Former Apple CEO Sculley: Tim Cook is doing a ‘terrific job’ leading Apple

“John Sculley, former CEO of Apple, says that Tim Cook is doing a ‘terrific job’ leading the electronics maker forward,” Charlie Osborne reports for CNET.

“Sculley acted as Apple CEO from 1983 to 1993 after serving as chief executive at Pepsi Co. Steve Jobs was famous for the line used to hire the marketing expert: ‘Do you want to sell sugared water for the rest of your life? Or do you want to come with me and change the world?'” Osborne reports. “In an interview about the late cofounder, Sculley discussed the rumors of a disagreement about whether or not Apple devices should be IBM-compatible — which led to a fallout between Jobs and Sculley and resulted in the pair lobbying the board for each other’s removal.”

Osborne reports, “However, while discussing Apple’s new CEO, Tim Cook, who has been at the helm for more than two years, Sculley told CNBC Asia’s ‘Squawk Box’ on Tuesday: ‘”I think Cook is doing a terrific job. He’s not trying to be Steve jobs; only one person could be Steve Jobs and that was Steve. Steve could make the big creative leaps. What Tim is doing is continuing the Apple philosophy of no compromise and quality of their products and great styling. I think people are giving Apple a bum rap on what is still a great company with great products.'”

Read more in the full article here.


    1. Who really cares what this guy thinks. He nearly single handedly ruined Apple and Steve Jobs considered hiring him one of his few big mistakes. He needs to go away. How about the new CEO of Microsoft? I hear they have an opening .

    2. Sculley is the kiss of death. Pepsi, the prototype for Microsoft, where they copied the leader and tried to advertise their image into a cool and respected one.

      Bottom line is that Pepsi is just flat, overly sweet fake Coke just as Windows was a poor copy of the Macintosh.

      Sculley was the father of the Pepsi Challenge where sheeple were tested if they could tell the difference between Coke & Pepsi. If you cannot discern the difference, you probably think there is no difference between salad out of a bag and one from the garden.

    3. I have nothing against John Sculley having this opinion.

      However, he apparently doesn’t see the ‘kiss of death’ irony of his comment. Sculley was that dreadful Marketing-As-Management blunder in Steve Jobs’ life that drove Apple into the ground, ending with eventually $1 Billion of unwanted Mac Performas rotting in a warehouse, leading to a PR nightmare that lasted for several years. (No, Apple was never on the verge of bankruptcy. Please don’t make me recite that history yet again).

      IOW: It is wise for John Sculley to simply be quiet about ANY CEO of Apple, apart from his very kind acknowledgement that he, as a marketing executive, was never a good fit for any CEO position of any kind apart from a marketing company.

      Thankfully, Tim Cook is not a marketing executive and has some excellent leadership skills. They aren’t Steve Jobs’ skills, but he’s doing just fine… mostly. Apple is never perfect, always better than the alternatives.

      1. Hey, Derek, you is usually say fairly sane things, but in your effort to smear Sculley you said something that is patently untrue. Sculley had nothing to do with the unsold Proformas; in fact, when Sculley left Apple in 1993, that model didn’t even exist.

        MDN constantly rewrites the history of Sculley’s tenure to fit its narrative about a sugar-water bozo. The truth is both different and nuanced.

        1. Indeed, Sculley had been outed from Apple by that point. Read what I wrote. I didn’t infer Sculley was there. The subject was the scourge of Marketing-As-Management, which DID continue after Sculley’s removal. No history rewrite required.

        2. Derek, the logical chain of your sentence strongly implies that Sculley was responsible for the Performa debacle, when in fact Michael Spindler was responsible for the POS that was the notorious Performa 5200, and they were written off the books by Gil Amelio.

          As I said earlier, Sculley’s legacy at Apple is more nuanced than your comments about him, or MDN’s usual take. Under Sculley, Apple launched its fantastically innovative and successful line of Powerbook laptops; Sculley also championed the development of the Newton, the direct predecessor of some of the tech needed to create iPhone. These initiatives, along with the fact that Apple was very profitable in all the years Sculley led the company, are things that the MDN sugar-water-bozo narrative never seems to mention.

        3. I disagree about the Sculley sentence as I deliberately wrote it that way to say exactly what it said. It’s amusing to watch people being more obsessed than me over miscomprehension.

          Yes, I agree about Sculley’s legacy being more nuanced. I wrote a grand stroke. All your points are excellent. However, I can also point out that under Sculley, Mac OS X stagnated. And when attempts were made to further it, the results varied from horrifying to meagre. I can’t help but believe the awful failure of Mac OS Copland and Gershwin were a direct result of the demoralization of creative/productive people working at Apple during the Sculley era. That is entirely typical of any Marketing-As-Management mess. I can run through my lecture about why this occurs, but I’ll spare the thread.

  1. > Sculley acted as Apple CEO from 1983 to 1993

    Interesting wording there… He “ACTED as Apple CEO,” not simply he “WAS Apple CEO.”

    Tim Cook IS Apple CEO. He’s not trying to be something he is not. He’s not “acting.” He’s running the overall company, which has A LOT more to do these days than being innovative. Creating the “next big thing” is vitally important, but making ongoing profits from existing product lines is equally important. Jony Ive is now fully in charge of the creative part of Apple. Tim Cook’s role as CEO is to ensure the overall company runs efficiently and effectively. And Sculley is right; “Cook is doing a terrific job.”

  2. Okay, here’s your answer: this is great. Since the MDN universe of lemmings hate Sculley so much, I’m sure this has ruined your day. But, since you agree with him, what’s all the fuss about. Tim Cook is doing a great job – AAPL loss for the day was limited to only 1.5 percent of its value. Go Timmy!

  3. It really is interesting, if you just admit it, that Sculley (except for his love of pastels and sissy icons) ran Apple Inc. just like Timmy. Just another contradiction in the blind devotion to a failed leader of the once great company.

    BTW, what’s the latest on sensorgate? Anyone heard from Timmy about this. Explanation, denial, fix coming? What?

    1. History lesson: Steve Jobs on Antennagate: “You’re holding it wrong.”

      So Tim Cook should say what exactly? But that’s your problem with everything these days: Plenty of criticism, none constructive.

      1. Easy answer, Jim… Tim should just tell us the truth about the firestorm over the widely reported issues with the sensors in the new phones. Either there isn’t a problem, or there is. If there isn’t, his silence is creating unrest and a rich opportunity for critics and competitors to use as an example of how Apple and their products aren’t what they once were. If there is a problem, tell us how it’s going to be fixed or that it’s being worked on or whatever. As for Steve’s arrogance, Tim can’t pull that off. He’s not credible. He’s not the man.

        As for my criticism not being constructive, you are mistaken. If my criticism, together with the growing chorus of others across the tech and investment world, hastens the departure of the lackluster, clueless CEO by even one day, that is the very definition of “constructive.”

        1. @Jay Morrison

          What are your reasons for claiming Cook is clueless and why do you believe he should be ousted? iPhone 5s is a big success, iPhone marketshare is getting close to even with Android smartphone marketshare in the US, and AAPL stock is up 27% since Jobs passed away. Where do you find grounds to oust Cook?

  4. I met Sculley back in 92. I was delivering inter office mail and entered the elevator that he was in, it was just me and him. I was pretty excited at the the time, a new employee and I’m in the elevator with the main man, the guy I see all over magazine covers and all. I stuck out my hand and introduced myself, “Hi John, I’m …”, the guy flinched and just about ducked in the corner, he felt embarrassed and eventually shook my hand, even though it was one of those wtf limp handed shakes. I apologized and and we both finished our elevator ride in awkwardness. I worked their six years and that’s what I remember about him. Just thought I’d share that.

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