Steve Jobs’ Resignation Letters, In 1985 and 2011, Are Some Of The Best Ever

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Aug 24 2014
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Apple was founded by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne on April 1, 1976, to develop and sell personal computers.  It was then incorporated as Apple Computer, Inc. on January 3, 1977; subsequently renamed as Apple Inc. on January 9, 2007. As of today, the company has a market capitalization of a mind-boggling US$606 billion (£365 billion; RM1,915 billion).

Apple - Steve Jobs, John Scully, Steve Wozniak

However, nine years after he had started the company with his friend Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs resigned as chairman of Apple Computer. While the company’s Apple II, designed largely by Steve Wozniak and debuted in 1977, had been hugely profitable, Jobs’ baby Macintosh was not selling well. And things started to get from bad to worse.

Apple - Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak

Jobs began openly clashing with John Sculley, the CEO Jobs himself had lured away from Pepsi just a few years earlier, and in May Sculley stripped Jobs of his managerial duties, giving him a position as merely Chairman. After the demotion, Jobs spent four months trying to figure out his next move. He resigned, and below was his resignation letter almost 30-years ago.

Steve Jobs - The Fall from Apple - 1985


September 17, 1985


Dear Mike:

This morning’ s papers carried suggestions that Apple is considering removing me as Chairman. I don’t know the source of these reports but they are both misleading to the public and unfair to me.


You will recall that at last Thursday’s Board meeting I stated I had decided to start a new venture and I tendered my resignation as Chairman.


The Board declined to accept my resignation and asked me to defer it for a week. I agreed to do so in light of the encouragement the Board offered with regard to the proposed new venture and the indications that Apple would invest in it. On Friday, after I told John Sculley who would be joining me, he confirmed Apple’s willingness to discuss areas of possible collaboration between Apple and my new venture.


Subsequently the Company appears to be adopting a hostile posture toward me and the new venture. Accordingly, I must insist upon the immediate acceptance of my resignation. I would hope that in any public statement it feels it must issue, the company will make it clear that the decision to resign as Chairman was mine. I find myself both saddened and perplexed by the management’s conduct in this matter which seems to me contrary to Apple’s best interest. Those interests remain a matter of deep concern to me, both because of my past association with Apple and the substantial investment I retain in it.


I continue to hope that calmer voices within the Company may yet be heard. Some Company representatives have said they fear I will use proprietary Apple technology in my new venture. There is no basis for any such concern. If that concern is the real source of Apple’s hostility to the venture, I can allay it.


As you know, the company’s recent reorganization left me with no work to do and no access even to regular management reports. I am but 30 and want still to contribute and achieve.


After what we have accomplished together, I would wish our parting to be both amicable and dignified.


Yours sincerely,

Steven P. Jobs


Apple Steve Jobs hugging Macintosh

After his resignation, Steve Jobs launched another company – NeXT Inc. with the intention of providing powerful computers for higher education, business, and research purposes. NeXT computers only managed about 50,000 units in sales. But it was its innovative object-oriented NeXTSTEP operating system and development environment which were influential.

Steve Jobs - NeXT Computer - 1985

Nevertheless, Steve Jobs successfully convinced Apple to purchased NeXT on 20 December, 1996 for US$429 million and 1.5 million shares of Apple stock. NeXT computer was the same workstation that Tim Berners-Lee used to invent World Wide Web, or today’s internet. Popular games such as Doom, Doom II and Quake were also developed using NeXT computers.

Steve Jobs - Putting Wow - Newsweek and Inc Magazine

Jobs returned to Apple when the company he founded was at its worst quarters on record. The board of directors ousted CEO Gil Amelio and Jobs agreed to take the helm in an interim capacity while they searched for a new CEO. In 1997, twelve years after he was forced to leave, Steve Jobs was back as CEO, permanently. Eventually, NeXTSTEP became Apple’s OS X and iOS operating system.

Apple Steve Jobs Think Differently

Unfortunately, great man die young, and the legendary Steve Jobs’ drafted his resignation letter (below) before he passed away at his Palo Alto, California home around 3 p.m. on October 5, 2011,  due to complications from a relapse of his previously treated islet-cell neuroendocrine pancreatic cancer. Both his resignation letters, first in 1985 and the second 26-years thereafter, before his death, are some of the best resignation letters ever.

Apple - Steve Jobs - Died 1955-2011


August 24, 2011


Letter from Steve Jobs


To the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community:

I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.

I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.

As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.

I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.

I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.



Apple - Steve Jobs - Evolution


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