Ex-Apple CEO wanted to bid for BlackBerry

Seemingly out of nowhere John Sculley, the former CEO of Apple Inc. for a decade starting in 1983 was rustling up investors for a bid to get BlackBerry Ltd. of Waterloo, Ont.

Sculley has had a storied career in business becoming the president of PepsiCo in 1977 to the leadership of Apple until the end of 1993.

One of his most famous moves was getting rid of Steve Jobs from the company he co-founded in 1986. Sculley was also credited with coining the term Personal Digital Assistant or PDA during the launch of the failed Apple Newton product.

But the possibility of getting control of BlackBerry would have been an equally bold move in his career. Yesterday, CDN learned that Sculley was working on lining up investors to make a bid for BlackBerry.

During this process Sculley was then said to be “surprised” when the Fairfax Financial  failed to find investors to take BlackBerry private and then pulled out of the plan to sell itself.

On the show Bloomberg Surveillance, Sculley said that he was “pretty confident” that he could get the funds necessary to cut a deal for BlackBerry. Sculley is currently the chairman of Pivot Technology Solutions Inc., a holding company for IT vendors. Sculley also said on the Bloomberg show that he did not think Prem Watsa, the CEO of Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd., wasn’t going to be able to get the money to close the deal. Sculley then said he tactically decided to hold-on and wait for a price drop running the risk of a bidding war.

Instead FairFax signed a deal that put $1 billion into the smartphone maker by selling convertible debentures. Fairfax, BlackBerry’s largest shareholder, put up $250 million of that in a deal that it wants to finalize in the next two weeks. Combined with the $2.6 billion in cash BlackBerry has on hand, that would give it $3.6 billion that could be stretched several years — particularly as it chops staff and what it considers non-essential projects.

The fall-out of this claimed the job of CEO Thorsten Heins. Former Sybase Inc. chairman and CEO John Chen was then hired to run the company. So the high tech world will never know what could have happened with a Sculley-controlled BlackBerry.

Two quick hits before I go: CDN offers its congratulations for Lloyd Bryant, who was named earlier this week to the top job at HP Canada. It was long overdue, but Bryant certainly deserves it and will do a fantastic job for HP, its employees and the many loyal channel partners.

CA Technologies has finally come to their senses and appointed Adam Famularo as its North American channel chief. Famularo is one of the bright minds of the channel and he should have gotten the job as soon as Bill Lipson left. He was tasked to craft CA’s cloud strategy, which I guess, is important and that did hold up his appointment.  CDN congratulates him.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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