eWEEK at 30: Steve Jobs Returns in 1997 to Revive a Moribund Apple
eWEEK 30: Apple was nearly sold to Sun Microsystems for $6 a share before Steve Jobs returned in 1997 to oversee development of the iMac and iconic wireless devices that made Apple one of the richest companies in history.Apple, with its high-flying stock price, millions of devoted customers and $200 billion-plus in total assets, may be on top of the world now. But it survived some dark years to get to where it is today as one of the world's richest and most successful companies. A mere 16 months after introducing its then-signature product in 1984, the Macintosh desktop personal computer, the company's visionary co-founder, Steve Jobs, was effectively shown the door at age 30 on May 31, 1985. He had clashed for two years with his hand-chosen successor, former PepsiCo CEO John Sculley and the Apple board of directors over a great many things— not the least of which were the company's enterprise versus consumer direction and its sacrosanct creative culture. "I remember distinctly the day of that board meeting where he was ousted, and it had the quality of the day Kennedy was shot," a longtime former Apple manager, who asked not to be identified in this article, recalled to eWEEK. "Without him, it just wasn't the same company. When you look back, it was something of a miracle the company survived until he returned."
By 1985, nine-year-old Apple had cut daily operations ties from both its founders, Jobs and Steve Wozniak, who had come up with the most user-friendly and useful—if not the most powerful and business-oriented—desktop computer that had existed up to that time. Apple was now in the hands of corporate leadership that had no connection to the company' founding principles.