It's Final - Apple Chairman Resigns

John Eckhouse
The San Francisco Chronicle

September 20, 1985

It took two attempts, but Apple Computer Inc. finally accepted the resignation of Chairman Steve Jobs yesterday.

Apple said it still may take legal action against Jobs because he started another company and hired away key managers while chairman of the Cupertino-based computer company.

Jobs originally resigned from the company of which he was a co-founder in a letter received by the company late Tuesday night. Apple, acting very cautiously, told Jobs the letter was not acceptable, however.

``It was simply a matter of wording - he did not say he had resigned as a director as well as chairman,'' said Apple spokeswoman Kathleen Dixon. Apple asked Jobs to write another letter of resignation, which he delivered to the company late last night.

``They wanted it clear that in their view he was chairman and director at the time he was making arrangements to start a new company,'' speculated Grover Wickersham, a local securities attorney with many high-tech clients.

After almost a day of behind-the-scenes activity among Apple's top executives, directors and legal advisers, Apple released a two-sentence statement accepting Jobs' resignation yesterday afternoon about 3:30.

``Apple continues to evaluate whether any actions should be taken to assure protection of Apple's interests following Jobs' announcement that he plans to start a new company,'' the statement said. Dixon said the board of directors did not meet or confer by telephone, but declined to say who accepted the resignation.

As reported, corporate lawyers say Apple has a good chance of succeeding should it decide to sue Jobs for violating his responsibilities as an officer of the corporation.

``A corporate director is a fiduciary and responsible for protecting the company and bringing any corporate opportunities to the attention of the board prior to pursuing them himself,'' Wickersham said.

Mike Murray, a former senior Apple manager and close confidant of Jobs, does not expect the company to take any further action toward Jobs.

``I cannot believe Apple is going to get down and sling mud with Steve; it's just not in their corporate interests,'' he said. ``I hope this all passes quickly, like indigestion after a bad meal.''

Jobs could not be reached for comment. In his first letter of resignation he said he felt obliged to leave the company because it had taken a ``hostile posture toward me and the new venture.''

Apparently assuming the hostility resulted from reports he might use proprietary Apple technology at his new company, Jobs said there was no basis for such concern. But Apple directors and executives were far more concerned at Jobs' hiring of five senior managers.

Jobs' new firm, which some sources say has the temporary working name of ``Next,'' is expected to develop a $3000 computer workstation aimed at universities using the Unix operating system software.

Copyright 1985