Failed Apple CEO Sculley may again eye beleaguered BlackBerry if latest turnaround attempt fails

“Ex-Apple Inc. chief John Sculley says he likes new BlackBerry chief John Chen’s open letter but may eye the Canadian firm again if Chen’s turnaround plan fails,” UPI reports. “Chen, who joined the struggling smartphone maker as interim chief executive officer and executive chairman a month ago after talks to sell the company collapsed, did with his letter ‘exactly what strong leaders are expected to do in a crisis,’ Sculley told United Press International. ‘He sent a clear message to all BlackBerry stakeholders that he has a plan with enough detail to build confidence he knows what he is doing. I’m impressed,’ Sculley said.”

“Chen, who acknowledged in his Monday letter ‘BlackBerry is not for everyone,’ said the once-dominant innovative company in the smartphone market would return to its core business — corporate, government and other ‘enterprise’ customers,” UPI reports. “‘We’re going back to our heritage and roots — delivering enterprise-grade, end-to-end mobile solutions,’ he said in his letter, pointing out BlackBerry would serve enterprises whether their phones and operating systems were made by BlackBerry Ltd. or other companies.”

“Sculley told UPI in an interview he has a great deal of respect for Chen,” UPI reports. “‘I’m assuming that he will be successful’ in his plans to reposition BlackBerry, Sculley said. ‘But if for some reason things don’t work out, and the company is interested in having other people look at it, we would probably go back and revisit it,’ he said.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Once an unprepared sugared water salesbozo, always an unprepared sugared water salesbozo.

We bet Johnny can’t wait to make a bid for Commodore, either.

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Failed Apple CEO John Sculley: If I were Samsung, I would tap Ron Johnson – April 10, 2013
Sculley: Uh, maybe I shouldn’t have fired Steve Jobs – June 7, 2010

Beleaguered BlackBerry CEO: ‘We are here to stay’ – December 2, 2013
Three execs ousted from beleaguered BlackBerry as new CEO tries to salvage what’s left of company – November 25, 2013
Pfizer dumps beleaguered BlackBerry phones for Apple iPhone, Android phones due to company’s ‘volatile state’ – November 15, 2013
Beleaguered BlackBerry plunges after sale to Fairfax falls through; CEO Heins out – November 4, 2013

30 Comments

  1. To be fair, Scully was not complete failure. She cherished innovation, kept Apple’s Advanced Technology Group that came with technologies behind QuickTime, Newton — the first touch tablet with GUI ever — as well as was behind creation of ARM and PowerPC, which changed history of IT forever.

      1. Excuse me?! How exactly did QuickTime, ARM and the development of the first Powerbooks go “to directionless waste”?? These are key techs and products that have been at the core of Apple for more than 20 years! And they all were developed under Sculley.

        I get sick and tired of the meme that Sculley was a bozo. He led the company during a time when it was very profitable and in which many important products – LaserWriter, Macintosh II, Newton, etc. were introduced. You may not like that he took over Apple from Steve Jobs, but he made several important contributions to the advancement of the company.

        One last thing, MDN: You like pointing to the licensing deal that Sculley made with Microsoft as the reason for you caustic criticism, but you always fail to note that Steve had already given Microsoft inside access for the development of apps for the new OS, and that a decade later, Steve made an even more expansive deal with Microsoft to keep MS Office on the shelf. But don’t let me trouble you with the facts…

        1. One more thing: For all those folks who thing Steve Jobs was a flawless product visionary and corporate leader, I submit this list: Apple ///, the NeXT computer, the flower-power iMac, the hockey-puck mouse, the roll-out of MobileMe, and the first version of FCPX. I’m tempted to add the G4 Cube, but it was really beautiful; too bad it was over-priced, under-powered and a manufacturing nightmare.

            1. We can Thank Gil Emilio’s one brilliant move of buying NeXT and bringing Steve Jobs back to Apple – the rest is history.

              That’s the day re-investment began for many.

          1. This is a serious problem in America these days: It is now common for people to say that despite an abundance of evidence that X is true, they believe that Y is true. Of course, no logic or facts are presented in support of their view – they just want to believe what fits their personal narrative. In this case, there is a long line of important products and techs that were developed and brought to market during Sculley’s tenure, and all of them would require the support and leadership of the CEO. But botvinnik believes all this happened DESPITE Sculley. Equally incredibly, he thinks he has posted a smart retort. Allow me to suggest, backed by an abundance of evidence, that not so much.

            1. Well, that was predictable: when confronted with facts and cogent argument, people like you resort to profanity to make their point..

              For the record, my first Apple computer was a Lisa II that I bought exactly 30 years ago this month. Since then, I have bought countless Macs and PowerBooks and MacBook Pros and Laserwriters and all manner of other Apple products. During the time period in question in the mid- to late-1980s, I served several terms on the Apple user group advisory board. It is a fair bet that I have forgotten more about Apple than you will ever know.

        2. It is relatively speaking. As Jobs himself explained, along the line with genius things like Powerbook, QuickTime, ARM and PowerPC, there were billions of dollars spent on projects that made no sense.

          1. Really? Ok, you’ve teased me: Name three projects at Apple that were green-lighted by Sculley that individually or in aggregate wasted billions of dollars. You don’t get to use Newton, because despite the Doonesbury comics, it was a commercially successful device and it is a direct predecessor of the iPod, iPhone and iPad.

        3. I get sick and tired of the meme that Sculley was a bozo.

          Then don’t talk to anyone at Apple who was around when that idiot was driving the place into the ground.

          -jcr

  2. Let’s see now. No John Sculley, no joint venture to produce VLSI chips RISC processors with Acorn Computers. No joint venture with Acorn Computers, no ARM chips. No ARM chips, no iPod. No iPod, no Steve Jobs rescue of Apple Computers. See how the dishing out of unwarranted brickbats against John Sculley redounds on the accuser that he is an incompetent sugar water salesman?

    Steve Jobs at that point in time was too abrasive and too caustic for the well being of Apple Corp. That was SJ version 1.0 as it were. When SJ came back in 1997, as SJ version 2.0, he had learned a lot in the wilderness and knew when to push and when to let the engineering talent do its own thing.

    There’s no doubt that Steve was a visionary but the Mac as it was then was too expensive for mass market appeal which explains why its market share slid to single digits. Nothing that John Sculley could do could save the Mac short of slashing prices right down to the bone, which he couldn’t seeing how the machines were made in high cost USA. It was only through offshoring of manufacturing facilities that Apple could begin to price their products more reasonably and win market share through lower priced products, e.g. iPod and higher priced products, the Mac line of computers.

    1. There is no such thing as Apple Corp.

      Apple Corps Ltd. is The Beatles record company.

      Sculley signed away the Mac crown jewels to Microsoft ad infinitum. For that massive failure alone, he is a moronic bozo.

      1. Apple Corp. in this context is to be read as the whole of Apple corporation. not the name of Apple Computers per se. Steve was causing internal rivalries to simmer all along the line in the entire Apple Corps, not just the Mac division where he was put in charge.

        As for signing away the rights to the Mac OS, or more accurately, the use of the graphical user interface (GUI) to represent objects on screen as opposed to command line MS-DOS, I think you know how predatory Bill Gates is when it comes to interpreting the language of legal documents. He not only took Apple for a ride but the entire IBM legal team as well as the originator of DOS, which was a Seattle firm that had wrote the code for QDOS (quick and dirty operating system) as well as Lotus Notes and a bunch of other tech luminaries.

        I don’t think Steve could have done a better job at protecting Apple IP where the GUI was concerned. Look at how the family jewels, multi-touch computing slipped out of his grasp when Eric Schmidt took all the secrets of iPhone OS back to Google where Android was being developed by Andy Rubin. They pivoted development from a BlackBerry-like OS to an icon based UI that responded to touch.

        All of which negates your point that John Sculley was a sales bozo.

      2. You don’t know what you’re talking about. It was well before Scully came to Apple that SJ made a deal with Gates and company to write software for Apple, culminating in Word, etc. and other software for the Mac.

        What happened was that in order for software to be written, third parties needed access to the API’s of the OS. In this case, API’s and other hooks to Apple’s windowing technology, and others.

        The problem was in the way the contracts were worded. Apparently, Apple’s lawyers left loopholes that Microsoft was able to take advantage of. When Apple took them to court over that, they lost.

        I remember this all very well. You can stop blaming Scully for it. His biggest problem was the Newton. That was responsible for most of Apple’s problems back then, and the major reason he left.

        When Scully came to Apple they did $800 million in business. When he left, they did $8 billion.

  3. Let’s see, Apple is currently one of the most valuable companies in the world and they have sales of over 150 billion per year. John Sculley is responsible for firing Steve Jobs who’s corporate values for what products should be are highly responsible for the current success of Apple. Now, why in the world would I trust Sculley as either a boss or the head of a company I do business with?

    Last thing, let’s give some credit to Tim Cook for doing the hard work so that those products can get into the hands of consumers around the world.

  4. Steve Jobs WOULDN’T be the person who saved Apple if he hadn’t been driven out. Apple would have crashed and burned had he remained in the 80s

    He freely admits that his time away was one of the most productive and creative periods of his life. While away from Apple, he developed the skills and mindset that enabled him to come back to Apple and make it what it is today.

    Although it deeply hurt all who observed his exile, Apple and we would not be where we are today if it had not happened.

  5. Some look at Sculley as a bozo, but I see him as a typical American CEO, who was not particularly great at his job and that is the status quo. Steve Jobs was extraordinary. Not perfect, but so far above the heads and shoulders of his peers that he had no equal. Comparing the two is pointless.

    Now if you want an example of a world-class Bozo, just look at the soon-to-be-unemployed CEO/hot-mess they have to deal with at M$.

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