Pop culture blows it when it comes to Steve Jobs

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Michael Fassbender as Steve Jobs.
Michael Fassbender as Steve Jobs.
Photo: Universal Pictures

Steve Jobs is often portrayed as an egotistical tyrant in the books, movies, and documentaries that try to encapsulate the Apple CEO but according to someone who was both one of Jobs closest friends and a bitter rival, pop culture has totally blown it when it comes to portraying Steve.

Former Apple CEO John Sculley says he’s optimistic that the upcoming Steve Jobs movie written by Aaron Sorkin will fix some of his problems with how Jobs’ personality has been misrepresented.

“People exaggerate, it’s simple to summarise and exaggerate,” Sculley told The Telegraph in a recent interview. “I found Steve, remember – at the time we were friends, we were incredibly close friends, and… he was someone who even then, showed compassion, and caring about people.”

“Didn’t mean he couldn’t be tough in a meeting and make decisions, and sometimes they seemed, y’know, overly harsh,” Sculley continued. “But the reality was, the Steve Jobs I knew was still a very decent person, with very decent values. So I think he was misrepresented in popular culture.”

Sculley joined Jobs at Apple in 1983 and eventually had the board kick Steve out of the company after Jobs tried to stage a coup in 1985 and replace Sculley with Jean-Louis Gassée. The leadership struggle backfired, but Jobs said in his 2005 Stanford commencement speech that getting fired from Apple turned out to be one of the best things to happen to him.”

In the upcoming film directed by Danny Boyle, Sculley will be played by Jeff Daniels as Michael Fassbender dons the mantle of Jobs. This is the second major film to be made about Jobs since his death in 2011, but according to Sculley, the 2013 Jobs movie staring Ashton Kutcher was absolutely atrocious.

“Steve and I had this amazing relationship, and my guess is when the new movie comes out people will get a much more accurate picture of what it was really like in those early days at Apple,” Sculley said. “There was an earlier film that just was atrocious, it drove Woz really up the wall because it was so completely inaccurate, and incredibly boring. It was just awful.”