Former Apple CEO: Tim Cook 'doing a terrific job'

Former Apple CEO: Tim Cook 'doing a terrific job'

Summary: One of Apple's former chief executives has said that Tim Cook, Steve Jobs' replacement, is doing very well in his new role.


John Sculley, former CEO of Apple, says that Tim Cook is doing a "terrific job" leading the electronics maker forward.

Sculley acted as Apple CEO from 1983 - 1993 after serving as chief executive at Pepsi Co -- and 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?" In an interview about the late co-founder, Sculley discussed the rumors of a disagreement between whether Apple devices should be IBM-compatible -- which led to a fall-out between Jobs and Sculley -- and resulted in the pair lobbying the board for each other's removal. Speaking to the BBC, Sculley said:

"When the Macintosh Office was introduced in 1985 and failed Steve went into a very deep funk. He was depressed, and he and I had a major disagreement where he wanted to cut the price of the Macintosh and I wanted to focus on the Apple II because we were a public company."

However, while discussing the new CEO Tim Cook, who has been at the helm for over 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."

While shares in Apple have struggled to increase in value since the late co-founder passed away on 5 October 2011, Sculley is "optimistic" about the iPad and iPhone maker's financial prospects -- and has not sold any of his own shares as a result.

"I'm still very optimistic that Apple's going to do just fine," Sculley commented. "It doesn't mean that Android won't be larger in market share, it already is, but Apple makes great quality products."

In an annual report titled “The Best Global Brands,” consultancy firm Interbrand said that the iPad and iPhone maker's brand is now the most valuable in the world, worth $98.3 billion, up 28 percent from the 2012 report -- overtaking the previous No. 1 brand, Coca-Cola.

When the interview moved on to the topic of BlackBerry, the former Apple CEO said he is "absolutely convinced" the firm can survive -- a view that BlackBerry is trying to promote. Sculley said:

"The challenge is you can't sell a phone for $700 in most of the world, so there has to be some real rationalization on the device side of the business. If you can strategically separate the device side of the business, it can be under the same ownership, but operationally separate from the enterprise service business, there's a terrific chance to turn BlackBerry around."

In a recent pitch to the enterprise community, a trio of BlackBerry executives attempted to put worries over corporate turmoil and financial strain at rest. While BlackBerry was late to the mobile device game and lost the chance to snag valuable marketshare from rivals including Apple and Samsung as a result, the future may lie in focusing on the enterprise. Stephen Bates, head of BlackBerry's enterprise business, commented:

"A lot of people trust the BlackBerry platform. I believe the future is bright and BlackBerry is here to stay."

According to Reuters, Cisco Systems, Google Inc and SAP are all in discussions with the struggling smartphone maker over potentially buying out part or all of the firm. Initial interest could trump the alternative deal laid out by the firm's largest shareholder, Fairfax Financial Holdings, which would like to take the firm private for roughly $4.7 billion. A six-week period allows the firm to find a better offer. 

Topic: Apple

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  • If there is one thing John Sculley knows...'s how to run Apple...into the ground, that is.
    • Yup

      With Tim Cook, Apple shares sank [at least at one point] 40% and there is no innovation. iPhone 5S has been either a bad catch-up to the competitors or a buggy piece of junk.
  • Blackberry wasn't "Late to the Mobile Device Game"

    They were very slow to change and adapt... but they were early to the game and had a big lead in smartphones.
  • Humm..

    "While shares in Apple have struggled to increase in value since the late co-founder passed away on 5 October 2011..."

    The day before Steve passed the stock was at $489. A year later the stock was trading at over $700. While today the Stock has settled back to the level when Steve passed today at $490. So while when compared to a time slice of then and today the price has stayed the same this is more indicative of the market overall.

    For example Google on October 4, 2011 was $861 and today it's at lol…$861! This means that Google would have had to hit $1800 a share to equal Apple's stock increases over the period which of course never happened.

    This is my issue with press reporting of Apple. Doom and Gloom statements that imply something, or invent an issue with Apple, that either does not exist or are bigger than just Apple.
    • Errr

      A reason why stock went up after Cook died was that the products in the pipeline were still from Cook's innovation. Since then there hasn't been any.
      You can also call it a huge market correction.
  • Jobs vs Cook

    Steve Jobs was obsessed with “perfection.” He was a guy who went to college not to get a degree, but to sit in classes that interested him, such as calligraphy (which gave him such a deep appreciation for fonts). Jobs obsessed about creating “the best,” and for him, that mean stunning visuals, a beautiful look, and an intuitive feel. He was a combination of artist, evangelist, OCD, and a bit of businessman. That “bit of businessman” showed when he was at the helm while Apple almost ran aground (in contrast to BMW, for example, which is consistently profitable, even in times of economic challenges).

    Tim Cook is a different kettle of fish. He’s a businessman, like Bill Gates or Larry Ellison, though arguably not of the same caliber. He’s definitely not an artist, nor obsessive about “perfection.” His focus is the bottom line, not creating “the best” products, and we see the results of that changing-of-the-guard with iOS 7. Jobs would have never shown that to the public, much less released it as a product.

    I miss that about the Jobs-era Apple.
  • My best guess at present ...

    ... is that Cook will go the same way of Ballmer.

    Jobs doesn't seem to have left any brilliant ideas so Cook will make stacks of money but do nothing exceptional.
    • iPhone 5 was last Steve Jobs product

      I believe the iPhone 5 was the last of Jobs's products (ideas), though it was brought to market after his passing. I agree with you that Cook will follow the Balmer route. Apple may have already done its last "insanely great" product. Next, is a few years of "more of the same," followed by "how to redefine Apple," then "Holy *&%@#!, what happened? Someone ate our lunch."