Tim Cook garners praise from former Apple CEO Sculley

John Sculley, once chief executive at Apple, says Steve Jobs' replacement is doing very well in his new role.

CEO Tim Cook at the Apple Store in Palo Alto, Calif. James Martin/CNET

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 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?" 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. 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 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."

While shares in Apple have struggled to increase in value since the late cofounder passed away on October 5, 2011, Sculley is "optimistic" about the iPad and iPhone maker's financial prospects -- and has not sold any of his 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 reported that Apple's brand is now the most valuable in the world, worth $98.3 billion -- up 28 percent from the 2012 report and 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 market share from rivals, including Apple and Samsung, 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 Blackberry to find a better offer.

This story originally appeared as "Former Apple CEO: Tim Cook 'doing a terrific job'" on ZDNet.

 

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