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Former Apple CEO John Sculley: Forcing Steve Jobs Out Was a 'Mistake'

Former Apple CEO John Sculley states that he now regrets his decision to remove Steve Jobs from the company in 1985 and that the move to force the co-founder out was a "mistake," according to a new report from the Times of India.

jobs_and_sculley
Steve Jobs (left) and John Sculley (right) in 1984

Sculley, who recently launched Obi, a low-cost smartphone brand for India, added that differences between he and Jobs began over the founder's desire to subsidize the Macintosh. Sculley said that he ultimately opposed the idea, feeling that there was no "merit" in lowering the cost of the computer.
However, he still feels that some way would have been found to have them both work for the company and this could have been facilitated by Apple's board then. “I think there could have been a way, in hindsight, where Steve and I did not need to have a confrontation, and we could have worked it out. And, perhaps the board could have played a bigger role in that. But you can't change history.”
Jobs hired Sculley from beverage company Pepsi in 1983, however the two clashed over management styles and conflicting visions for the future of Apple. After his departure from Apple, Sculley went on to remain involved with a number of companies, including his role as a founding investor in Metro PCS. The former CEO also stated last March that Apple was experiencing a temporary lull in innovation, and that an iWatch smart watch from the company would be a key product going forward.

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15 weeks ago
Actually it was for the best. Jobs' experience at NeXT and Pixar were essential and without that Apple would not be where it is today. Obviously this is by accident and certainly no design of Sculley.

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He's just now getting around to this?

No, he has confessed several times in the past. It's how he gets his name out there these days.
Rating: 34 Votes
15 weeks ago

Actually it was for the best. Jobs' experience at NeXT and Pixar were essential and without that Apple would not be where it is today. Obviously this is by accident and certainly no design of Sculley.

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No, he has confessed several times in the past. It's how he gets his name out there these days.


Sculley has established a dubious place in corporate history. Pre-Apple he was famous for his brilliance at Pepsi. Post-Apple, he'll always been known as the idiot who fired Steve Jobs.
Rating: 13 Votes
15 weeks ago

Being fired from Apple was one of the best things that could have happened to him. Forcing Scott Forstall out was a mistake.


It seems like it may have been a mistake due to the rushed bug filled ios7 but if he was going to cause other execs to leave then maybe it wasn't a mistake. I want forstall to do something great on his own and show that he has great ideas independent of apple.


Wow, that was fast. From Scully in 1983 to iOS7 sucks in 2 easy steps. Great job, guys. :roll eyes:

Back on topic, I think that Scully is once again showing why hiring him was a mistake. He doesn't see the obvious fact that SJ leaving Apple and experiencing NeXT was ultimately the savior of Apple.
Rating: 12 Votes
15 weeks ago
But then we wouldn't have had NeXT and Mac OS X.

Things might've been different for the better had Jobs not been ousted, but things still turned out pretty well.
Rating: 11 Votes
15 weeks ago
I disagree, I think it gave him the chance to nurture himself.

Its like Dragon Ball Z when Gohan left home to train with Piccolo for the battle against the saiyans.

EDIT: Plus they never would have found Johny Ives if they thought Steve was a keeper. No Johny no Apple imo
Rating: 11 Votes
15 weeks ago
Being fired from Apple was one of the best things that could have happened to him. Forcing Scott Forstall out was a mistake.
Rating: 9 Votes
15 weeks ago

Actually it was for the best. Jobs' experience at NeXT and Pixar were essential and without that Apple would not be where it is today. Obviously this is by accident and certainly no design of Sculley.

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I have to agree here. The web was literally conceived on Next hardware and Pixar changed an entire industry. People seem to downplay Steve's involve leant in these companies but they both made significant marks on the world at large. Further they helped mold Steve into a person that could take charge at Apple when it only had a couple of months to go before bankruptcy. Apple was in tough shape when Steve returned, causing him to cut things with a broad axe. It saved the company even if it did piss a few people off.


No, he has confessed several times in the past. It's how he gets his name out there these days.


Well I'm not sure about that, getting his name out there. There seems to be a cult of investigators/authors/whatever that have an un satisfied need to research every bit of Apple history asking the same damn questions over and over again. I'm not sure Sculley needs to even get his name out there anymore. Honestly all this grave digging (gold digging) has become a bit unseemly and a bit offensive. The past is the past there isn't much value in raking over the coals to many times, eventually they get spread out so thin that no heat of value comes from them.

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Things turned out great regardless. If Steve wasn't forced out we might not have the advancements we have to today. Things might have went in a different direction. Everything happens for a reason. I am sure Steve would say he doesn't regret anything. Still sad to know Steve is not with us anymore.


Even Steve himself has said as much. Frankly Steve changed two great industries in ways that will shape them for decades to come. Further if it wasn't for a few Next computers placed at CERN the Internet might never have evolved the way it did.

I'm not sure about your belief at everything has a reason. Rather I see infinite paths humanity can follow, those paths are taken often by chance. The idea that there is a reason for everything would imply that we have no self determination which I find to be highly objectionable.
Rating: 7 Votes
15 weeks ago

Being fired from Apple was one of the best things that could have happened to him. Forcing Scott Forstall out was a mistake.


It seems like it may have been a mistake due to the rushed bug filled ios7 but if he was going to cause other execs to leave then maybe it wasn't a mistake. I want forstall to do something great on his own and show that he has great ideas independent of apple.
Rating: 6 Votes
15 weeks ago

In other news, the captain of the Titanic now admits that hitting the iceberg was a 'mistake'.

Contrary to perception, Apple did not hit an iceberg under Sculley. Sales and profits increased ten fold, and Apple continued to innovate, such as releasing the first PowerBooks. Apple retained great talent throughout the dark years which is how Jobs was able to turn Apple around so fast. Sculley left well before Apple hit bottom under Spindler and Amelio. In short, while Apple wasn't the powerhouse they've been in the 21st century, things were generally pretty good under Sculley.

The downside of that time period is that Appe lost a platform war to Microsoft. That probably would have happened anyways. The only way to avoid that would have been to go the licensing route a lot sooner which would have eventually led to Apple getting pushed out of the hardware market by clones and prevented Apple from making their greatest creations of this century which rely heavily on Apple's hardware expertise.

Long story short, Sculley was no Steve Jobs but he sure as hell wasn't the captain of the titanic either.
Rating: 6 Votes
15 weeks ago

Scully commented on lack of innovation? What a joke! For a few short years at Apple, not only he managed to isolate the brand to a niche market when the PC explosion worldwide was about to begin, he also then drove the company to the ground, resulting in the"brain drain" at Apple. In brief, no marketing talent in the world could run a tech company like Apple. On the other hand, Jobs tlearned a valuable lesson during his exile, too. He realized that no matter how great he could make a product, he an average person cannot afford to use it, it's value belongs in the museum. So when Jobs came back to Apple, he went with Intel, dropped the price of Mac products to an average of 30% premium pver comparable brand name PC; the rest is history.
John Scully now is now in no-man's land, pushing indian made phones, which in my opinion, will fall far behing those of China. Why? Let me remind readers that a few years back, a subsidiary of Coca-Cola India threatened the US parent co pany that they would reveal the secret formula if the company did not meet their demand. The same mentality of the Indian culture that now hosts thousands of pharmaceutical companies that manufacture knckoffs and pirated drugs. The morale of the story? This is the land where John Scully belongs.


A large part of this is not true. For whatever else you might say about Scully, Apple reached levels of profitability during his tenure that it had not before and would not for many years after. Jobs brought him in because he understood that the company needed "adult supervision." It was being run into the ground by undisciplined amateurs, of which Steve Jobs was the prime example. Scully ran it like a real company, and that is exactly why he was hired. When Jobs and Scully didn't agree, Jobs tried to undermine him. He made the board decide whether it would be him or me. It was a dumb ultimatum. Steve lost. Nobody to blame but himself.

The company Scully runs now is not building phones in India, they are selling them in India. They are making them in China.
Rating: 6 Votes

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