Apple had had one its most worst quarters ever in the last quarter of 1996 under the leadership of CEO CEO Gil Amelio, with sales that fell 30% below their 1995 level. In Quarter one 1997, Apple lost $700 million, making the total losses under Amelio over $1 billion.
In July, the board of directors, led by Steve Jobs supporter Ed Woolard Junior,fired Amelio and asked Steve Jobs to become the company’s new chairman and CEO. He declined, accepting only to become a member of the board and interim CEO. At the time he was also CEO of Pixar. One of the first deals orchestrated by Jobs was a controversial deal with Microsoft which ended legal action, with Mac versions of Microsoft Office for five years in exchange of making Internet Explorer the default Web browser on the Mac, and a $150 million investment in Apple from Microsoft, in the form of non-voting shares.
In 1997 Jobs met all the product teams at Apple and all of them had to convince him that their product was vital to the company’s strategy and by the end of the process he had cut the number of products from 50 to 10.
Jobs said "What I found when I got here was a zillion and one products. [...] It was amazing. And I started to ask people, why would I recommend a 3400 over a 4400? Or when should somebody jump up to a 6500, but not a 7300? And after three weeks, I couldn’t figure this out! And I figured if I can’t figure it out working inside Apple with all these experts telling me into it, how are our customers going to figure this out?"
Apple would drop its 20+ complex product lines and make just four great products: a consumer desktop, a consumer notebook, a pro desktop and a pro notebook.
Jobs also said "We tend to focus much more. People think focus means saying yes to the thing you've got to focus on. But that's not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I'm actually as proud of many of the things we haven't done as the things we have done." Source: Fortune, March 7 2008 .
"The organization is clean and simple to understand, and very accountable. Everything just got simpler. That's been one of my mantras -- focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it's worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains." Source: Business Week, May 12 1998 |
Summary of the Apple event September 9th 2015 - Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, California