Steve Wozniak Discusses Steve Jobs Movie, Says Jobs Left Apple, Wasn't Pushed Out

Steve Wozniak Discusses Steve Jobs Movie, Says Jobs Left Apple, Wasn't Pushed Out

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Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has posted some interesting commentary on the Steve Jobs movie and what happened at Apple leading up to Steve Jobs departure.

Notably, Wozniak says Steve Jobs wasn't fired. Rather, he left.

The comments from Woz were made in reply to a Facebook post by Robert Scoble.

Steve Wozniak Discusses Steve Jobs Movie, Says Jobs Left Apple, Wasn't Pushed Out

The thread is ongoing but here are some of Woz's replies...

One thing nobody likes to point out is that John Sculley himself, as well as almost all of us at Apple, believed that the Macintosh was Apple's future. We all sacrificed the growing personal computer market (10x over a decade and MS got all the growth) in this belief. We (Sculley leading) had to work very hard for 3 years to make the Macintosh as successful (in dollars) as the Apple ][ had ever been, following Jobs' vision. The choices can be argued because you can never go back and say what decisions would have what results, but it was a business decision to SAVE Apple as a company, after the stock dropped by a third in about a day when the Macintosh failed to sell due to not much software. Steve Jobs wasn't pushed out of the company. He left. I supported him in his belief that he was made to create computers. But up until then he'd only had failures at creation. He was great at productizing and marketing the Apple ][ and the revenues financed the failures Apple ///, LISA, Macintosh and NeXT. This is not shown in the movie. After the Macintosh failure it's fair to assume that Jobs' left out of his feeling of greatness, and embarrassment about not having achieved it. That is not shown either. This movie is more about Steve Jobs inside, his non-feeling about a lot of things including how others thought of him, and some pushes to reform that in the end.

When we started Apple, for real with money, I made the decision to be an engineer in the lab, for life. I did not want the conflict and politics of running the business. Hence, I did not see Jobs' reactions to when things didn't go his way. Pretty much everything we touched or tried was gold and it was hard to have things not go your way often in those times. Jobs would get into discussions but he was almost always the smartest person with the most thought out arguments and reasoning. The LISA cost too much when Jobs thought we could pull off some Woz Magic and make it cost very little. That's only because Steve didn't know computers and what it would take to make the right good machine. So it wasn't that things didn't go his way other than that his idea hadn't panned out. In that case, he blamed the LISA team. Never himself. The right move of an executive would have been to keep the LISA secret, inside, until RAM prices dropped 10x, after maybe 5 years or so. But Steve felt it was the fault of lousy engineers who couldn't find shortcuts. He would walk into meetings and tell engineers and teams that they were idiots and walk out. He then took over our Macintosh project because we had the few most creative sorts in the company, and headed it to being a low-cost LISA. He had the benefit of extra years for RAM prices to fall. Every penny had to be saved, as it still came out a bit on the expensive side. Color was out. Cleverness allowed it to use less RAM and more ROM and more floppy to save money. It had a disk file system but not a full general OS. Just a program to 'look like' a mouse-based computer was all Steve wanted, largely because his technical knowledge was low, on what an OS was about. The machine just had to look the way he wanted so he didn't listen to others. The creative engineers put in a test port that could allow expansion but Jobs got wind of it and cancelled that, as it was openness. He continually fought the open/closed battle probably due to having lost it (with myself) on the Apple ][. I owned the Apple ][ and just told him to go get another computer if he wanted only 2 slots for a printer and modem (which he understood) instead of 8 useful ones. Kind of "my way or the highway" I told him. From some point on he was never going to be out of control of things.

Actually, it took a long time to become visionary in any execution sense. He tried to prove himself as #1 and rushed into bad decisions but took on the role of speaking to the press and learned to speak elegantly. But he failed with the Apple /// (marketing mistakes and production mistakes, his), then the LISA (he didn't understand what it would cost for a good computer designed by smart people) and the Macintosh (trying to rush to his greatness before having a sellable product). But he convinced the rest of us that this was ultimately the right direction. In fact, due to us betting our future on the Macintosh (and Sculley accomplished the necessary 3-5 year marketing job to eventually make it as successful as the Apple ][ but not more) we lost the 10x growth in worldwide marketshare to MS. They got all the growth. But Apple would survive for a very long time on its revenues and savings. When Steve returned to Apple he still had the drive to be known for the best products but he was more patient and tempered and could execute and manage well. But it took a long time, over a decade, for this to happen. After Steve returned he blocked leaks that were hurting us (great move that hadn't been done by others) and kept Apple in good shape while working on great new products but not releasing any old junk. This is admirable and to some extent (secrecy) it took a bit of his Machiavellian approach that Donald Trump would be proud of.

The movie was about Jobs internal personality, not much about his business failings. He got credit for the Apple ][ for 7 years and that's about it. A lot of people wanted the GUI vision, represented by the Macintosh, to be more important than profits and Apple's survival and took his side, but they don't know the real facts. This movie has a great dialog scene between Sculley and Jobs, but it's fabricated based on what the realities were. At least in the movie they do have Joanna Hoffman saying that the Macintosh had no software solutions, and also that NeXT was in competition with Apple in some ways, although I myself really thought that it wasn't, and I still don't. NeXT was where Jobs had a chance to learn what a real OS was all about, so he could have come back and apologized for not understanding what the Macintosh should have been (the LISA after RAM prices came down is what Macintosh OS X brought), but I don't recall Jobs ever acknowledging that he was wrong about anything. As I noted, like Donald Trump.

The LISA was the right computer. It was a computer. It was expensive because Jobs didn't see what it cost to make a real computer with those capabilities. The Macintosh didn't even have a real OS until we got OS X. Every time the Macintsosh 'got better' it got closer to what the LISA had been.

Jobs didn't realize what real OS's do, allocating resources and all. So the Macintosh had a flakier version and basically just a lot of API calls to ROM routines to save money (RAM cost). The Macintosh was basically a program, to look like the LISA. A program to simulate a cursor and mouse and all, but not cleanly scalable.

NoGoodNick - September 15, 2015 at 8:55pm
There are lots of ways to be 'forced out'. You can call it whatever you want, but the idea was that Apple didn't want him, and they wanted him gone. If the former owner is willing to accept a job as a mail clerk, that's his choice, but the rest of us realize what that means (it means that Steve accepted a lesser role and never complained about it).
MikeD - September 15, 2015 at 7:53am
If it wasn't for Woz, Jobs would never have had a computer to sell in the first place. It wasn't the computers that saved and made apple what it is today It was the iPod and later the iPhone
Steve - September 14, 2015 at 8:14pm
If woz didn't want to be involved in the politics of running the company, why is he getting involved in those politics now?
Wiz - September 14, 2015 at 8:56pm
Because they come to his and says his experience or from what he thought happened.
Wiz - September 14, 2015 at 8:57pm
They come to him I mean because they want to know how movie relates to his life. The critics or paparazzi people.
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