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Sep 16, 08 - 7:37 am

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Apple LogoToday is an auspicious day in the history of Steve Jobs. It’s the day he quit Apple and also the day he returned.

Jobs resigned as chairman of Apple Computer on September 16, 1985, after losing a boardroom battle for control of the company with then-CEO John Sculley.

Jobs had co-founded Apple about eight years earlier with his hacker friend Steve Wozniak.

A pair of teenagers, the two Steves had little idea how to grow the hot company at the dawn of the soon-to-be-giant PC industry.

Jobs helped recruit Sculley from Pepsi-Cola, where Sculley had shown a genius for lifestyle advertising. The pair ran Apple as co-CEOs but fell out and took their differences to the board. Though a visionary, the board decided Jobs was too volatile for the lead role. So he quit.

On the same day he resigned, Jobs submitted incorporation papers to the California secretary of state for the name of his new company, NeXT Computer.

NeXT was Jobs’ revenge. Jobs founded NeXT with the express purpose of running Apple into the ground. NeXT would develop computers that were far better than anything Apple could offer, and Apple would soon be out of business.

NeXT never did put Apple out of business, and for the next 10 years just barely survived itself. It did, however, produce a fantastic operating system, NeXTStep, which many praised as ahead of its time.

In December 1996, Apple bought NeXT for $400 million. It wanted NeXTStep to form the basis of a new, modern operating system, one that didn’t crash every time Netscape Navigator was launched.

Jobs came on board as an informal adviser to then-CEO Gil Amelio. But within months, the board fired Amelio after Apple suffered one of the biggest quarterly losses in Silicon Valley history.

Jobs was initially reluctant to take a role at Apple. His other company, Pixar, had just released its first movie, Toy Story, to great acclaim. But he soon found himself putting in more time at Apple, working hard to whip it into shape.

On September 16, 1997, Apple announced that Jobs had officially been named interim CEO, or — as the company cleverly put it — iCEO.


Tony wrote on September 16th, 2008 at 8:18 am

I was only 9 years old but all throughout my teenage years i could not get enough of Apple’s history from 77 to the late 80s. These were the golden years in early personal computer history. Some good ones: “Infinite Loop”, “Steve Jobs & the Next Big Thing”, “Apple: The Inside Story of Intrigue, Egomania, and Business Blunders”, and my personal favorite “Insanely Great: The Life and Times of Macintosh, the Computer That Changed Everything” by Steven Levy.

Sean wrote on September 16th, 2008 at 8:22 am

According to official documents, Apple was established in Cupertino, California on April 1, 1976 and incorporated January 3, 1977, so I figured it was safe to say ‘about 8 years earlier’. I have a bunch of books on Apple from back in the day. I actually learned computers on Apple II’s while in elementary school. They were way ahead of their time, just like Commodore 64 computers. Ah, the good old days.