Downfall of a Business Icon: Steve Jobs Departs

Back to office, not much developments had happened in a while for Macintosh. Hertzfeld had been on a leave of absence since launch of Macintosh, because he was tired and because he didn’t like his senior Burrel Smith.

When he got the news of bonuses given to Macintosh team, he reached office to claim his share, he told Belleville had refused to give Hertzfeld his credit. Later he discovered that it was Steve himself who stopped his bonus. Turns out, that he did it to persuade him to join back Apple. But Hertzfeld respecting his principles refused to return. Another thing he told was that Mac team had gone worse. They had become unproductive. Jobs gave excuse that Mac team had to grow, and things have changed.

Hertzfeld told that it is not the team that he would like to work for any more. According to Jobs Hertzfeld was over estimating his necessity in Mac team. Jobs told him that he was not required anymore, and as a result he never returned.

Burrel Smith also was unable to tolerate Steve Jobs, and could not get out of his Reality Distortion Field, so he decided to quit. This was not the end of people leaving Apple. Bruce Horn also decided to leave. Jobs claimed that everything wrong was due to him. Horn said that there were many things right that were due to him, for which he had to fight a lot. Jobs agreed. He showed his softer said, and asked Bruce Horn to remain in Apple, but he disagreed.

After Hertzfeld in 1984, and 2 more executives left already in 1985, Jobs was not Happy, when the biggest turbulence came. Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple, who was working as mid-level employee for the Apple II, decided it was time to start his own company. He believed that Apple II engineers were disrespected, even when it was the biggest source of income for Apple for greater part of its history, and even after Macintosh, it was only Apple II generating the fund. He decided that this disrespect was intolerable.

The environment Apple was no more productive. There was negativity all around. This impacted relations between Jobs and Sculley also.

There were disputes related to some business and strategic matters. Sculley for example, wanted to maintain high cost for Macintosh for profitability while Jobs wanted to make it more affordable. Acting as catalyst were employees, who wanted Sculley to take control of organisation, and give a stern message to Steve Jobs. They asked Jobs to remain confined to his own Macintosh division and not to poke into other divisions. He agreed. But as sales of Macintish started to disappoint, he started to lash almost every other manager he saw during the day. And mid-level managers started to unite against him, for a revolt. His mood swings had worsened, and there seemed to be no one to support him, not even the sales. He had seen a sharp downfall from the top of his peak in 1984.

Apple was never so confused and dysfunctional. There seemed no vision, and a blame game was being played. The engineers had become enemies. With some efforts Apple executives were able to silent Steve Jobs, but there was a vacuum in the company.

Sculley worked up his nerve to walk up to office, never would have a CEO felt so nervous going in office of a manager. He took a Human Resouce manager along to Steve’s office to make the confrontation more formal.

Sculley maintaining his nerve explained Jobs that no one admired him more than Steve Jobs did. That very moment Jobs knew there was a huge “but” coming up his way.

Sculley told that he admired his vision, but it was not working up well. He wanted Jobs to step down from Macintosh division. He also accused Jobs of saying bad to his employees, and bad mouthing Sculley behind his back.

Jobs cried and was taken aback. He fired at him, and started to criticize Sculley. Trying to control his nerves, he informed Jobs, that he was going to put forth a proposal in front of board, to take away Steve Jobs’ position of running the Macintosh division. Steve Jobs got emotional, he couldn’t believe that Sculley who was a father figure to him, was doing this.

Steve Jobs felt the same confusion in his mind, that he had when he started Apple. It was a boat without a rudder. Jobs at one point would think of running Apple Labs, at other point he would count people to confront Sculley. At one point he would try to gain people’s support and at other he would criticize them on there back

The board wanted to hear both of there views privately. According to Jobs, Sculley was the problem because he had almost no knowledge of computers and was incapable of running company.

In turn of Sculley, he told that Jobs attitude was taking Apple back, he promised that he will take Apple to new heights of troubles of Jobs got over. And he also said that if Jobs remained as leader of Macintosh, then Apple can find a new CEO for itself. He also promised that Jobs would be slowly made comfortable with his new role. As a result a unanimous decision came in favor of Sculley. May be the decision was right. But in history some people interprate it as the fact that they could loose a trouble some employee, but loosing a CEO would be a bigger problem. Moreover that impacted stock value.

Steve Jobs didn’t want change, and tried to resist the moment. He made promise to Sculley that he will prove himself as a good operator and reform himself. His proposal was unapproved by Sculley. He then again ridiculed Sculley and even without any authority to order, recommended that Sculley should resign.

Jobs knew there was no moving back. He couldn’t leave his grounds, but if John Sculley was forcing him to do so, then let the battle begun, he planned for a coup against him.

He took his Macintosh team members, the ones who could see the world with his perspective to a dinner because he knew things were getting more and more uncertain.

He needed a perfect opportunity and a plan to oust Sculley. The opportunity was provided when Sculley went to China to make some agreement for exporting Apple products to China

He started making plans and discussing with fellows, the news that Steve Jobs was planning a revolt reached to ears of John Sculley in China. He cancelled the trip and returned back to confront him.

In front of all executives after some blames put on each other, a massive decision was there. Steve Jobs or John Sculley? They both together were now biggest enemies, and it was impossible to cooperate for them. So whom should they chose. And it was quite obvious they chose, John Sculley, because he was the CEO. The CEO was more dearer to them.

But then Sculley, had a change of heart, and secretly felt like resigning. He told this to Eisenstat.  And he tried to counsel Sculley.

In mean time Mike Murray drive to Steve Jobs and asked him to stay at Apple. In his opinion taking up the role of heading AppleLabs R&D was not bad.

Jobs after some thinking, and clearing the clutter in his mind, decided it was right. Most important thing for that was to soften the relations with John Sculley first.

To do this Jobs called Sculley and invited him for a walk. Sculley agreed to it, because even though Jobs had failed and was creating trouble for Sculley, he knew that Jobs was a great visionary and a influencial person, he still wanted to be in Jobs’ good books. Moreover Jobs was unaware that he had been thinking over resigning, because he failed to run the company in the manner he thought. He had only discussed it with his wife and Eisenstat

The walk was in woods behind the Stanfordcampus, and continued for many hours. Jobs again requested Sculley to allow him to lead Macintosh team, but Sculley was adamant for Product visionary at Apple Labs. Jobs believed that it would make him a mere figure head.

Jobs asked if they could split the duties among each other. Jobs could handle products and Sculley could handle marketing. Sculley refused. Sculley had the support but Jobs had only few of his loyal Engineers and teammates.

While coming back he stopped by home of Mike Markulla, who was not there. He left a message, where he invited Mike and his other loyal friends for Dinner on the next evening.

Jobs along with all him supporters wanted to persuade Mike, to help them in getting Apple reorganized in a manner that out Jobs in charge. Mike upon arrival was met with lots of request and reasons to support Jobs but he was unconvinced.

Sculley arrived the next day, recomfirmed from each member if he had the support and then stood infront of #SteveJobs tall and powerful.Jobs realisedhe had no more appeals or pleas or any other chance left. The game was #over.

He called up all his well wishers and cried for all his dreams were now dust. His beloved position of Macintosh was given to Gassée. He that day went home and buried himself in mattress, later Murray arrived, in fear that Jobs might not do something rash. They discussed variety if things till dawn.

Jobs was adviced to forget about battle and accept his defearfrom #JohnSculley. He was asked to attend the restructing of #Apple, where Jobs didnrerecidve much sympathy. He knew the game was about to end. He gave a unblinking stare to Sculley on stage, and Sculley tried to ignore it.

And finay unwillingly Steve Jobs was unwillingly made to go away from his own company. He felt alienated, and couldn’t find any direction.

It was the same feeling which he had when he came from India and was discovering his own self. Some fellows came upto counsel him. But nothing could help. He was running highon emotions.Mike Markkula, Arthur Rock and John Sculley, all 3 of them had broken his #trust.

He spent some days talking with his own self. Meanwhile Sculley stated that he, despite of Steve Jobs title as #Chairman, considered Jobs to be useless. Also, the Apple II during that time went on sale in Russia.

 Thanks for Reading

Aditya Agarwal

Aditya Agarwal

Indefinite Thinker Infinite Player 5th October, 2019


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