In the present day in Apple historical past: Gil Amelio takes over as CEO


February 2: Today in Apple history: Gil Amelio takes over as Apple CEO February 2, 1996: Apple reveals that turnaround artist Gil Amelio will take over from Michael “The Diesel” Spindler as CEO of the struggling firm.

With disappointing Mac gross sales, the disastrous “clone Mac” technique and a failed Solar Microsystems merger to his identify, Spindler is requested to resign by the Apple board. Then Cupertino enlists supposed company miracle-worker Amelio for the job.

Sadly, he seems to be no higher than Spindler.

Nineties had been a nasty time for Apple

As I’ve written many instances in “In the present day in Apple historical past,” I’ll all the time have a smooth spot for Apple within the Nineties. In any case, the corporate was taking dangers (come on, it put out a video games console!). And, for higher or worse, Macs nonetheless felt like tech’s best-kept secret in comparison with the ubiquity of Home windows PCs.

With that mentioned, Apple did face large issues within the ’90s. After Spindler took over as CEO from John Sculley in June 1993, he instantly slashed worker numbers and R&D tasks that wouldn’t repay within the close to future. This gave Apple a number of back-to-back quarters of progress — and doubled the inventory value.

Spindler additionally oversaw the profitable introduction of Energy Macs, with a plan to refocus Apple on growing Mac penetration. (Beforehand, some accused Sculley of not doing sufficient for the Mac, since he centered on tasks just like the Newton MessagePad.)

The disastrous Mac clones

Nonetheless, Spindler’s technique of promoting Mac clones proved horrible for Apple. The corporate licensed Mac know-how to third-party producers like Energy Computing and Radius. It appeared like a good suggestion in concept, but it surely backfired. It resulted not in additional Macs, however in cheaper clone Macs — thereby reducing Apple’s income.

Apple’s personal {hardware} confronted issues, too. Most notably, some PowerBook 5300 laptops caught fireplace. As Samsung later noticed with its Be aware 7 debacle, that type of scorching product by no means boosts buyer loyalty!

When a attainable merger with Solar Microsystems fizzled, Spindler discovered himself out at Apple. The board didn’t give him an opportunity to show issues round.

Gil Amelio turns into Apple CEO

How the news of Gil Amelio taking over as Apple CEO was reported by InfoWorld in 1996
How the information was reported in 1996.
Picture: InfoWorld

Spindler’s substitute, Gil Amelio, got here with a strong popularity. Whereas CEO of Nationwide Semiconductor, he took an organization that misplaced $320 million over 4 years and made it worthwhile.

He additionally possessed a robust background in engineering. As a Ph.D. scholar, he helped invent the charge-coupled gadget, or CCD, which fashioned the idea for future scanners and digital cameras. He had joined Apple’s board in November 1994.

Ultimately, Amelio didn’t reside as much as his promise as Apple CEO. Essentially the most memorable facet of his 500-day stint operating the corporate — other than overseeing Apple’s biggest-ever losses — was the truth that Apple purchased NeXT whereas beneath his management. And that introduced Steve Jobs again to Cupertino.