Former Apple CEO Thinks Microsoft Is Tone Deaf To Users

The Redmond Empire is going through perhaps the most critical phases of its history. The looming retirement of CEO Steve Ballmer, coupled with the company’s transition towards a devices and services concept means that things could not get more interesting.

In essence, even with remarkable financials, there are some doubts about the long term future of the company, particularly when it comes to how it appeals to end consumers.

But while analysts and market watchers have regularly weighed in on Microsoft’s past, present and future, it is not often we hear from competitors — former competitors in this case.

John Sculley, former president of PepsiCo and CEO of Apple from 1983 to 1993 in a recent interview with Bloomberg shared his thoughts on Microsoft.

He believes that Microsoft’s primary mistake was how it handled the consumer business, as the software titan preferred to focus on the enterprise market:

“Where they had not done a good job is where it has to do with consumers. They’ve been totally tone deaf.

You have to start with the vision that Ballmer has laid out. The question is: do they have any evidence that they can do well in that. I don’t think they’ll ever be like Apple. Apple is a culture as much as it is a product technology company. There’s nothing inside Microsoft that suggests they’re going to be a consumer shaped company.”

Sculley, during his time at Apple was a bit of a controversial figure in the sense that he departed from Steve Job’s focus on future innovation and instead shifted attention on current products and profitability.

It was during his time in 1992 that Apple took the crown from IBM for the bestselling PC in the world.

And while Microsoft is trying to turn things around in its quest to become a devices and services company, there are a lot of factors involved in this affair — the hardware partners being one of the prime considerations — if it wants to succeed in the end consumer market.

What are your thoughts on Sculley’s recent remarks? The comment box below is open for business.

  • Mike Greenway

    I don’t thing they are surprising or interesting.

  • Ray C

    Of course what else would he say. He is still an Apple guy for the most part. You can’t compare anything that has gone on recently how Apple was able to beat IBM in the PC industry. There were market changes that IBM just refuse to see coming, and both Apple and Microsoft made their moves. The restructuring is not just about trying to be like Apple. Microsoft needs to streamline itself as a company. It’s not mostly about customers anyway. Yes, it might help them serve customers better, but it’s more about how they function as a company. So, customers don’t want Microsoft to restructure? Is there anything that happens in tech anymore that is not someone trying to be like Apple or beat Apple to the punch? Sounds like just another one of these analyst who think Apple should be the mobile device company, Sony should be the gaming company, and Microsoft should be everything else. It’s a joke. A lot of these analyst are like friends who offer you advice. If you only do 7/10 things they suggest, somehow you were completely not listening at all.