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John Sculley on Steve Jobs: “I have tremendous admiration for him”

John Sculley is the guy that in 1985 - together with the board of Apple Computer - decided to fire Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple and visionary personality, was fired from his very own company.

Everybody knows the story: Steve later returned to Apple in 1997 after he founded NeXT, made a deal with Bill Gates’ Microsoft to bring Office to the Mac, started the development of Mac OS X.

Steve’s personal success aside, what did exactly happen to the people who fired Steve back in 1985? Where did John Sculley go, and what is he saying now that Apple has become a mainstream phenomenon and has even surpassed Microsoft’s market cap? The Daily Beast has an interesting story about this, featuring interviews with Sculley and Peter O. Crisp, another Apple board member back then.

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.

“Maybe he should have been the CEO,” says Sculley, “and I should have been the president.”

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.

“My guess,” Sculley adds, “is that Apple won’t just pass Microsoft in market capitalization, but will go way beyond it.”

Even though many people are still criticizing what Sculley did, I’d like to think that what happened made Steve stronger and wiser, and that is the reason why we have iPhones and iPads today. Whatever happened, happened - and what really matters is what’s going on today.

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