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.
RIM Inter@ctive Pager 950 (1998)
The RIM Inter@ctive Pager 950 was one of the first true BlackBerry devices. Released in 1998 it looks more like a large pager - because that's exactly what it was. But it could also handle messages up to 16,000 characters, and came with an Intel 386 processor - which was pretty good at the time. Oh, and it ran for almost a month on a single AA batter. Take that, iPhone. It cost $350 at launch.
RIM 957 Wireless Handheld (2000)
The RIM 957 Wireless Handheld was introduced in April 2000, and was described as a "breakthrough palm sized wireless handheld". It gave users access to the Internet, email, pager and organiser functions, with a 32 bit Intel 386 processor and 5MB of flash memory. It was the first device to offer 'always on" performance, and sold for about $500.
BlackBerry 5810 (2002)
The first true 'BlackBerry' was the 5810 - and it was also the first to include Voice Calls. That's right - the earlier devices weren't even phones, making this the first truly integrated phone-organiser-email-thingy. It was expensive - $749 - but could do just about most of the same things a basic smartphone can do today.
One of the most famous - even iconic - BlackBerry devices ever was the classic blue Blackberry 7230, which came with a 65k colour screen instead of the old monochrome versi0on, as well as 16MB of storage and a battery with up to 240 hours of stand-by. It sold for about $400 at the time, and featured a full QWERTY keyboard.
The BlackBerry 7100 series featured the company's first models without a full keyboard, instead opting for the T9 'SureType' system familiar from other mobiles. The phones were popular with the mass-market as they looked and were sized similar to normal phones,. They were marketed to consumers for about $200.
BlackBerry 8700 (2005)
The BlackBerry 8700 was the first of its handhelds to use high-speed internet via EDGE. It offered much faster browsing and came with a QVGA 320 by 240-pixels screen, as well as Bluetooth support and 64mb of Flash memory.
BlackBerry Pearl (2006)
The Pearl was at the time the smallest BlackBerry ever released. It weighed just over 3 pounds and cost just $200 with a two-year contract. It was the first BlackBerry to come with a camera and a microSD slot.
BlackBerry Curve (2007)
The BlackBerry Curve 8300 came with a camera, a 3.5 headphone jack and a full QWERTY keyboard. It was pretty cheap - $200 on contract - but looked more like a high-end professional device.
BlackBerry Bold (2008)
The BlackBerry Bold is in some ways the ultimate BlackBerry - sleek, dark, with a full QWERTY keyboard and support for 3G networks, 1GB of memory and a higher-resolution display, it pretty much opitimises what the BlackBerry was all about.
BlackBerry Storm (2008)
The Storm was BlackBerry's first phone without a keyboard, and it launched to mixed reviews. It was clear that RIM's software wasn't able to keep up with the current crop of devices, and that BlackBerry needed a relaunch. That wouldn't happen until 2013.
BlackBerry Torch (2010)
The BlackBerry torch was pitched as the first "elite" consumer offering from RIM. It's slider form factor, full keyboard and touchscreen placed it as the mid point between and iPhone and an old school Blackberry, but for reviewers it wasn't able to do either job well and it failed to gain much attention.