Former Apple CEO Sculley: People are underestimating just how well Apple is run

Former Apple CEO John Sculley was recently on CNBC discussing the state of the company’s shares.

“Sculley was originally made chairman of Apple in 1983, and between 1985 and 1993, he managed day-to-day operations while Steve Jobs was away at NeXT,” Meena Krishnamsetty reports for The Motley Fool.

MacDailyNews Take: Mismanaged day-to-day operations.

Krishnamsetty reports, “On the current situation Apple is in, Sculley had this to say: ‘I think they’re going through a very significant change now in terms of product cycles. Traditionally Apple introduces products once a year; now it’s really introducing products twice a year. The complexity of that from a supply chain is immense, and Apple seems to be doing it well. So, I think that people are underestimating just how well Apple is run, and just how successful the company can be when it gets to that twice-a-year product introduction cycle.'”

“Sculley’s comments here seem to agree with the unheralded notion that Tim Cook is a supply chain wizard,” Krishnamsetty reports. “On the subject of Apple’s valuation, the former Cupertino CEO said that ‘the question is: Does it still deserve a Steve Jobs premium?’ to which he paraphrastically answers ‘yes,’ due to the fact that Cook has a clear product leader in Jony Ive.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: How out of character – the old sugar water sales bozo actually got something right!

Related articles:
Former Apple CEO Sculley gives his take on Steve Jobs – January 13, 2012
John Sculley: I wish I told Steve Jobs ‘This is your company, let’s figure out how you can come back and be CEO’ – Septemeber 13, 2011
Steve Jobs steps down the first time: The 1985 press coverage – August 26, 2011
John Sculley: Apple’s big mistake was hiring me as CEO – October 14, 2010
Sculley: Uh, maybe I shouldn’t have fired Steve Jobs – June 7, 2010


  1. I don’t think Apple is going to release most products twice a year. I think for the new iPad, they had a new connector and process ready. They didn’t want the flagship iPad having the older connector, plus bumping up the CPU was a great move. This doesn’t mean Apple will release two models a year in the future though.

  2. It all depends on what is meant by “release new products” since Apple traditionally did a revision once a year and a redesign once every 18 months. From iBook to MacBook was a new product, but revisions to iBooks and MacBooks occurred fairly regularly. In the iDevice space Apple has been more of a “right(ly) before Holiday” release schedule and that does appear to be accelerating. But then there’s the MacPro and iWork……

  3. It isn’t as if Cook just became the supply chain wizard. The point is that Apple has switched from a computer company to a device company. It runs the devices with a popular ecosystem that guarantees its success for some time to come. The reason the product cycle is more than once a year (it is now at 3 times a year and possibly four (iPhone, iPad, computer and iPad mini). All of these will feed the ecosystem, which will feed the devices. This is organized the way the human body works, with the peripheral body feeding the brain sensory information and the brain telling the body what to do. Holding Apple above the fray is the consistent attention to detail and design. Apple is raked over the coals for a premature release of Maps or Siri not being able to do everything everyone wants it to do. Meanwhile Google releases Beta product after Beta product, including multiple versions of Android and the only thing it makes money on is search and the press is mum. All of this is silly, since Apple sells its products well and makes boatloads of money, while its stock gets manipulated over record profits, but missed expectations after years of being underestimated. The company is very well run and is so far and above its competition, that it has no competition, except for itself.

  4. Sculley had his fair share of screwups, but the press singled-finger him as the cause of Apple’s fall, when he was not.

    One thing Sculley is not is stupid. The guy is smart. But, when you review history, Sculley was ONE factor of Apple’s fall. The board was another piece. And whether we like it or not, Steve Jobs was another. Back then, Steve was out of control. Sure, he build the Mac, and that’s remarkable. But he made also mistakes, and the board (not Sculley), placed him in Siberia.

    Fact is, Sculley never wanted Steve out. He knew Apple needed Steve.

    Fact is also, the post-Apple Steve learned a lot about how to do things. He grew up and matured. And that’s what made him the amazing transformator when he came back to Apple. In fact I suspect old Steve would have fired young Steve.

    But again, Sculley is no dummy. He admired Steve Jobs. He admired Apple. He screwed up in many fronts. He did some things right. He’s not the devil most people portray.

    1. +100

      MDN continues to treat John Sculley to snarky comments despite the fact that Sculley has – for years – been incredibly gracious in his praise of Apple and Steve Jobs. He does not deserve MDN’s bile.

      I might also add that MDN is engaging in some pretty radical revisionist history is suggesting Sculley mismanaged Apple. To the contrary, Apple’s revenues soared under Sculley, and Sculley was the champion of Newton – the first useful handheld computer and the direct ancestor of iPhone and iPad.

      In short, MDN’s take is not only rude, it is factually wrong.

      While I’m at it, kudos to Grifterus for putting Sculley’s legacy in perspective in the post above.

  5. How is there a “Steve Jobs Premium” – ? Competitors can sell products for much less, but you don’t get the design, build quality or software near as elegant of effective.

    When they attempt to match the design and build quality, they can’t come close the price.

    If Apple merely took margins similar to Dell, HP, then all those companies would simply be unable to compete, period.

    At the end of the day, you get paid what you’re worth.

    1. tbone, I’m with you. But there’s another part of that whole “wizard” business: MS and all their 3rd party software devs simply have to refer to the installer program as the “installer wizard.” In the MS world it’s wizard this and wizard that, as if some doofus magic is somehow involved in installing or setting up various programs. I think Apple refers to them as “assistants,” which is more businesslike and descriptive.

  6. what did he know about management of IT company? none. he came from Coke. he had no idea how to handle all mac products. that’s why apple was failed, then Steve was back. didn’t he know it? of course, needless to say apple is running greater than ever thanks to all devoted people who work hard inside. this company is only survived with its own people not from outside.

    1. Sometimes, it isn’t the CEO, it’s the Board of Directors.

      It was Apple’s BOD that ousted Steve Jobs, and later harbored the lamprey Eric Schmidt. And we can’t forget HP’s Carly Fiorina, Leo Apotheker, and Mark Hurd horror stories. The stories from Nokia’s and RiM’s BODs don’t inspire confidence, only head-slapping cautionary tales for industry post-mortems. Industry analysts are essentially paid to look the other way until the vultures begin to circle, after which they are permitted to close in for their own mouthfuls of offal.

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