Former Apple CEO John Sculley says the new Steve Jobs movie is “extraordinary entertainment,” and thinks it will be “every bit as successful” as Aaron Sorkin’s previous Silicon Valley biopic The Social Network.
Like Andy Herzfeld, however, Sculley notes that the movie is not always accurate and that there, “was a lot of creative license taken.”
While some of this concerns exactly what was said by whom and to whom at the time of Steve’s departure from Apple, Sculley’s broader point is about the movie’s interpretation of Steve Jobs — which acknowledges his successes but also dwells on some of his more negative aspects.
As such, Sculley says that the movie, “was really taking one aspect of Steve Jobs’s personality … If one tries to come away with a complete picture of who was Steve Jobs, they wouldn’t get it from this movie.”
“Part of his personality was he was a passionate perfectionist, but there were so many other parts of Steve’s personality that I knew because Steve and I were not only business partners, but we were incredibly close friends for several years. I could tell you that the young Steve Jobs that I knew had a great sense of humor. He was on many occasions, when we were together, very warm. He cared a lot about the people he worked with and he was a good person. So, I think those aren’t the aspects that are focused on in this movie.”
Sculler also takes issue with the movie’s implication that the Mac was cast aside by Apple after Jobs left. “[W]hen Steve left … we [never stopped] selling the Mac,” he said. “That would be crazy. We all knew it was the future.”
Personally, I’ve always liked John Sculley — who too often gets lumped in with the downturn Apple took in the years after his departure.
He wasn’t the practical visionary that Jobs was, but people who suggest he had no long-term vision for Apple are way off-base. If you need proof, look no further than this 1987 Knowledge Navigator concept video or Walt Mossberg’s appraisal of the “failed” Newton project, which was Sculley’s baby.
When Sculley left Apple in 1993, the company was the biggest-selling personal computer company in the world with a cash pile of $2 billion (which Sculley points out “was all coming from the Mac at that point.”)
Why bring this up? Because it would be easy to make an Apple-related movie where Sculley is portrayed as the villainous, one-dimensional businessman who took Apple away from its founder. The fact that Sculley is happy with the movie suggests that what we’re in store for is a more realistic, nuanced version of events than some would have you believe.
Even if it does use plenty of creative license to get there.