Partners who split up - From Steve Jobs and John Sculley to Mark Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin

Sunday, 2 March 2014 - 9:00am IST Updated: Saturday, 1 March 2014 - 7:41pm IST | Agency: DNA
Ego, jealousy or creative differences... What induced these inseparable dream partners to take separate routes and chart their own destiny? Read on to find out...

They met, they came together and they conquered. But while charting their success stories something went wrong and many popular partnerships broke midway. They’re two people with similar interests and passions, then what causes rift in these like-minded individuals? “One reason is the ego issues which crop up commonly. Many times both the partners are not on the same page, and their thought processes may clash,” says psychologist and writer Seema Hingorrany. While the world has witnessed break-ups of many popular inseparable jodis there are a few we all wished would have always remained together. Here’s a list of most famous break-ups...

Steve Jobs and John Sculley
In 1985, a youthful Steve Jobs became embroiled in a business dispute with then-Apple CEO John Sculley over the marketing strategy for the company’s Macintosh Office computer. Jobs wanted to drop the price of the failing product and focus the company’s advertising attention onto it, away from the Apple 2. Sculley replied that such a strategy was likely to cause the company to lose money, and declared his intention to take the matter to the board. What followed was one of the most famous oustings in business history, as company co-founder Jobs was forced out by a group of directors who sided with Sculley’s point of view. Of course, Jobs later returned to Apple and enjoyed great success, while Sculley was fired along the way. At a conference, Sculley reflected that more could have been done to facilitate a solution and keep Jobs with the company.

Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi
Their story is nothing less than a Manmohan Desai movie where the protagonists continue to meet and part. Only here, the lead heroes have now reached a point of no return. Once the best of pals, tennis aces Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi’s enmity is now legion. Paes and Bhupati, sometimes called a married couple in jest and nicknamed as Indian Express, ended their strained on-again, off-again relationship on a very bitter note. Strong words like betrayal and backstabbing have been thrown about. The strains started showing during 2006 tour of Davis Cup and the relations dipped to worse. However, for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, they decided to play together for their country, and lost in the quarterfinals to the eventual champions Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka. This Indian duo has a 303–103 career record together. They have a higher success rate against various top teams. They have a Davis Cup record of the longest winning streak in doubles, with 23 straight wins.

Spice Girls
The tumultuous relationship between the Spice Girls, born in 1994, is no secret, with Geri Halliwell famously walking out on the girl group in 1998. However, Melanie Chisholm admitted the band nearly split up several times before then, with both Geri and Melanie Brown quitting ‘a few times’. The girls — Victoria Beckham, Mel B, Emma Bunton, Melanie C and Geri Halliwell — leaped to fame in summer 1996 with their debut single Wannabe, but by May 1998, Geri announced she was leaving the band. They continued as a four-piece until they went on ‘hiatus’ in 2000, before finally making a comeback with their sell-out Return Of The Spice Girls world tour in 2007, which ended prematurely after they cancelled their gigs in South America, South Africa and Asia.

Mark Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin
Familiar to millions after its depiction in the 2010 film The Social Network, the fallout between these two Facebook founders has become one of the most talked-about business break-ups of all time. The former friends developed the original Facebook during their time at Harvard, and the Hollywood depiction indicates that Saverin was forced out of the company, thanks to a betrayal on the part of Zuckerberg. However, closer inspection suggests that Zuckerberg elected to try and cut Saverin out of the company for a number of fairly valid reasons, including that the latter had allegedly been using Facebook as a free ad platform for his own project. The pair settled in 2009, with Saverin reducing his stake from over 30 to 5 per cent. Now based in Singapore, Saverin says that he harbours no ill feeling towards Zuckerberg.

Mukesh and Anil Ambani
Dhirubhai Ambani’s death in 2002 sparked a feud for control which ultimately lead to the split of the Reliance Group. The brothers, Mukesh and Anil, refused to do business together or stay under the same roof after the death of their father. Their mother Kokilaben brokered a demerger in 2005, dividing the `99,000-crore empire built by Dhirubhai, which gave Mukesh control of oil and gas, petrochemicals, refining and manufacturing while Anil took reign over electricity, telecoms and financial services. Mukesh now runs Reliance Industries, and Anil leads the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group. Since the split, the brothers have feuded via press conferences, meetings with the ministers, letters to the Prime Minister, interviews to news channels and dragging each other to court.

Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar
It was only after the success of this duo that star-struck Bollywood started giving due recognition to its writers. Salim Khan befriended Javed Akhtar during the making of the film Sarhadi Lootera where the latter was a clapper boy. They worked together for 11 years finally calling it quits in 1982. Out of the 24 films this jodi did, 21 went on to become superhits, giving the superstar of India his angry young man image. There are various reasons in the news about the reason of their split. But till now, both the veterans maintained a respectable silence on the subject. According to Anita Padhye’s Marathi book Yahi Rang Yahi Roop, Javed was not happy with Amitabh Bachchan for turning down Mr India which led to ego clashes between the two writers. He also wanted to write lyrics under the name of Salim Javed. Salim told his partner that if he chose to write lyrics, he should do so outside of their partnership. Javed called it quits and the rest is history.

Rajiv Gandhi and Amitabh Bachchan
This could well have been called the dosti no. 1 of India. The first family of politics and the superstar of Bollywood comes as the best mix for a strong bond. Much is said and written about the friendship between Amitabh Bachchan and Rajiv Gandhi and how it soured later. Big B himself admits that he met Gandhi at the age of four. The two were so close that when Sonia first landed in India, she was received by ‘her first friend in India’ Bachchan and also stayed at his house till she formally became a Gandhi. Bachchan entered politics on Gandhi’s behest. Later, he resigned from politics after he faced charges of receiving kickbacks in the Bofors case. However, the relationship between the Bachchans and Gandhis came under strain nearly six years after Rajiv’s assassination in 1991 after Bachchan’s proximity to Amar Singh. Till then, Sonia Gandhi and her children reportedly relied on Bachchan’s for every major decision, political as well as non-political.

Rahul Mishra and Samar Firdos
Designers Rahul Mishra and Samar Firdos started their careers together. They studied at NID Ahmedabad and made their debut with GenNext LFW. Not only were their designs appreciated, they also elicited a great response from big buyers who wanted to house their crafts. However, later they split and Rahul went solo. There were rumours that the real reason behind the break-up were their wives who weren’t getting well along with each other. In an interview to this paper back then, Rahul had confirmed, “It’s true that our wives were not gelling well at all. But I would like to say that the fault is mine. I will not blame anyone but the differences just mounted and we decided to part ways and move on in life.” He added, “When you are a team, you should not compete with each other. When someone is praised more than the other partner.” Today Rahul has made a splash internationally by winning the Woolmark Prize and Samar has his own line and shows at LFW from time to time.

Adi and Rudolf Dassler
The German version of Indian Ambani story, this famous sibling rivalry ended up dividing a whole town back in the 1940s, as brothers Adi and Rudolf Dassler acrimoniously broke up their successful shoe-making business. Having started manufacturing footwear together in 1924, the pair saw their shoes worn by athletes at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics. Eight years later, the Berlin Olympics were lit up by American runner Jesse Owens, who competed wearing Dassler trainers. However, during the Second World War the relationship between the brothers deteriorated dramatically, and there has been much speculation about whether their political leanings were to blame. Whatever the reason, in 1947 Rudolf walked away and began making shoes on the other side of town, eventually settling on Puma as a company name. Adi stayed put and continued making trainers under the name Adidas.


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