January 7, 1997 Steve Wozniak is returning to Apple to take on an advisory role, reuniting with co-founder Steve Jobs on the stage of the Macworld Expo.
Woz’s return home was revealed at the end of the Macworld conference. With Jobs’ recent return to Apple (thanks to the acquisition of NeXT), it’s the first time the two co-founders have been together at Apple since 1983. It’s a great way to celebrate Apple’s 20th anniversary. Unfortunately, that doesn’t last.
Reunion of the band
As I wrote in “Today in the History of Apple”, Woz’s interest in Apple was concentrated mainly on Apple II and the days before Apple became a giant company. While Jobs sought more power after Apple went public in December 1980, Wozniak took the $ 116 million he earned in an IPO and explored new ventures. That included everything from getting a degree in computer science that he never got to raising children and promoting several giant music festivals.
By 1997, Woz’s favorite Apple II product line had been out of order for about four years, and the Macintosh had long since taken over. Apple continued to fight. But the reunion of the two co-founders has given loyal fans something they can be optimistic about.
At the time, Jobs recently joined Apple as part of the NeXT acquisition, giving Apple a new operating system. Like Woza, Jobs was to be nothing more than an unofficial adviser to CEO Gil Amelia. (Jobs eventually ended his role in replacing Amelia as CEO.)
When Woz and Jobs appeared on stage at Macworld, the reunion provided exactly what the event needed. Amelio, never a polished speaker, spoke for hours in a messy, unexciting way before finally bringing the co-founders to the stage.
Jobs, however, spoiled the moment a bit by refusing to fully join the triumphant scene. “He ruthlessly ruined the final moment I had planned,” Amelio complained later.
Woz and Jobs: A Short Return
As that moment suggested, Woz’s return to Apple didn’t take long. Woz was full of ideas to revive the company (such as the effort to expand its focus on the education market and the production of easy-to-use machines). However, Jobs clearly saw his return as a stand-alone show, not half a double act.
After Amelio lost his job in July, Jobs forced CFO Fred Anderson to call Wozniak and tell him he was no longer needed in the role of advisor.
Although it sounds brutal, it may have been the best. Jobs proved to be more than capable of reversing Apple with his own ideas. Moreover, Woz did not fully agree with Jobs’ approach.
“To be honest, I’ve never been so crazy about iMacs,” Woz wrote of the iMac G3, the computer that helped get Apple back on the path to success, in his biography. “I doubted his one-piece design. I didn’t care for his colors and I didn’t think he looked that good. It turns out I’m just not the right customer for it. “
Wozniak’s return did not turn out as many had hoped. Still, for those watching the Macworld Expo, it was a moment they enjoyed!
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