Ex-Apple Inc. chief John Sculley says he likes new BlackBerry chief John Chen’s open letter but may eye BlackBerry again if Chen’s turnaround plan fails.
Chen, who joined BlackBerry as interim chief executive officer and executive chairman a month ago after talks to sell the company collapsed, did with his letter “exactly what strong leaders are expected to do in a crisis,” Sculley told United Press International.
“He sent a clear message to all BlackBerry stakeholders that he has a plan with enough detail to build confidence he knows what he is doing. I’m impressed,” Sculley said.
“The question still lingers,” Sculley added: “Is his plan the best plan to unlock shareholder value?”
Sculley told UPI in an interview he has a great deal of respect for Chen.
“I’m assuming that he will be successful” in his plans to reposition BlackBerry, Sculley said.
“But if for some reason things don’t work out, and the company is interested in having other people look at it, we would probably go back and revisit it,” he said.
“The strategic reasons we were thinking of for our plan, we think, would probably still make sense,” said Sculley, a board member of enterprise mobile software company OpenPeak Inc. of Boca Raton, Fla.
OpenPeak, which helps companies manage business data on personal devices and ensure its security, has a contractual relationship with the BlackBerry Enterprise Service division and has worked with its team members, Sculley told UPI.
“We knew they were a very competent group,” he said.
“Our interest in [considering a bid for] BlackBerry was that, while we already have a major relationship with AT&T and a relationship with BlackBerry, we were intrigued by the 675 wireless carriers that BlackBerry has relationships with through the BES organization around the world,” he said.
“He said, ‘Gee, if we were to put those businesses together, we could dramatically scale the expansion of our OpenPeak technology and it would create a very valuable business, we felt,” Sculley told UPI.
“We also felt the device business needed to be uncoupled from the BES business,” he said. “So that’s where our strategy would be different than what John Chen is doing.”
In his exploration of a BlackBerry bid, Sculley and partners talked with “major pension funds, mutual funds and private-equity funds, and there was a great deal of enthusiasm for the strategy we had,” he said.
“We felt pretty confident that if the auction had proceeded, we would have had the possibility of being successful,” he said.
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