Jobs Calls Apple Suit 'a Shock'

By Andrew Pollack
Special to the New York Times

Woodside, Calif. -- September 24, 1985 -- Steven P. Jobs, the former chairman of Apple Inc. said today that a lawsuit Apple filed against him over his attempt to set up a new computer company was ''absurd and a shock.'' He said he had offered to agree in writing that his new company would not hire masses of Apple employees or use Apple's proprietary technology.

The suit, filed Monday, accused him of misappropriating Apple secrets and of breaching his fiduciary responsibility by plotting to form a new company and recruiting selected employees while still the chairman of Apple's board of directors. Mr. Jobs resigned as chairman last week after the dispute broke out.

To defend himself, Mr. Jobs today called reporters to his spacious but sparsely furnished mansion in the hills south of San Francisco. ''When someone calls you a thief publicly, there's just a time to say something,'' he said.

Mr. Jobs said that he and Apple had negotiated all last week in an attempt to come to some terms that would allow him to start his new company. ''We spent hour upon hour upon hour with them and as of Friday evening, we thought we had reached an agreement,'' he said.

The 'Hot Buttons'

Mr. Jobs said he had tried to address in those meetings what he thought were Apple's ''hot buttons,'' or main concerns - namely, that he would recruit other Apple employees for his new venture and that his new company would use proprietary Apple technology.

He said he had offered to agree in writing that his new company, which is expected to be called Next Inc., would not use any of seven technologies specified by Apple in a list it gave to him last week. He also said he had volunteered to agree in writing not to solicit any additional Apple employees to join his new company for a year and not to hire any Apple employees who approached the new company on their own for six months. Five Apple employees have already resigned to join Mr. Jobs's new company.

'Another Agenda'

''We went five miles further than anyone would expect,'' he said. He said the fact that Apple had filed suit despite his assurances, indicated that Apple must have ''another agenda.'' He said: ''We don't know what it is. Maybe they want to parade us through the square without any clothes on.'' Mr. Jobs, who is 30 years old, said he would like to settle out of court, but the chances seem slim.

Albert A. Eisenstat, vice president and general counsel of Apple, declined to comment today on Mr. Jobs's assertions. ''I don't want to fight this thing in the press,'' he said.

Mr. Eisenstat reiterated statements he made Monday that Apple did not file the suit lightly and did so only after it seemed that negotiations with Mr. Jobs were failing to make any progress. Asked about prospects for an out-of-court settlement, Mr. Eisenstat said, ''In a large part, it depends on Steve Jobs.''

In the lawsuit filed in Superior Court in Santa Clara County, Calif., Monday, Apple also said Mr. Jobs's company was planning to build a new computer that would use technology that was being developed for Apple by Richard A. Page, an Apple engineer who was one of the five employees to resign to join Mr. Jobs. Mr. Page was also named in the suit.

Apple also said Mr. Jobs had sold a large block of his Apple stock without disclosing his intention to start a competing business. The lawsuit asks for at least $5 million in damages and seeks to prevent Mr. Jobs from using Apple technology or luring away more Apple employees to gain Apple's proprietary information.

'Courseware' Computers

Mr. Jobs, who was a co-founder of Apple, said that his new company's plans are not well defined but that he wants to build powerful computers for educational purposes that would deliver new kinds of computer instruction, or ''courseware.''

In choosing to start a new company, Mr. Jobs, a college dropout, said he had rejected the options of becoming a politician or going back to school.

Mr. Jobs said he still wishes Apple well and said he thought he had acted with restraint, given that he was relieved of all operating duties in May.

CORRECTION-DATE: October 9, 1985, Wednesday, Late City Final Edition

CORRECTION: An article and a headline in Business Day on Sept. 25 about Steven P. Jobs, former chairman of Apple Computer, erroneously punctuated a description of Mr. Job's reaction to a suit filed against him by Apple. He expressed shock but did not use the use and it should not have appeared in quotation marks.

Copyright 1985 The New York Times Company