Apple Reviews Possible Action Against Jobs

Wall Street Journal

Sep 19, 1985

Cupertino, Calif. -- Apple Computer Inc. said it received Steven P. Jobs's letter of resignation and is reviewing what, if any, actions it may take against its former chairman and co-founder.

A spokeswoman said that directors were discussing Mr. Jobs's resignation. It is unclear when his resignation becomes effective -- though his letter said it was "immediate." Also unclear is whether Mr. Jobs, with a 9% stake, Apple's largest individual shareholder, will remain a director.

Apple hasn't moved to call a special board meeting yet, but is expected to do so soon to discuss the terms of Mr. Jobs's departure and to consider naming a successor. The spokeswoman said an acting chairman hasn't been named.

Mr. Jobs, who was ousted from day-to-day responsibilities from Apple four months ago, resigned as chairman in a letter that accused Apple's top management of taking "a hostile posture" toward him. His departure came less than a week after he had informed the board that he intended to start a new computer company and had hired away five Apple employees.

But since orchestrating the highly unorthodox announcement of his resignation late Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Jobs has refused to comment further.

The 30-year-old former chairman released a copy of his letter of resignation Tuesday night to several newspapers, including this one, before delivering it to Apple's vice chairman, A.C. Markkula Jr.

Details about Mr. Jobs's new venture remain sketchy. One source who talked with the former chairman after his resignation said that the new company "doesn't have a name, a business plan or anything at this point. This talk about Apple taking legal action against Steve may just be saber-rattling."

Tuesday night, after learning of Mr. Jobs's letter, the company issued a statement that said the board is "evaluating what possible actions should be taken to assure protection of Apple's technology and assets."

Apple officials were said to have been stunned last Friday when Mr. Jobs told them he was recruiting the five Apple employees for his new venture, which plans to make computers for universities -- one of Apple's faster-growing markets. An Apple director who declined to be identified said that Mr. Jobs had tried to "deceive" the board about his intentions when he first announced them last Thursday.

Mr. Jobs denied that.

Company officials were said to have been especially angered when they learned that the five employees Mr. Jobs hired included engineers privy to important Apple research products. Company officials are believed to be looking into possible legal action.

In national over-the-counter trading yesterday, Apple's shares closed at $16.25, up $1.

Computer-industry analysts attributed the gain largely to comments by Apple officials earlier this week that the personal-computer maker had surprisingly strong sales in July and August and that back-to-school sales were gaining momentum.

Copyright Dow Jones & Company Inc