The Courtship Mike Markkula had never wanted
Mike Markkula had never wanted to be Apple’s president. He liked designing his new houses, flying his private plane, and living high off his stock options;
he did not relish adjudicating conflict or curating high-maintenance egos. He had stepped into the role reluctantly, after he felt compelled to ease out Mike Scott, and he promised his wife the gig would be temporary. By the end of
1982, after almost two years, she gave him an order: Find a replacement right away.
Jobs knew that he was not ready to run the company himself, even though there was a part of him that wanted to try. Despite his arrogance, he could be self-aware. Markkula agreed; he told Jobs that he was still a bit too rough-edged and immature to be Apple’s president. So they launched a search for someone from the outside.
The person they most wanted was Don Estridge, who had built IBM’s personal computer division from scratch and launched a PC that, even though Jobs and his team disparaged it, was now outselling Apple’s. Estridge had sheltered his division in Boca Raton, Florida, safely removed from the corporate
mentality of Armonk, New York. Like Jobs, he was driven and inspiring, but unlike Jobs, he had the ability to allow others to think that his brilliant ideas were their own. Jobs flew to Boca Raton with the offer of a $1 million salary
and a $1 million signing bonus, but Estridge turned him down. He was not the type who would jump ship to join the enemy. He also enjoyed being part of the establishment, a member of the Navy rather than a pirate. He was discomforted by Jobs’s tales of ripping off the
phone company. When
asked where he worked,
he loved to be able to