Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs attempts a boardroom coup

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Jobs
Sadly for Steve, things didn't work in his favor.
Photo: Esther Dyson/Flickr CC

May 23: Today in Apple history: Steve Jobs attempts a boardroom coup May 23, 1985: Bitter about being ousted from his position running the Macintosh division, Steve Jobs attempts to stage a coup to seize control of Apple from CEO John Sculley.

The 30-year-old Apple co-founder plans to overthrow Sculley while the CEO is away on a business trip in China. Unfortunately for Jobs, he makes a critical mistake when he tries to recruit the support of Apple executive Jean-Louis Gassée, who informs Sculley of the plot.

It’s the beginning of the end for Jobs’ first tenure at Apple.

Today in Apple history: John Sculley brings ‘Pepsi Generation’ marketing to Apple

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john-sculley
John Sculley was Apple's third president and CEO.
Photo: Web Summit/Flickr CC

May 17: Today in Apple history: John Sculley starts as Apple CEO May 17, 1983: John Sculley takes the helm as Apple’s third president and CEO. The former Pepsi-Cola boss is short on tech experience but long on marketing, which will become increasingly important as the personal computer revolution ramps up.

Steve Jobs personally lured Sculley to Apple using one of the most famous lines in the history business. “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water,” Jobs asked Sculley, “or do you want a chance to change the world?”

Today in Apple history: Newton boss departs as device struggles

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The Newton MessagePad looks gigantic next to an iPhone.
The Newton MessagePad did not become the immediate hit Apple desired.
Photo: Blake Patterson/Wikipedia CC

April 19 April 19, 1994: The executive in charge of Apple’s revolutionary new product line, the Newton MessagePad, parts ways with Apple.

“We can’t say whether he fell or was pushed,” says an Apple spokesman. Reports suggest that the departing Gaston Bastiaens, general manager of Apple’s personal interactive electronics division, is leaving due to his failure to make the Newton a financial success.

Today in Apple history: Apple co-founder quits and cashes in his stake for $800

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Ron Wayne: today, and when he co-founded Apple in 1976
Ron Wayne today and when he co-founded Apple in 1976.
Photo: Ron Wayne

April 12: Today in Apple history: Apple co-founder Ron Wayne quits and cashes in his stake for $800 April 12, 1976: Apple’s third co-founder, a former Atari colleague of Steve Wozniak’s named Ron Wayne, cashes in his Apple shares for just $800.

Wayne, who owns a 10 percent stake in the company, throws in the towel after worrying that he doesn’t have the time or energy to properly invest in Apple. He later receives an extra $1,500 check to seal the deal. When he cashes it, he loses out on an investment worth billions.

Today in Apple history: John Sculley takes over as Apple CEO

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Former Apple CEO John Sculley talks at Web Summit 2015 in Dublin, Ireland.
John Sculley goes from pushing Pepsi to running Apple.
Photo: Web Summit/Flickr CC

April 8: Today in Apple history: John Sculley takes over as Apple CEO April 8, 1983: John Sculley, former president of PepsiCo, takes charge as Apple’s third CEO.

Despite a total lack of experience selling tech products, Sculley is lured to Apple by Steve Jobs himself. The Apple co-founder famously pitched the Pepsi exec with the line, “Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water or do you want a chance to change the world?”

Today in Apple history: CFO Peter Oppenheimer retires from Apple

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Peter
Peter Oppenheimer oversaw a decade of explosive growth at Apple.
Photo: C-SPAN

March 4: Today in Apple history: Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer retires March 4, 2014: Peter Oppenheimer, the Apple chief financial officer who presided over a decade of skyrocketing growth, steps down from the company.

After becoming Apple CFO in 2004, Oppenheimer saw the company’s valuation soar from $8.8 billion to $471 billion. Luca Maestri, current Apple senior vice president and chief financial officer, replaced Oppenheimer in this crucial position.

Today in Apple history: Massive layoffs clear out Apple’s ‘bozo explosion’

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This was one of the worst (and one of the most significant) days in Apple history.
Photo: Bonhams

February 25 Today in Apple history: Apple layoffs: Black Wednesday clears out the 'bozo explosion' February 25, 1981: Apple CEO Michael Scott oversees a mass firing of employees, then holds a massive party.

“I used to say that when being CEO at Apple wasn’t fun anymore, I’d quit,” he tells a crowd of Apple staffers. “But now I’ve changed my mind — when being CEO isn’t fun anymore, I’ll just fire people until it is fun again.” For many people at Apple, the day is the worst in company history — and an early sign that the fun startup culture of the early days are gone forever.

Today in Apple history: Gil Amelio takes over as CEO

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Bringing on Gil Amelio was viewed as a big coup for the Apple board.
Gil Amelio was viewed as the man to save Apple.
Photo: Apple

February 2: Today in Apple history: Gil Amelio takes over as Apple CEO February 2, 1996: Apple reveals that turnaround artist Gil Amelio will take over from Michael “The Diesel” Spindler as CEO of the struggling company.

With disappointing Mac sales, the disastrous “clone Mac” strategy and a failed Sun Microsystems merger to his name, Spindler is asked to resign by the Apple board. Then Cupertino enlists supposed corporate miracle-worker Amelio for the job.

Unfortunately, he turns out to be no better than Spindler.

Today in Apple history: ‘The Diesel’ becomes Apple COO

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Apple CEO Michael Spindler headed the company during trying times in the 1990s.
Michael Spindler's COO promotion put him on the path to being named future chief executive.
Image: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

January 29: Today in Apple history: Michael H. Spindler, aka 'The Diesel,' is named new Apple COO January 29, 1990: Apple CEO John Sculley appoints Michael H. Spindler as the company’s new chief operating officer.

Nicknamed “The Diesel” on account of his work ethic, Spindler’s new job continues his upward trajectory at Apple. Three years later, he will become CEO.

Today in Apple history: Turnaround artist Gil Amelio joins Apple’s board

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Bringing on Gil Amelio was viewed as a big coup for the Apple board.
Bringing on Gil Amelio was viewed as a big coup for the Apple board.
Photo: Apple

November 9: Today in Apple history: Gil Amelio joins Apple board of directors November 9, 1994: Gil Amelio, a businessman with a reputation as a talented turnaround artist, joins Apple’s board.

Coming off his impressive revitalization of National Semiconductor and Rockwell International, Amelio’s appointment at Apple sparks widespread celebration. Many Apple watchers think his arrival means the company’s dark days are over. Sadly, Amelio’s turnaround tricks won’t work in Cupertino.