Spotlight: The Man Who Fired Steve Jobs Speaks

"Now he's a lot wiser and a better business executive"

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Long before the iPod, iPhone, and iPad, Steve Jobs was fired from the company he helped found. Jobs had lured John Sculley away from Pepsi in 1983 to help run the adolescent Apple Computer, Inc. After an internal power struggle, Sculley fired Jobs in 1985. Twenty-five years later, with Jobs back at the helm, Sculley spoke with The Daily Beast's Thomas E. Weber about the early days of Apple and his relationship with one of the most powerful men in computing.


Today, Sculley credits Jobs for everything Apple has accomplished and still laments the way things turned out. "I haven't spoken to Steve in 20-odd years," Sculley tells The Daily Beast. "Even though he still doesn't speak to me, and I expect he never will, I have tremendous admiration for him."


In an interview with The Daily Beast, [Apple board member Peter] Crisp recalled how undisciplined Jobs and the original Apple crew could be--enough so that they didn't shrink at defacing the home of David Rockefeller.

Crisp describes a cocktail party Rockefeller hosted for management and bankers to celebrate Apple's initial public offering. He says Rockefeller told him the following day that he enjoyed the party with Jobs and other top Apple managers, but added, "Next year, ask them not to put logos on the mirrors in the lavatory." Some of the Apple faithful, it seems, had come armed with stickers of the company's multicolored emblem.


Sculley now says that one of his biggest regrets is that when he found himself pushed out of the CEO job, he didn't try to recruit Jobs back to Apple. ... "I wish I had gone back and gotten hold of Steve and said, 'Hey, I want to go home. This is your company still. Let's figure out a way for you to come back'"


The board members from that era have long since parted ways with Apple, which now counts Al Gore among its directors. ... "Apple is in the catbird seat," says Sculley. "The same principles Steve is so rigorous about now are the identical ones he was using then. Now he's a lot wiser and a better business executive."
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