Steve Jobs and John Sculley at the time they both worked at Apple.
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) – After an epic power struggle, then-Apple CEO John Sculley fired Steve Jobs from the company Jobs founded. Sculley now says that he wishes he had hired him again.
“I would have liked, in hindsight, to look up Steve again and say, ‘I want to help you get back to Apple,'” the former executive told CNNMoney. “I wish Apple had rehired him sooner.”
Sculley himself was forced to leave Apple in 1993 over a dispute over the licensing of Macintosh software to other PC manufacturers. The board of directors was in favor of letting other computer manufacturers use it, but Sculley was against it.
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After his departure, Apple ended up licensing its software, which turned out to be a big mistake. By the time Apple rehired Steve Jobs in 1997, the company was posting huge losses.
Sculley believes that had he remedied his differences with Jobs earlier and brought him back during his tenure, the company would not have been in such dire straits in the late 1990s.
“When Steve came back, the first thing he did was cancel the licensing,” Sculley said. “At that time, only Steve Jobs could have revived the business. There is no way that I would have done the things that Steve Jobs did. “
Sculley paid his highest praise to current Apple CEO Tim Cook, who in his opinion is “exactly the right man” for the job. “I say it without reservation. Tim is doing a brilliant job. “
Sculley said comparing Cook to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer was unfair. Although both came from an operational position and ended up replacing tech geniuses at the helm of their respective companies, Cook has been able to give in to Apple’s seasoned designers and engineers, while Ballmer was a headstrong leader.
“People have to get over the analogies with Steve Ballmer; he [Cook] It’s not Steve Ballmer, ”he said. “Tim is open-minded, egoless, and has recruited highly skilled talent to fill the void that Jobs left.”
He said the remarkable turnaround Apple has made in the past decade doesn’t leave a sour taste in your mouth. He says he only has “good feelings” for the company, and he has a sense of accomplishment because the marketing strategy he helped come up with hasn’t changed much in the last 30 years.
However, if he were the CEO of the company today, perhaps one of his most famous accomplishments would ever have happened. Sculley (the marketing genius behind the Pepsi Challenge) ran Apple during the famous 1984 Super Bowl commercial, the one inspired by Orwell’s novel. That one-minute ad cost him $ 650,000 according to Fred Goldberg, the advertising executive who handled the apple brand’s account. This year, Super Bowl commercials approached $ 5 million for a 30-second ad.
Would Sculley air the same Super Bowl commercial if he were running Apple today?
“No, the answer is no,” Sculley said. “We are in a different era today. We know much more about our customers. We use available cloud marketing tools to build customer relationships.”
Sculley is now a marketing and technology entrepreneur, investing in Internet companies such as analytics firm Zeta Interactive, rake company 800Razors.com, and healthcare technology company MDLive.
In his new book, ‘Moonshot!’, He discusses strategies that help startup founders grow their companies into multi-million dollar businesses.
His main advice to young entrepreneurs: Create a product that customers love. Customers are the ones who are now in control, they pay more attention to the experiences of other customers than to the advertising of companies.
“Business plans are almost out of date these days,” Sculley said. “There is nothing more powerful than happy customers.”