Report: ex-Apple CEO John Sculley considering BlackBerry bid

The struggling phone-manufacturer is currently set to be bought by Farifax Financial but remains open to other offers until 4 Novemeber

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The Independent Tech

John Sculley, the former Apple CEO who oversaw Steve Jobs’ expulsion from the company, is exploring a bid to takeover BlackBerry, according to reports from The Globe and Mail.

The Canadian paper was informed of Sculley’s interest by unnamed sources, but Sculley himself refused to comment, noting only that he was “a long-time BlackBerry fan and user.”

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

“Whoever buys it would have to have a strategic plan that was credible and could succeed, and they would want to have an experienced team that would be able to implement that plan.”

The Canadian phone-maker once dominated the mobile market but failed to anticipate the rise of Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android operating system.

BlackBerry agreed to a $4.7 billion (£2.91bn) sale to the Fairfax Financial holding company in September this year, with Fairfax announcing its intent to take the company private.

However, the company remains open to other offers until 4 Novemeber and many commentators believe that it still has a lot of value, including its portfolio of patents (valued at between $2bn and $3bn).

The company is continuing to develop its handsets, recently rolling out the latest update to its BlackBerry 10 operating system, and celebrating 10 million downloads of its messaging app, BBM messenger, within 24 hours of release.

John Sculley vs Steve Jobs?

For many tech fans Sculley is best known as the man who fired Steve Jobs. From 1977 Sculley was the president of PepsiCo but was lured to Apple in 1983 by Steve Jobs’ famous pitch: “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?”

Unfortunately their partnership was far from utopian, with Jobs’ erratic management style irritating the company’s board of directors, whilst Jobs himself believed that Sculley was “bad for Apple”.

Matters came to a head in May 1985 when Sculley learnt that Jobs was attempting to oust him. The pair took the matter before the board, and they sided with Sculley, essentially firing Jobs by separating him from the rest of the company. Jobs resigned five months later.

However, since those events both men have said that Jobs' departure was for the best. In a recent conference in Bali Sculley said that back then Jobs was “not a great executive”: “The great Steve Jobs that we know today, as maybe the world’s greatest CEO, certainly of our era, he learned a lot in those years in the wilderness.”

Jobs expressed similar sentiments before his death in 2011, describing the firing in 2005 as “awful-tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it”: “The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life." 

He returned to Apple in 1995 and after introducing the iMac, the iPod and the iPhone made the company he co-founded the most valuable in the world.