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Interview: Former Apple CEO and Obi Mobiles founder John Sculley

Annie Bricker | Oct. 8, 2014
Sculley talked about Obi's role in the smartphone market and the massive changes marketing has seen since his start in the 1970s.

John Sculley is perhaps most famously known for his successful and ultimately controversial tenure at Apple. Directly off of his success with the "Pepsi Challenge" campaign at Pepsi Cola Co., Sculley was recruited by Apple in 1983 to support the sales of the Apple II as work on Mac was completed. By the time Sculley left Apple in 1993 revenues of the iconic company had increased by an astronomical 1000 percent. While at Apple he was named "Marketing Man of the Year" by Advertising Age and AdWeek, solidifying his position as one of this generations great marketers.

Since leaving Apple, Sculley has invested in a number of companies in their early stages. He has put his marketing expertise behind companies that he sees as "game changing," those that will transform the way we look at technology. In addition to the founding of his family investment office, Sculley Brothers, John Sculley has become a mentor for entrepreneurs everywhere. His book "Odyssey: Pepsi to Apple: A Journey of Adventure, Ideas, and the Future" was considered an industry hit, and his follow-up, "Moonshot!: Game-Changing Strategies to Build Billion-Dollar Businesses" is set to become a must-have for in-office libraries.

Sculley dropped into Dubai's Armani Hotel for the launch of his new smartphone line, Obi. Sculley is the co-founder and Managing Partner at Toronto based investment and acquisition company, Inflexionpoint, which has launched the new consumer technology venture with the flagship 5-inch octa-core smartphone, the Octopus S520; the Hornbill S551; the Falcon S451; the Wolverine S501; and a power bank feature phone, the F240.

CNME's Deputy Editor Annie Bricker sat down with Sculley at the regional launch event to discuss the company's role in the smartphone market and the massive changes marketing has seen since his start in the 1970s.

Obi had an exceptional reception following their release in the Indian market. Do you think that its possible to duplicate such a success in the UAE market considering consumers in the region are often luxury and brand focused?
I think that the aspiration will work everywhere. The aspiration at Obi is very similar to what we built at Apple, with the idea that we are selling not the technology but the experience. What is happening now in mobile devices is that they have become a commodity with numerous companies jumping in to sell products that look like each other. The people who were market leaders for a number of years are now losing money. There are people that would love to have an iPhone 6, but simply cannot afford to make that kind of purchase. These people are likely young, and want to make the smartphone a large part of their personal life. In response, we have built a company that is very lean and carries very little overhead. We lag around six to nine months behind the industry technology as it commoditises and put our focus, rather, on design.


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