Sculley era, but about the same time as the 8500. And for that model, adding RAM is a breeze. Don’t know about the 8500, but the 7300 has a very well designed interior.

  2. I’d always been told that it was Jean-Louis Gassee that wrote the give-it-all-away-to-Microsoft contract, and that it was pretty much presented to Apple as a fait accompli.

  3. At what point exactly did Apple start to produce low-end computers with CRIPPLED performance and bus architecture? (Remember the “Performas”?, especially the 5200)

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