Ex-CEO John Sculley Thinks Apple Is Experiencing A “Lull In Innovation” And He Would Know

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Ex-Apple CEO John Sculley’s tenure at Apple was marked for a lack in innovation that eventually almost sunk the company, before Steve Jobs came back to rescue it in the late 90s. So he’s an expert in what makes a company go wrong.

According to Sculley, that’s just what is happening in the Tim Cook years. He says the company is experiencing another “lull in innovation” and needs to find its next creative leap.

Speaking to CNBA Asia, Sculley said:

You have periods of time that are creative leap areas. That’s what Apple’s excels at – it’s a creative leap company. In the last ten years we’ve had in technology a creative leap decade. We’ve seen social media, we’ve seen 3G, mobile wireless, you’ve seem companies like Apple, Google, Facebook, all doing extremely well.

Then you run into a decade like we’re just sort of in right now – the fast follower evolution decade,” he continues, “We’re not at a big breakthrough point in time, but fast followers excel. So Samsung, an excellent fast follower is doing really well.

What Apple needs is the next era of creative leap.

What’s the next big thing? According to Sculley… uh… sensors.

“They are estimating 30 billion connected devices, machine to machine, over the next decade. Sensors, the things we have in cameras, things that can sense almost anything, are going to be very important in the next big creative leap.”

Well, yeah, but sensors are just parts. Apple makes products. So don’t hold your breath for the next big thing to be the iSense, although there’s obviously a lot of potential in a future iWatch that can see and react to a lot more of the world around us.

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  • Gadget

    I’m sure this idiot knows everything coming down the Apple pipeline.

  • lwdesign1

    Hogwash! Sculley’s viewpoint is somehow that Apple isn’t doing so well these days, which is simply untrue. Take a look at Apple’s recent financials: More money in the bank than ever, more products sold and more profits than at any other time. Apple is not in trouble internally at all. The ONLY thing that’s happening is that there is a concerted effort to badmouth Apple by the Wall Street Journal and the NY Times, etc., and it’s all this noise that’s making investors skittish and sell their stock. The WSJ, NYT and now John Sculley would have you believe that somehow Apple is floundering, based on wild speculations, while purposely ignoring how successful the company is, and how loved its products are, and how Apple can hardly keep up with demand. Take one of the richest and most successful companies in the world (Apple) and then spread rumors of “lack of innovation” and “not the same since Steve Jobs died” and other hogwash, and you can fool the gullible and take their attention off the highest ever sales and profits. This is what’s called insanity folks!

  • MrsCleaver

    Yeah, John Sculley would know about a “lull in innovation”, a term that exactly describes his entire time at Apple. Sculley joins Steve Wozniak and Guy Kawasaki as charter members of the (thankfully small) club of former Apple employees looking to make a buck from any negative proclamation regarding the company that made them rich and famous.

    Steve Jobs—faults and all—created, innovated and helped change the way tens of millions of us work and play. The Woz, the Ape and the even more worthless Sculley are just grasping at those very big coat tails.

  • bdkennedy

    I’m a failed technology leader. Take my advice.

  • lwdesign1

    Why was my earlier post on this article deleted? It wasn’t offensive, nor did it contain vulgarities or anything even resembling questionable content.

  • Waitforit

    To be original and innovative, you need to be totally focused, unforgiving, uncompromising and a little bit of a nut. All I can see is everyone looking around the curtain, watching what everyone else is doing. There’s your lull. Dream of the future, then work your ass off to make it happen. That’s innovation.

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his girlfriend and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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