BUSINESS

John Sculley, Ex-Apple CEO, Considers BlackBerry Bid

10/24/2013 09:59 EDT
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NEW DELHI, INDIA - JANUARY 17: John Sculley, former CEO Of Apple And president Of Pepsi, on January 17, 2013 in New Delhi, India.(Photo by Manoj Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

A former Apple CEO who famously clashed with Steve Jobs is reportedly considering a bid for BlackBerry.

John Sculley, who spent six years as CEO of Pepsico and a decade at the helm of Apple in the 1980s and 1990s, is exploring a bid for BlackBerry with Canadian partners, the Globe and Mail reports, citing unnamed sources.

BlackBerry would not confirm or deny the reports, telling Reuters it would not comment until it approves a buyout deal or otherwise wraps up the bidding process.

“I’ve been a long-time BlackBerry fan and user,” Sculley told the Globe and Mail.

He said he still believed in the company’s future potential, but turning the struggling smartphone maker around will require experience and expertise.

“The only thing I would say is, I think there’s a lot of future value in Blackberry,” Sculley said, “but without experienced people who have run this type of business, and without a strategic plan, it would be really challenging.”

Fairfax Financial Holdings, run by billionaire Prem Watsa, put in a $4.7-billion bid for BlackBerry last month. The agreement gave BlackBerry six weeks to shop around for a better offer before accepting the deal.

Since then, numerous companies have reportedly expressed interest in a bid. Among them are Lenovo -- said to be interested in expanding its computer business with a smartphone line -- and BlackBerry co-founders Mike Lazaridis and Douglas Fregin.

BlackBerry has seen its global market share shrink to a fraction of what it once was, and recently announced it will be laying off 40 per cent of its staff.

On the positive side, BlackBerry’s move to expand its signature, encrypted message service BBM appears to be a success, at least initially. The company reported 10 million downloads of BBM for Android and the iPhone in the first day of its release.

As CEO of Apple from 1983 to 1993, Sculley saw the company’s revenue rise from $800 million to $8 billion. During that time, Apple’s board clashed with co-founder Steve Jobs over strategy.

The board eventually forced Jobs out of the company, though he would later return and build and build an even more famous name for himself as a visionary consumer-products innovator.

Sculley was forced out of Apple in 1993, after a bad earnings season.

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