From Inc.'s "25 Years Ago, Apple Nearly Made a Fatal Mistake. These 10 Short Words Saved It" posted Sunday:
It all goes back to a single day, 25 years ago: January 31, 1996, starting around 8 a.m., when Apple's board of directors met in the offices of its New York City law firm.
There were two items on the agenda, according to an account by Gil Amelio, who was a member of the board at the time and whose name will become quite familiar to you shortly, if you don't know it already.
- Item #1: a proposal to sell Apple outright to Sun Microsystems.
- Item #2: a plan to bring in Amelio as CEO.
As Amelio recounted in his 1998 book, On the Firing Line: My 500 Days at Apple, the deal to sell Apple to Sun came very close to happening. He was impressed by Sun's presentation, until the moment when Sun's CEO and founder, Scott McNealy, wouldn't commit to keeping the Apple brand alive (as opposed to rebranding everything under "Sun").
The idea of dumping "Apple" was a "huge red flag," Amelio wrote...
Still, Amelio said he felt he had to stay part of the discussion to find out what Sun would pay for Apple. In his telling, this is where it all fell apart.
Apple's stock was trading at about $28 a share; Amelio expected to hear a pitch of at least $30. Instead, Sun offered $23 a share.
Amelio rejected it with 10 words: "Scott, that's impossible. I can't get behind that at all."
My take: Amelio will be remembered best for bringing Steve Jobs back a few hundred days later.