Apple may be the most valuable brand in the world today, but back in 1984 it was going through a crisis.
Its top product, the Mac, wasn’t selling well, and by 1985 the company’s stock had hit new lows.
Steve Wozniak, a longtime friend of Steve Jobs and co-founder of Apple, recently shared some insight as to why the company’s earliest products failed and the mistakes Jobs made back then.
According to Wozniak, Jobs wasn’t willing to accept that the Lisa computer was too expensive to make, and in turn he blamed Apple’s engineers.
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.
There are three mistakes Jobs made at Apple when developing the Apple III, the Lisa, and the Macintosh, Wozniak writes:
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.
Although many depictions of Apple’s history suggest that Jobs was pushed out of Apple by John Sculley, who led Apple as its CEO from 1983 to 1993, Wozniak says Jobs left the company on his own. After Apple’s board voted to remove Jobs from his position at the head of Apple’s Macintosh team, he left the company out of shame, says Wozniak:
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…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.
This side of Jobs isn’t shown in the new film written by Aaron Sorkin and directed by Danny Boyle, according to the Apple co-founder:
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.