Monday, May 27: Memorial Day was sunny and warm. The Macintosh team loyalists—Debi
Coleman, Mike Murray, Susan Barnes, and Bob Belleville—got to Jobs’s Woodside home an
hour before the scheduled dinner so they could plot strategy. Sitting on the patio as the sun set,
Coleman told Jobs that he should accept Sculley’s offer to be a product visionary and help start up
AppleLabs. Of all the inner circle, Coleman was the most willing to be realistic. In the new organization
plan, Sculley had tapped her to run the manufacturing division because he knew that her loyalty was to
Apple and not just to Jobs. Some of the others were more hawkish.
They wanted to urge Markkula to support a reorganization plan that put Jobs in charge.
When Markkula showed up, he agreed to listen with one proviso: Jobs had to keep quiet.
“I seriously wanted to hear the thoughts of the Macintosh team, not watch Jobs enlist them in a
rebellion,” he recalled. As it turned cooler, they went inside the sparsely furnished mansion and
sat by a fireplace. Instead of letting it turn into a gripe session, Markkula made them focus on
very specific management issues, such as what had caused the problem in producing the
FileServer software and why the Macintosh distribution system had not responded well to
the change in demand. When they were finished, Markkula bluntly declined to back Jobs.
“I said I wouldn’t support his plan, and that was the end of that,” Markkula recalled.
“Sculley was the boss. They were mad and emotional and putting together
a revolt, but that’s not how you do things.”
Tuesday, May 28: His ire stoked by hearing from Markkula that Jobs had spent the
previous evening trying to subvert him, Sculley walked over to Jobs’s office on Tuesday
morning. He had talked to the board, he said, and he had its support. He wanted Jobs out.
Then he drove to Markkula’s house, where he gave a presentation of his reorganization plans.
Markkula asked detailed questions, and at the end he gave Sculley his blessing. When he got
back to his office, Sculley called
the other members
of the board, just to
make sure he still had
their backing. He did.
When Jobs was losing his footing at Apple in the summer of 1985, he went for a
walk with Alan Kay, who had been at Xerox PARC and was then an Apple Fellow.
Kay knew that Jobs was interested in the intersection of creativity and technology,
so he suggested they go see a friend of his, Ed Catmull, who was running the
computer division of George Lucas’s film studio. They rented a limo and rode up to
Marin County to the edge of Lucas’s Skywalker Ranch, where Catmull and his little
computer division were based. “I was blown away, and I came back and tried to
convince Sculley to buy it for Apple,” Jobs recalled. “But the folks running
Apple weren’t interested, and they were busy kicking me out anyway.”
The Lucasfilm computer division made hardware and software for rendering
digital images, and it also had a group of computer animators making shorts,
which was led by a talented cartoon-loving executive named John Lasseter. Lucas,
who had completed his first Star Wars trilogy, was embroiled in a contentious
divorce, and he needed to sell off the division. He told
Catmull to find a buyer as soon as possible.
After a few potential purchasers balked in the fall of 1985, Catmull and his colleague
Alvy Ray Smith decided to seek investors so that they could buy the division
themselves. So they called Jobs, arranged another meeting, and drove down to his
Woodside house. After railing for a while about the perfidies and idiocies of Sculley,
Jobs proposed that he buy their Lucasfilm division outright. Catmull and Smith demurred:
They wanted an investor, not a new owner. But it soon became clear that there
was a middle ground: Jobs could buy a majority of the division and serve as
chairman but allow Catmull and Smith to run it.
“I wanted to buy it because I was really into computer graphics,” Jobs recalled.
“I realized they were way ahead of others in combining art and technology, which
is what I’ve always been interested in.” He offered to pay Lucas $5 million plus
invest another $5 million to capitalize the division as a stand-alone company.
That was far less than Lucas
had been asking,
but the timing was
right. They decided
to negotiate a deal.
Two days later the army of the West was all assembled on the Pelennor.
The host of Orcs and Easterlings had turned back out of Anórien, but harried and scattered by the Rohirrim they had broken and fled with little fighting towards Cair Andros;
and with that threat destroyed and new strength arriving out of the South the City was as well manned as might be. Scouts reported that no enemies remained upon the roads east as far as the Cross-roads of the Fallen King. All now was ready for the last throw.
Legolas and Gimli were to ride again together in the company of Aragorn and Gandalf, who went in the van with the Dúnedain and the sons of Elrond. But Merry to his shame was not to go with them.
‘You are not fit for such a journey,’ said Aragorn. ‘But do not be ashamed.
If you do no more in this war, you have already earned great honour. Peregrin shall go and represent the Shirefolk; and do not grudge him his chance of peril, for though he has done as well as his fortune allowed him, he has yet to match your deed. But in truth all now are in like danger. Though it may be our part to find bitter end before the Gate of Mordor, if we do so, then you will come also to a last stand, either here or wherever the black tide overtakes you. Farewell!’
And so despondently Merry now stood and watched the mustering of the army. Bergil was with him, and he also was downcast; for his father was to march leading a company of the Men of the City: he could not rejoin the Guard until his case was judged.
In that same company Pippin was also to go, as a soldier of Gondor. Merry could see him not far off, a small but upright figure among the tall men of Minas Tirith.
At last the trumpets rang and the army began to move. Troop by troop, and company by company, they wheeled and went off eastward. And long after they had passed away out of sight down the great road to the Causeway, Merry stood there. The last glint of the morning sun on spear and helm twinkled and was lost, and still he remained with bowed head and heavy heart, feeling friendless and alone. Everyone that he cared for had gone away into the gloom that hung over the distant eastern sky; and little hope at all was left in his heart that he would ever see any of them again.
As if recalled by his mood of despair, the pain in his arm returned, and he felt weak and old, and the sunlight seemed thin. He was roused by the touch of Bergil’s hand.
‘Come, Master Perian!’ said the lad. ‘You are still in pain, I see.
I will help you back to the Healers. But do not fear!
They will come back. The Men of Minas Tirith will never be overcome. And now they have the Lord Elfstone, and Beregond of the Guard too.’
Ere noon the army came to Osgiliath. There all the workers and craftsmen that could be spared were busy. Some were strengthening the ferries and boat-bridges
that the enemy had made and in part destroyed when they fled;
some gathered stores and booty;
and others on the eastern side across the
River were throwing up hasty works of defence.
It was dark and Merry could see nothing as he lay
on the ground rolled in a blanket; yet though the night was airless and windless, all about him hidden trees were sighing softly. He lifted his head. Then he heard it again: a sound like faint drums in the wooded hills and mountain-steps. The throb would cease suddenly and then be taken up again at some other point, now nearer, now further off. He wondered if the watchmen had heard it.
He could not see them, but he knew that all round him were the companies of the Rohirrim. He could smell the horses in the dark, and could hear their shiftings and their soft stamping on the needle-covered ground. The host was bivouacked in the pine-woods that clustered about Eilenach Beacon, a tall hill standing up from the long ridges of the Drúadan Forest that lay beside the great road in East Anórien.
Tired as he was Merry could not sleep. He had ridden now for four days on end, and the ever-deepening gloom had slowly weighed down his heart. He began to wonder why he had been so eager to come, when he had been given every excuse, even his lord’s command, to stay behind. He wondered, too, if the old King knew that he had been disobeyed and was angry. Perhaps not. There seemed to be some understanding between Dernhelm and Elfhelm, the Marshal who commanded the éored in which they were riding. He and all his men ignored Merry and pretended not to hear if he spoke. He might have been just another bag that Dernhelm was carrying. Dernhelm was no comfort: he never spoke to anyone. Merry felt small, unwanted, and lonely. Now the time was anxious, and the host was in peril. They were less than a day’s ride from the out-walls of Minas Tirith that encircled the townlands. Scouts had been sent ahead. Some had not returned. Others hastening back had reported that the road was held in force against them. A host of the enemy was encamped upon it, three miles west of Amon D?n, and some strength of men was already thrusting along the road and was no more than three leagues away. Orcs were roving in the hills and woods along the roadside. The king and ?omer held council in the watches of the night.
Merry wanted somebody to talk to, and he thought of Pippin. But that only increased his restlessness. Poor Pippin, shut up in the great city of stone, lonely and afraid. Merry wished he was a tall Rider like ?omer and could blow a horn or something and go galloping to his rescue. He sat up, listening to the drums that were beating again, now nearer at hand. Presently he heard voices speaking low, and he saw dim half-shrouded lanterns passing through the trees. Men nearby began to move uncertainly in the dark.
A tall figure loomed up and stumbled over him,
cursing the tree-roots. He recognized the voice of the Marshal, Elfhelm.
‘I am not a tree-root, Sir,’ he said, ‘nor a bag,
but a bruised hobbit.
The least you can do in amends is to tell me what is afoot.’
Pippin looked out from the shelter of Gandalf’s cloak.
He wondered if he was awake or still sleeping, still in the swift-moving dream in which he had been wrapped so long since the great ride began. The dark world was rushing by and the wind sang loudly in his ears. He could see nothing but the wheeling stars,
and away to his right vast shadows against the sky where the mountains of the South marched past. Sleepily he tried to reckon the times and stages of their journey, but his memory was drowsy and uncertain.
There had been the first ride at terrible speed without a halt, and then in the dawn he had seen a pale gleam of gold, and they had come to the silent town and the great empty house on the hill. And hardly had they reached its shelter when the winged shadow had passed over once again, and men wilted with fear. But Gandalf had spoken soft words to him, and he had slept in a corner, tired but uneasy, dimly aware of comings and goings and of men talking and Gandalf giving orders. And then again riding, riding in the night. This was the second, no, the third night since he had looked in the Stone. And with that hideous memory he woke fully, and shivered, and the noise of the wind became filled with menacing voices.
A light kindled in the sky, a blaze of yellow fire behind dark barriers Pippin cowered back, afraid for a moment, wondering into what dreadful country Gandalf was bearing him. He rubbed his eyes, and then he saw that it was the moon rising above the eastern shadows, now almost at the full. So the night was not yet old and for hours the dark journey would go on. He stirred and spoke.
‘Where are we, Gandalf?’ he asked.
‘In the realm of Gondor,’ the wizard answered. ‘The land of Anórien is still passing by.’
There was a silence again for a while. Then, ‘What is that?’ CRIed Pippin suddenly, clutching at Gandalf’s cloak. ‘Look!
Fire, red fire!
Are there dragons in this land?
Look, there is another!’
For answer Gandalf CRIed aloud to his horse. ‘On, Shadowfax!
We must hasten. Time is short. See!
The beacons of Gondor are alight, calling for aid. War is kindled. See, there is the fire on Amon D?n, and flame on Eilenach; and there they go speeding west: Nardol, Erelas, Min-Rimmon, Calenhad, and the Halifirien on the borders of Rohan.’
But Shadowfax paused in his stride, slowing to a walk, and then he lifted up his head and neighed. And out of the darkness the answering neigh of other horses came; and presently the thudding of hoofs was heard, and three riders swept up and passed like flying ghosts in the moon and vanished into the West. Then Shadowfax gathered himself together and sprang away, and the night flowed over him like a roaring wind.
Pippin became drowsy again and paid little attention to Gandalf telling him of the customs of Gondor, and how the Lord of the City had beacons built on the tops of outlying hills along both borders of the great range, and maintained posts at these points where fresh horses were always in readiness to bear his errand-riders to Rohan in the North,
or to Belfalas in the South.
‘It is long since the beacons of the North were lit,’ he said; ‘
and in the ancient days of Gondor they were not needed,
for they had the Seven Stones.’ Pippin stirred uneasily.
If Jobs was prepping for conciliation, it didn’t show in the choice of
movie he wanted to see with Murray that night. He picked Patton,
the epic of the never-surrender general. But he had lent his copy of
the tape to his father, who had once ferried troops for the general,
so he drove to his childhood home with Murray to retrieve it. His
parents weren’t there, and he didn’t have a key. They walked around
the back, checked for unlocked doors or windows, and finally gave up.
The video store didn’t have a copy of Patton in stock, so in the end
he had to settle for watching the 1983 film
adaptation of Harold Pinter’s Betrayal.
Sunday, May 26: As planned, Jobs and Sculley met in back of the Stanford
campus on Sunday afternoon and walked for several hours amid the rolling
hills and horse pastures. Jobs reiterated his plea that he should have an
operational role at Apple. This time Sculley stood firm. It won’t work, he
kept saying. Sculley urged him to take the role of being a product visionary
with a lab of his own, but Jobs rejected this as making him into a mere
“figurehead.” Defying all connection to reality, he countered with the proposal
that Sculley give up control of the entire company to him. “Why don’t you
become chairman and I’ll become president and chief executive officer?”
he suggested. Sculley was struck by how earnest he seemed.
“Steve, that doesn’t make any sense,” Sculley replied. Jobs then proposed
that they split the duties of running the company, with him handling the
product side and Sculley handling marketing and business. But the board
had not only emboldened Sculley, it had ordered him to bring Jobs to heel.
“One person has got to run the company,” he replied.
“I’ve got the support and you don’t.”
On his way home, Jobs stopped at Mike Markkula’s house. He wasn’t
there, so Jobs left a message asking him to come to dinner the
following evening. He would also invite the core of loyalists from his
Macintosh team. He hoped that
they could persuade
Markkula of the folly
of siding with Sculley.
Sculley’s wife was surprised to see him back in the middle of the day.
“I’ve failed,” he said to her forlornly. She was a volatile woman who had
never liked Jobs or appreciated her husband’s infatuation with him. So
when she heard what had happened, she jumped into her car and sped
over to Jobs’s office. Informed that he had gone to the Good Earth
restaurant, she marched over there and confronted him in the parking
lot as he was coming out with loyalists on his Macintosh team.
“Steve, can I talk to you?” she said. His jaw dropped. “Do you have any
idea what a privilege it has been even to know someone as fine as John
Sculley?” she demanded. He averted his gaze. “Can’t you look me in the
eyes when I’m talking to you?” she asked. But when Jobs did so—giving
her his practiced, unblinking stare—she recoiled. “Never mind, don’t look
at me,” she said. “When I look into most people’s eyes, I see a soul.
When I look into your eyes, I see a bottomless pit, an empty hole,
a dead zone.” Then she walked away.
Saturday, May 25: Mike Murray drove to Jobs’s house in Woodside to
offer some advice: He should consider accepting the role of being a new
product visionary, starting AppleLabs, and getting away from headquarters.
Jobs seemed willing to consider it. But first he would have to restore peace
with Sculley. So he picked up the telephone and surprised Sculley with an
olive branch. Could they meet the following afternoon, Jobs asked, and
take a walk together in the hills above Stanford University. They had
walked there in the past, in happier times, and maybe on such a
walk they could work things out.
Jobs did not know that Sculley had told Eisenstat he wanted to quit,
but by then it didn’t matter. Overnight, he had changed his mind and
decided to stay. Despite the blowup the day before,
he was still eager
for Jobs to like him.
So he agreed to meet
the next afternoon.
Suddenly the frozen onlookers began to squirm. Del Yocam had to go first.
He said he loved Jobs, wanted him to continue to play some role in the company,
but he worked up the nerve to conclude, with Jobs staring at him, that he
“respected” Sculley and would support him to run the company. Eisenstat faced
Jobs directly and said much the same thing: He liked Jobs but was supporting
Sculley. Regis McKenna, who sat in on senior staff meetings as an outside consultant,
was more direct. He looked at Jobs and told him he was not yet ready to run the
company, something he had told him before. Others sided with Sculley as well. For Bill
Campbell, it was particularly tough. He was fond of Jobs and didn’t particularly like
Sculley. His voice quavered a bit as he told Jobs he had decided to support Sculley,
and he urged the two of them to work it out and find some role for Jobs to play
in the company. “You can’t let Steve leave this company,” he told Sculley.
Jobs looked shattered. “I guess I know where things stand,”
he said, and bolted out of the room. No one followed.
He went back to his office, gathered his longtime loyalists on the Macintosh
staff, and started to cry. He would have to leave Apple, he said. As he started
to walk out the door, Debi Coleman restrained him. She and the others urged
him to settle down and not do anything hasty. He should take the weekend to
regroup. Perhaps there was a way to prevent the company from being torn apart.
Sculley was devastated by his victory. Like a wounded warrior, he retreated to
Eisenstat’s office and asked the corporate counsel to go for a ride. When they
got into Eisenstat’s Porsche, Sculley lamented, “I don’t know whether I can go
through with this.” When Eisenstat asked what he meant, Sculley
responded, “I think I’m going to resign.”
“You can’t,” Eisenstat protested. “Apple will fall apart.”
“I’m going to resign,” Sculley declared. “I don’t
think I’m right for the company.”
“I think you’re copping out,” Eisenstat replied.
“You’ve got to
stand up to him.”
Then he drove
That evening Apple’s general counsel Al Eisenstat had a small barbecue at
his home for Sculley, Gassée, and their wives. When Gassée told Eisenstat
what Jobs was plotting, he recommended that Gassée inform Sculley.
“Steve was trying to raise a cabal and have a coup to get rid of John,”
Gassée recalled. “In the den of Al Eisenstat’s house, I put my index finger
lightly on John’s breastbone and said, ‘If you leave tomorrow for
China, you could be ousted. Steve’s plotting to get rid of you.’”
Friday, May 24: Sculley canceled his trip and decided to confront Jobs at the
executive staff meeting on Friday morning. Jobs arrived late, and he saw
that his usual seat next to Sculley, who sat at the head of the table, was
taken. He sat instead at the far end. He was dressed in a well-tailored suit
and looked energized. Sculley looked pale. He announced that he was
dispensing with the agenda to confront the issue on everyone’s mind.
“It’s come to my attention that you’d like to throw me out of the company,”
he said, looking directly at Jobs. “I’d like to ask you if that’s true.”
Jobs was not expecting this. But he was never shy about indulging in
brutal honesty. His eyes narrowed, and he fixed Sculley with his unblinking
stare. “I think you’re bad for Apple, and I think you’re the wrong person
to run the company,” he replied, coldly and slowly. “You really should leave
this company. You don’t know how to operate and never have.” He accused
Sculley of not understanding the product development process, and then
he added a self-centered swipe: “I wanted you here to help me grow,
and you’ve been ineffective in helping me.”
As the rest of the room sat frozen, Sculley finally lost his temper. A
childhood stutter that had not afflicted him for twenty years started to
return. “I don’t trust you, and I won’t tolerate a lack of trust,” he stammered.
When Jobs claimed that he would be better than Sculley at running the
company, Sculley took a gamble. He decided to poll the room on that question
. “He pulled off this clever maneuver,” Jobs recalled, still smarting thirty-five
years later. “It was at the executive committee meeting, and he said,
‘It’s me or Steve, who do you vote for?’
He set the whole
thing up so that you’d
kind of have to be an
idiot to vote for me.”
That night Jobs took his Macintosh team out to dinner at Nina’s Café in
Woodside. Jean-Louis Gassée was in town because Sculley wanted him
to prepare to take over the Macintosh division, and Jobs invited him to
join them. Belleville proposed a toast “to those of us who really understand
what the world according to Steve Jobs is all about.” That phrase—“the world
according to Steve”—had been used dismissively by others at Apple who
belittled the reality warp he created. After the others left, Belleville sat with
Jobs in his Mercedes and urged him to
organize a battle to the death with Sculley.
Months earlier, Apple had gotten the right to export computers to China,
and Jobs had been invited to sign a deal in the Great Hall of the People over
the 1985 Memorial Day weekend. He had told Sculley, who decided he wanted
to go himself, which was just fine with Jobs. Jobs decided to use Sculley’s absence
to execute his coup. Throughout the week leading up to Memorial Day,
he took a lot of people on walks to share his plans. “I’m going to launch a
coup while John is in China,” he told Mike Murray.
Seven Days in May
Thursday, May 23: At his regular Thursday meeting with his top lieutenants
in the Macintosh division, Jobs told his inner circle about his plan to oust Sculley.
He also confided in the corporate human resources director, Jay Elliot, who
told him bluntly that the proposed rebellion wouldn’t work. Elliot had talked
to some board members and urged them to stand up for Jobs, but he
discovered that most of the board was with Sculley, as were most members of
Apple’s senior staff. Yet Jobs barreled ahead. He even revealed his plans to
Gassée on a walk around the parking lot, despite the fact that Gassée had come from
Paris to take his job.
“I made the mistake of telling
Gassée,” Jobs wryly
conceded years later.