Michael Scott (Apple)

Michael "Scotty" Scott (born February 11, 1945)[1] is an American entrepreneur, who was the first CEO of Apple Computer from February 1977 to March 1981. Formerly director of manufacturing at National Semiconductor, Scott was persuaded by Mike Markkula to take the CEO position at Apple, as the co-founders — Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak — were both seen as insufficiently experienced for the job at the time.

Michael Scott
Born (1945-02-11) February 11, 1945
Known forCEO of Apple Computer, Inc.


After graduating from the California Institute of Technology, Scott worked at Fairchild Semiconductor where he shared a cubicle with Mike Markkula and Gene Carter; all 3 would later end up working together at Apple.[2]


Attempting to set an example for all businesses, in 1979, Scott declared there would be no typewriters at Apple. In 1979 and 1980, Jef Raskin's Macintosh project was a four-person research effort. It wasn't considered important within Apple and was almost canceled a couple of times. When Apple had another major reorganization in the fall of 1980, it was terminated again, but Raskin pleaded with Scott and Markkula for more time and was granted three more months to show that he was really onto something.[3]

On February 25, 1981, the day known as "Black Wednesday" at the company, Scott personally fired forty Apple employees, including half of the Apple II team, in a belief that they were redundant. Later in the afternoon he assembled the remaining employees with a keg of beer and explained the firings by stating, "I used to say that when being CEO at Apple wasn't fun anymore, I'd quit. But now I've changed my mind — when it isn't fun any more, I'll fire people until it's fun again."[4]

Following this abrupt event, he was moved to vice chairman, a title with little power, and Mike Markkula, the man who had hired Scott, replaced him.

Scott left Apple officially on July 10, 1981, stating in his resignation letter:

So I am having a new learning experience, something I've never done before. I quit, not resign to join a new company or retire for personal reasons ... This is not done for those who fear my opinions and style, but for the loyal ones who may be given false hope.
Yours. Michael, Private Citizen[5]

Later career

From 1983 to 1988, Scott led Starstruck, a private firm that attempted to create a sea-based satellite-launching rocket. He also began supporting non-profit organizations, such as the Seattle Opera and the California Institute of Technology in their efforts to apply personal computers to their needs.[6]

Gemstone expert

Scott has since become an expert on colored gemstones, having written a book on them and assembled a collection that has been exhibited at the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, California. He also sponsored Rruff,[7] a project creating a complete set of high-quality spectral data from well-characterized minerals. The mineral rruffite (IMA 2009-077) was named for the Rruff project and the mineral scottyite (IMA 2012-027) for Michael Scott.[8][9]


  • Linzmayer, Owen W (January 2004). Apple Confidential 2.0: The Definitive History of the World's Most Colorful Company (2nd ed.). San Francisco: No Starch Press. p. 344. ISBN 1-59327-010-0. OCLC 52821221.


  1. Isaacson, Walter (2011). Steve Jobs. [Mike] Markkula [born February 11, 1942] and Scott...shared the same birthday, which they celebrated together each year. At their birthday lunch in February 1977, when Scott was turning thirty-two...
  2. Berlin, Leslie (2017). Troublemakers : Silicon Valley's Coming of Age (1st ed.). New York. p. 50. ISBN 978-1-4516-5150-8. OCLC 1008569018.
  3. Hertzfeld, Andy (October 1980). "Macintosh stories: Good Earth". Folklore.org.
  4. Hertzfeld, Andy (February 1981). "Macintosh stories: Black Wednesday". Folklore.org.
  5. Seibold, Chris (July 10, 2011). "July 10, 1981: Michael Scott Leaves Apple". AppleMatters.com.
  6. Linzmayer, pg 17
  7. "Sponsor and contributors (Michael Scott)".
  8. "Rruffite". Mindat.org. Retrieved March 10, 2012.
  9. "Scottyite". Mindat.org. Retrieved August 31, 2012.
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