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Michael Spindler

Michael Spindler, c. 1994

Michael H. Spindler (22 December 19422017) was a German-American businessman. He was the president and CEO of Apple Computer from 1993 to 1996.

Early life and education[]

Spindler was born in Berlin, and received a degree in engineering from the Technical University of Cologne in 1964.[1]


AppleWorld Michael Spindler winning

Spindler in an AppleWorld 1987 promotional video.

He worked at the European subsidiaries of DEC and Intel before joining Apple's European sales office in September 1980, where he went months without a paycheck while Apple figured out how to send funds to Belgium from California. In 1983, he became executive vice president of marketing and established a strategy of allowing Apple's international subsidiaries to run with great independence, releasing specialized products and producing their own advertising campaigns. This helped the company win significant market share in Asia and Europe. On January 29, 1990, Apple CEO John Sculley appointed Spindler as the company's chief operating officer. His work ethic had garnered him the nickname "The Diesel".[1]


Apple's Plan with John Sculley & Michael Spindler 1992

In 1991, Spindler became a member of the Apple Board of Directors.[2] On June 18, 1993, the board ousted John Sculley and chose Spindler as the company's new CEO. He immediately reorganized the company and presided over the successful migration of the Macintosh to the new PowerPC architecture, but also failures like the Newton handheld platform, the Pippin console, the Copland project, and the highly controversial Macintosh clone initiative.[3][4][5] He also became infamous for emotional issues, sometimes hiding under his desk during panic attacks. He was replaced as CEO by Gil Amelio in an emergency board meeting on January 31, 1996.[6][7]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Today in Apple history: ‘The Diesel’ becomes Apple COO by Luke Dormehl, Cult of Mac. 2020-01-29.
  2. The First 10 Apple Employees: Where Are They Now? by Jay Yarow, Business Insider. 2011-05-24.
  3. Apple shuffle raises some enterprise mart concerns by Frederic Paul, Network World p.18-22. 1993-07-26.
  4. Apple's Pippin: A Pip--or a Pipsqueak? by Peter Burrows, BusinessWeek. 1996-04-01. Archived 2013-06-04.
  5. Apple Alumni: Where are they now? Michael Spindler by Connie Guglielmo, Forbes. 2012-10-04.
  6. Gil Amelio's Insanely Great Paycheck by Peter Burrows, Bloomberg. 1996-02-26.
  7. From Diesel to Doctor by Owen W. Linzmayer, Apple Confidential 2.0: The Definitive History of the World's Most Colorful Company, p.240. No Starch Press. 2004.

External links[]


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