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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: Steve Wozniak survives a plane crash

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The Woz tells it like it is.
A plane crash marked the beginning of a leave of absence for Woz.
Photo: Universal Pictures

February 7: Today in Apple history: Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak survives a plane crash February 7, 1981: Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is involved in a serious plane crash, resulting in his first lengthy leave of absence from the company.

At the time, Wozniak is flying a turbocharged, single-engine, six-seat Beechcraft Bonanza A36TC. In the plane with Woz is his fiancé, Candi Clark, her brother and her brother’s girlfriend. Fortunately, nobody dies in the crash, although Woz suffers minor head injuries.

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.

Apple loses head of Mac chip design to Intel

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Someone who lead the switch to the M series of processors jumped ship to Intel.
Photo: Apple

The person responsible for overseeing the transition from Intel to Apple silicon left the company. Jeff Wilcox was Director, Mac System Architecture before his departure.

He summed up his previous role by saying he “led the transition for all Macs to Apple Silicon beginning with M1 chip.” That was one of the most important projects at Apple in recent years, though it’s one that’s wrapping up.

Huge stock award lets Apple CEO Tim Cook pull in cool $98.7 million in 2021

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Tim Cook’s compensation package for 2021 is more than 6x what it was in the previous year.
Illustration: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

It’s good to be the CEO — Apple chief executive Tim Cook was paid $98.7 million in 2021. That’s a combination of a base salary, an incentive plan and other compensation, but the lion’s share is in Apple stock.

Other top Apple executives also have 8-figure annual compensation packages, if not anywhere close to Cook’s.

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.

Today in Apple history: Scott Forstall gets forced out of Apple

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Forstall
The disastrous Apple Maps showed Scott Forstall the way out of Cupertino.
Photo: Apple

October 29: Today in Apple history: Scott Forstall gets forced out of Apple after disastrous Apple Maps launch October 29, 2012: Scott Forstall, Apple’s senior vice president of iOS software, is ousted from the company after the disastrous Apple Maps launch.

Apple divvies up the roles previously handled by Forstall, who once seemed on a path to the top, among other high-level execs. Jony Ive assumes leadership of the Human Interface team. Craig Federighi becomes head of iOS software. Eddy Cue takes control of Maps and Siri. And Bob Mansfield “unretires” to lead a new technology group.

Today in Apple history: John Sculley bids Apple a $10 million farewell

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Former Apple CEO John Sculley talks at Web Summit 2015 in Dublin, Ireland.
After Steve Jobs and Tim Cook, John Sculley is Apple's most memorable CEO.
Photo: Web Summit/Flickr CC

October 15: Today in Apple history: CEO John Sculley forced out of Apple October 15, 1993: John Sculley, the CEO responsible for forcing Steve Jobs out of Apple, is forced to leave the company himself.

Following a terrible quarter, in which the company posted a 97% drop in earnings, Sculley steps down as Apple chairman. He takes $1 million in severance pay, a one-year consulting fee of $750,000, a commitment from Apple to buy his $4 million mansion and $2 million Lear jet, and $2.4 million in stock options. Total take: around $10 million.

Today in Apple history: Tim Cook becomes Apple’s chief operating officer

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Cook
Tim Cook was on his way to the top spot at Apple.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

October 14: Today in Apple history October 14, 2005: Tim Cook takes the reins as Apple’s chief operating officer, continuing an upward climb through the company’s ranks that will make him CEO less than six years later.

“Tim and I have worked together for over seven years now, and I am looking forward to working even more closely with him to help Apple reach some exciting goals during the coming years,” Steve Jobs says in a statement.