Apple's ex-CEO on what drives Steve Jobs and how a superbrand was built

Summary:Interview: John Sculley on the early years of Apple and the tablet Cupertino was working on 20 years before the iPad...

...tablet computers, we were well ahead of the game with the Knowledge Navigator and the Newton, probably by 20 years.

"The technology clearly wasn't possible until just recently to give you the magical experience that one has with the iPad or iPhone."

Steve Jobs, Apple iCloud

Sculley believes Apple is in an extraordinary position with its recently launched iCloud service and well established lead in the tablet marketPhoto: Donald Bell/CNET

What the future holds for Apple

Sculley believes the iPad, together with Apple's recently announced iCloud service, will allow Apple to stay at the top of the tablet market for the forseeable future.

"I think Apple is in an extraordinary position. Other people have introduced tablets using the Android operating system but they haven't really caught up. Apple has just got further ahead," Sculley said.

"iPad 2 is a step beyond the original iPad, and I think it's really Apple's game to lose. I think Apple has a long stretch, maybe the next five to 10 years, without much competition."

What's next for Sculley?

Today Sculley is a partner in Sculley Brothers, the venture capitalist firm he helped to found, and spends his time investing in businesses and tutoring entrepreneurs.

Now in his 70s, Sculley said he has no intention of taking the reins at another company.

"I have no interest in being a CEO of any company today. What I do is mentor serial entrepreneurs and I have about half a dozen companies that I am involved with," he said.

"We are focusing on technology-enabled businesses at transformational moments. They are in different domains like healthcare, financial services and telecommunications services."

While the boardroom no longer appeals to Sculley, technology still interests him.

"One has to be really excited about what's going on with mobility," he said.

"Once you start to see true broadband availability for mobile devices and everything connected to cloud computers, it's going to change the way people interact socially, it's going to change the way we can do data-driven analytics for everything from consumer services to business services and revolutionise some of the highest cost parts of our economy such as healthcare."

The intersection between cloud-connected mobile computers and healthcare particularly interests Sculley, who believes devices that can wirelessly stream data about a patient's condition back to healthcare providers could reduce the cost of tackling chronic diseases like diabetes.

"One of the companies I'm involved with is looking at how we empower the patient to be responsible for their own healthcare," he said.

"Healthcare managed to miss the personal computer revolution, it really can't afford to miss out on cloud and mobility."

Topics: Hardware


Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic UK. He writes about the technology that IT-decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.

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