If we were believers in numerology,* we might ascribe some significance to today's reports that sales of the iPhone 6 appear to have exceeded Apple's wildest expectations. September 16 isn't just a day that an analyst is saying things like "These are good times for Apple," it's the date, in 1985, that Steve Jobs was shoved aside by the company — and the date in 1997 that he returned.
Jobs, who as you of course know co-founded Apple in 1976, had been stripped of all his responsibilities and was given an office that he referred to as 'Siberia' by the spring of 1985. This was after years of clashes with former Pepsi head John Sculley, who'd been brought on by the company's board as CEO in 1981, as 20/20 reminded us in 2011. (Sculley gave his side of the story in 2013.)
Poynter dug up what they believe to be one of the last interviews with Jobs did before leaving Apple. It's pretty fascinating:
On September 16, 1985, Jobs quit Apple, and eventually launched NeXT Computer (acquired by Apple in 1996 for $400 million) and became a majority investor in Pixar (acquired by Disney in 2006 at a valuation of $7.4 billion).
"I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter into one of the most creative periods of my life," Jobs said in a 2005 commencement speech at Stanford.
But while Jobs was free, light, and creative, Apple hit some rough years, and by the beginning of 1997, the company had its worst quarter on record. After losing yet another CEO, on September 16, 1997, Jobs (who'd been working behind the scenes at the company for a few months) was named interim CEO, in a move ZDnet prophetically referred to at the time as "Steve Jobs, 'interim' CEO — now and forever?"
Here's a video of Jobs from September 23, 1997, taken at an internal meeting just a week after he retook the reins at the company:
"What we're trying to do," Jobs told an assembled group of Apple staffers that day, "is not something really highfalutin....we're trying to get back to the basics of great product, great marketing, and great distribution."
Jobs, who told Nick Bilton in 2010 that he had yet to let his kids use the iPad, and that “We limit how much technology our kids use at home," resigned as CEO of Apple on August 24, 2011 while battling what was later revealed to be pancreatic cancer. He died on October 5, 2011, at age 56.
*we are most emphatically not