July 9, 1997: Dr. Gil Amelio Resigns

by Chris Seibold Jul 09, 2011

When someone asks, "Who saved Apple?" the knee jerk reaction is to give all the credit to Steve Jobs. That answer leaves out a crucial part of the equation: who brought Steve back?


The answer to the second question is: Dr. Gil Amelio. Dr.Amelio had taken the reins at Apple when the woeful Michael Spindler was ousted and made sweeping changes. He cut Apple's staff by a third, killed the Copland project and bought NeXT for 400 million dollars (which, not incidentally, happened to have Steve Jobs as the CEO). Pundits opined that Dr. Amelio had "loaded the bases" for Steve who drove the runners home.


While the Amelio tenure may have set the stage for Steve Jobs' later successes, it did have a downside. Board members were upset with the low stock price, record losses (though Dr. Amelio left Apple with much more cash than when he arrived), failure to sell Apple to another company and the less than impressive marketing. Dr. Amelio's resignation concluded with the following passage:


"I lovingly leave Apple in your care. Good luck, I'll be cheering from the sidelines."


Dr. Amelio sent the letter to Apple employees on July 9, 1997.


  • Amelio often gets a bum rap, but as you state, he inherited an Apple that was quite the mess. Obviously, he didn’t have the kind of leadership and vision that Steve Jobs has, but he stood in the gap in a very difficult time.

    It’s worth reading Amelio’s book about his experience, On the Firing Line (you can find a used copy very cheap, but it’s no longer in print). He describes the decision to find a replacement for the next (no pun intended) Mac OS. Contenders were NeXT, BeOS, and WindowsNT.

    Bill Gates was really pushing Amelio to adopt WinBT with a Mac OS shell. If that had happened, the Mac would have inherited all the viruses, malware and security holes that Windows has. Not only that, but Apple would have been dependent upon Microsoft for updates and security fixes. Can you imagine?

    I really think that if Amelio had picked WindowsNT, we would have Macs today and Apple would no longer be in business.

    But Ameilio had enough sense and vision to pick the right company by choosing NeXTSTEP. I can guess that BeOS would have been a good second choice, but Gasse would have been a handful for Apple to put up with.

    R. Mansfield had this to say on Jul 09, 2010 Posts: 11
  • Page 1 of 1 pages
You need log in, or register, in order to comment