Jobs' Departure Won't Affect Apple / Analysts Foresee No Problems
The San Francisco Chronicle
September 19, 1985
Industry analysts said yesterday they do not expect the resignation of Apple Computer Inc. Chairman Steve Jobs to have much of an impact on the Cupertino company.
Jobs' departure was expected, and he had little influence at Apple since losing his day-to-day management role in a power struggle last May, observers said.
``They are so set in terms of product development it's not going to have any effect for years,'' said Michael Murphy, editor of the California Technology Stock Letter.
Industry veterans said, however, it appeared likely that the proposed computer for universities of Jobs' newly formed company would conflict with Apple products.
In its edition today, Computer Industry Daily will report that Jobs plans to build a $3000 computer workstation using the UNIX operating system, a type of software not used by Apple machines. ``At that price and in that market it will be a machine that will compete with Apple's Macintosh,'' said an industry source.
Apple refused to comment on Jobs or even to say whether the board had accepted his resignation. An Apple spokeswoman promised a statement ``soon.''
Jobs announced his decision to leave the company that he co-founded nine years ago by informing a select group of reporters late Tuesday of a letter of resignation sent to Apple's vice chairman, A. C. (Mike) Markkula.
Jobs said he felt compelled to resign immediately because Apple seemed to be ``adopting a hostile posture'' toward him and the new computer company he plans to start. He said he was ``both saddened and perplexed'' by Apple management.
Though his departure seemed inevitable when Jobs lost a boardroom battle with Apple President John Sculley in May, events last weekend sealed his fate. Speculation that directors might try to remove Jobs as chairman rose after he announced the formation of his new company Thursday and said Friday that five key Apple managers planned to join him.
Jobs said he offered to quit at Apple's regular board meeting last Thursday, but the board declined to accept the resignation and even indicated it would invest in the company.
But a short statement issued by Markkula said that Jobs pledged to quit at a later date if the board felt there was a conflict of interest. ``On the basis of that the board did not ask for his resignation,'' Markkula said.
Observers expect that Jobs will recruit more Apple employees who worked closely with him in the past.
``We're pretty upset that he's taking people with him and the fear today is that maybe he's taking technology with him,'' said one mid-level Apple manager.
Jobs could not be reached for comment. Operators at Apple said he no longer has an office there and he did not return several telephoned messages at his Woodside home.
Apple's stock climbed $1 to $16.25 yesterday in over-the-counter trading, but analysts said that was more in reaction to new peripheral products announced Tuesday than in connection to the resignation of Jobs.
``People reassessed what Jobs was up to and concluded that even under the best of circumstances it will take a long time for him to build a product that will shake Apple,'' said Aharon Orlansky, research director at Hogut, Muzinich & Keller. ``Apple is not threatened and the stock shouldn't react.''
Jobs still could drive down Apple's shares if he decides to unload his remaining 5.5 million shares in the company. Jobs sold 1.35 million shares this fall and was precluded from selling more shares until January by Securities and Exchange Commission rules. But his departure might free him from that restriction.
In his letter, Jobs indicated he wanted to start a new venture because he no longer was allowed to contribute much at Apple.
``As you know, the company's recent reorganization left me with no work to do and no access even to regular management reports,'' he wrote. ``I am but 30 and want still to contribute and achieve.''