Apple is now run by a guy who is more like John Sculley than Steve Jobs

“Tuesday on CNBC’s Fast Money, former Apple Computer CEO John Sculley called in to weigh in on our panel discussion of whether or not the company’s best days are behind it,” Dan Nathan writes for RiskReversal.com. “There was a lot of Twitter hate thrown our way for having Sculley on. After all, he’s the guy who effectively fired company founder Steve Jobs in 1985.”

“But this historical view is sort of fascinating, because while we know Steve Jobs was a unique visionary, was he a great CEO for most of his career?” Nathan writes. “What’s indisputable is that Jobs tenure at Apple (in a CEO capacity) in the early 1980s, despite some critical success with the Macintosh in 1984, was heading the company into financial ruin.”

‘Yes, Sculley was a failed CEO of Apple, presiding over a lost decade” Nathan writes. “So was Steve Jobs the first time around.”

Full piece here.

MacDailyNews Take: It is disputable, since Jobs was never CEO of Apple in the early 1980s. Jobs was never Apple’s CEO until he was named Interim Chief Executive Officer in September 1997. The rest of Nathan’s article is similarly uninformed.

[Attribution: Re/code. Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]

25 Comments

  1. Cook is so lazy, incompetent, and distracted, he actually makes Sculley look good in comparison.

    The problem is that too many overzealous fanboys are in denial. They actually think Cook is doing a great job. He would literally have to run Apple into the ground and they would actually have to watch it crash and burn to smitherines before they get a clue… UNBELIEVABLE!

    A chimpanzee could babysit Apple and milk its cash cows into stagnation, create silly, expensive, and overall worthless products, ignore the Mac line and fail to upgrade it in years, and devote 100% of your time to personal causes that have nothing to do with your job description or furthering Apple’s business position!

    Cook’s laziness, incompetence, and apathy for doing his job are reprehensible. The longer they keep him in Cupertino the worse off Apple and its consumers and shareholders will be!

    1. Say what you will, but we are only a few more watch bands away from a breakthrough.

      Watch bands will power Apple to record-breaking sales for the next decade.

      And wait until you see Apple’s forthcoming line of designer handbags, designed by Dre and Arhendts in California.

        1. There’s the other fact that the Watch made Apple $5 billion. They made more cash that Rolex did, and at a much lower price point. Apple is the leader in that product segment. They sold more Watches in its first year than they sold iPhones in its first year. By any metric, the Watch has been very successful.

          1. √ Yes. All this doom mongering is, I swear, a side effect of all the WallNut Street analysts being strung out on uppers. If Apple isn’t being as manic as they are, it must be failing. They have no idea how ridiculous they look and sound.

    2. Your analysis is simplistic. While Jobs was alive, Apple stock collapses and talk of “the end,” was just as rampant. Search the horrible reviews of the first iPad (it’s a feminine product or just a big iPod touch), and the subsequent collapse of the stock. Go back and read about the first iPhone and market reaction, the annual iPod is doomed b.s. whenever Microsoft or Palm launched their competing products, or the crashes during the lulls between one iconic product and the next… doom, doom, doom say the naysayers. Steve Jobs told Walter Isaacson in his horrible biography that he was depressed with all the attacks on the iPad. Despite the “experts,” it turned out ok.

      Apple stock is manipulated by fund managers. It always has been. It’s manipulated up and down. Public Relations is the tool of the manipulation. Bad news, when it exists, is flamed. And when it doesn’t exist, manufactured. The same when they want the stock to rise.

      Apple is not doomed. It has a billion devices in play. The company is loved by it’s customers. It has new products in the pipeline. The Mac will be updated soon — most likely with their own silicon — a radical change. There will be new iPhones and other products. The huge leap in sales during the first iPhone 6 launch was due to YEARS of pent up demand for a large iPhone. That type of leap has to be looked at with context. The overall trend is UP, if you look back three or more years. It will continue to rise.

      As for Tim Cook, no one will fill Steve’s shoes easily — no one. However, Jobs implemented an internal university so the company could continue to grow without him. And that has helped.

      Where I would agree is that, in the early days, Steve took too long to launch products, and that hurt Apple and Next. So, time matters. Tim needs to accelerate launches without sacrificing quality. He can do it. As for the vision, that’s a different matter. Jony Ive helps. Tim may need to find a second visionary to help but the jury is still out on that one.

      1. Very good take, with one minor exception. Apple stock is NOT manipulated by fund managers. It is manipulated by arbitragers looking to generate movement, up or down, in the stock price. Fund managers seek stability. Arbitragers want to rock the boat.

          1. Yea, to this day I am mystified as to why the SEC never investigated him after his on-air confession. Statute of limitations perhaps? Bigger fish to fry? Friends in high places? Lack of adequate funding? Laziness?

    3. OMFG, the trolling around here is so lazy, incompetent and distracted. They don’t even bother to figure out what they’re supposed to be talking about any more.

      Grade: 🇫

      Do try harder. It’s a lot more fun locking horns with trolls who at least have a modicum of integrity and brains.

  2. IN-SANE

    For **cksake! Another no life, braindead Nathan in an attempt to attract attention surfing the Apple backlash…

    That was your 2 cents clickbaith opinion?

  3. This is the single stupidest comparison I’ve read.

    While you can argue about Tim Cook’s competence, the WHOLE circumstance was different.

    Let’s start with the fact that that the Personal Computer industry back then was NOT what it is today. Today, PCs are everywhere, and our generation see them as natural. Our parent’s generation were scared of computers. They were not friendly, mostly nerd-aimed (and I want to clarify, I’m using “nerd” in its best meaning – I’m one of them! ) and they were mostly for programmers than users.

    Today, the PC is mostly a consumer product, where the gap between computer A and computer B is every time more narrow. As today, the was between if Mac OS or Windows is better is, at the least, no news anymore.

    Back then there was no wide adoption of the Internet. Today, the cloud has reduced the relevance of the operating system for consumers. As long as people can access their favorite cloud applications, it becomes irrelevant if it’s Windows, Mac, Linux, or anything else. Desktop apps are becoming a niche market.

    Third, Sculley has been demonized more than he deserves. It’s very easy to judge AFTER the fact. But back then, Steve Jobs was reckless and would Apple have done it his way, it would most likely be broke today. But Sculley’s record in his first years was not too bad. He made mistakes, sure. He didn’t handle Steve Jobs the right way. But the fact that Apple was not ready to bet the house on the Mac back then (the Apple II was still the cash cow) is something most people leave aside. Let’s remember the first Mac was a financial disased. Sales were awful. Price was high. The computer was underpowered, and they had to release the Fat Mac to make an usable Macintosh.

    Steve Jobs had his share of screwups as well. Let’s remember the Apple III fiasco. And the Lisa. Apple was not as big as it is today, by any mean. They’ve lost a lot of money in those 2 projects.

    And another factor is circumstances. Steve Jobs learned a lot from his mistakes. And as it was stated, he hand picked his management team. Tim Cook will never be Steve Jobs. But he’s no dummy.

    Don’t take me wrong. I’m a huge fan of Steve Jobs. And I think Apple is really screwing up in certain areas (mostly with the Mac). But even then, the comparison is not fair. Sculley worked to make Apple profitable. He had huge competition back then. IBM was way bigger, Microsoft was growing, and there were a fair number of direct competitors in the personal computer arena. He made mistakes, sure, but he was, in a way, entering new territories.

    Tim Cook has money to burn, in a space where is well defined. Apple’s marketshare and presence is huge. All they have to do is listen to their customers. Steve Jobs used to do it.

    1. Your history is wrong. Despite the fact that it was obvious Steve Jobs was a genius, he was not allowed full control in the early days of Apple. He was pushed off the Apple III and the Lisa, and both quickly failed. They failed in a large part because Apple’s “adult” leadership (including a lot of guys hired from HP) wanted to focus on the business market, which was a huge mistake. The only project Jobs got total control of was the Macintosh. It was also the only successful product out of the gate, in part because it wasn’t marketed mainly for business, it was marketed (per Jobs desire) as a creative machine. The Mac was the first product that was clearly going to be a hit. It sold very well out of the gate (much better than the Apple III and the Lisa) and amazingly well for a ground breaking machine. It ran in to trouble for two reasons. One: Jobs lost a battle with Sculley to price it reasonably at $1999.99. Sculley insisted on pricing it high so as not to compete with the Apple II (and the new Apple IIc which was coming out). The other reason it ran into problems was an industry wide recession in 1985 which hurt all computer makers, including IBM (which had to abandon the PCjr) and Commodore AND hurt Apple II sales. Jobs (correctly) new that the Mac was the future of the company, and that prices for it had to be lowered and Apple had to quickly phase out the Apple II. They battled and Jobs tried to force Sculley out. Woz turned on Jobs to protect the Apple II and Jobs got pushed out. (He walked rather than take a position of no power.) Sculley then took credit as projects like the Laserwriter and Desk Top Publishing that Jobs started began to pay off. The effective price for the Mac was eventually cut to closer to where Jobs had wanted it, and sales started to take off. (Giving Sculley credit for the Fat Mac is silly. Computers ALWAYS gain more memory over the years). Sculley continued to invest money in the Apple II, including a special Woz addition which was a complete failure. Continuing to support the Apple II, led to confusion with educations buyers and programmers and undermined the Macintosh, as did Sculley’s insistence on keeping it high priced. The Mac had about a five year technological advantage on the IBM PC and Sculley threw it away. By the time he abandoned the Apple II, and tried to drop prices, it was too late, Windows and the PC had caught up. Meanwhile, Jobs was off buiding the operating system that would fix the original problems with the Mac and lead to Apple’s greatest glories.

      1. Yes—that’s more like what I remember. Thanks for cleaning up the babble. There was also that bit about Sculley licensing parts of the MacOS source code to MS, which ballooned into a near takeover of the world by Bill Gates et al.

  4. There is nothing magical about Steve Jobs. At the time he was at Apple the products that consumers wanted were iPods, iPhones, iPads and great software. If Steve Jobs were there today, I believe the situation would be the same. So as for most companies in the markets that Apple is in, we at this time where a transition to something else is necessary…what would it be is anybody guess..but it will not occur in one year or over night as some people think.

  5. Dopiness Driven Drivel.

    John Sculley was a marketing guy. He lived out the Marketing-As-Management business nightmare.

    Is Tim Cook a marketing guy? Hell no. No comparison here at all.

    If you’re going to shove HATE on Apple for having a down quarter (yes, that’s all it is), then DO SOME VALID RESEARCH FIRST! Otherwise, you look like Dan Nathan who writes for RiskReversal.com. And that’s bad, OK?

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