During Steve Jobs’s so-called “Wilderness Years” after he left Apple in 1985 but before his triumphant return to the company in 1997, the company went woefully astray, releasing dud product after dud product and seeing its market share and influence erode as PC makers like Dell took Cupertino’s once proud crown.
Only Steve Jobs’s triumphant return to the company in 1997 righted Apple’s course and made it the company it is today, but speaking to journalist Brent Schlender — who interviews Steve dozens of times over a quarter-century — Jobs said that watching Apple’s disgrace while he was away from the company was like watching your own child turn into a serial killer.
“Imagine if you’re the mother of, you know, some bad kid,” Jobs says. “You’re Jeffrey Dahmer’s mother. Or you’re the mother of some kid who’s turned into a robber … robbed banks or something, been to jail. I don’t equate Apple with that, but in a way I do…. You never stop loving your kid.”
Jeffrey Dahmer was an American serial killer and sex offender who 17 men and boys between 1978 and 1991. His murders involved rape, dismemberment, necrophilia and cannibalism. So this is a pretty extreme comparison.
During the same clip, recorded sometime between 1993 and 1996, Steve Jobs is also very hard on current Apple CEO Michael Spindler, the man in charge of Apple during the introduction of some of Cupertino’s biggest failures, including the Newton and Copland operating system. Spindler, according to Steve, wouldn’t even return his calls.
A couple years later, of course, things were very different, and Steve was again on top at Apple.