Few entrepreneurs have been as successful across so many fields as John Sculley, one of America’s best-known business leaders. Best known today as the former CEO of Apple Computer, Sculley’s corporate career began in 1967 when, armed with a Wharton MBA, he was hired by Pepsi-Cola Company as a trainee. By 1977, Sculley was Pepsi’s youngest president & CEO. In 1983, Apple founder Steve Jobs persuaded Sculley to transfer his consumer marketing talent to personal computers with the now famous question, “Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life or come with me and change the world?”
In April, l983 Sculley joined Steve Jobs and became CEO and president of Apple. His decade-long stay at Apple also saw Jobs being ousted from his job after a power struggle. Sculley was forced to resign in 1993 because he refused to license the Macintosh technology.
Cut to present. Sculley is aggressively promoting Obi Mobiles, which aims to be India’s fastest growing smartphone brand. He is doing this via Inflexionpoint, an IT distribution company owned by him, which is investing in setting up a design centre, supply chain, sales and marketing network to lay a robust foundation for Obi Mobiles, in the country. India is the company’s first stop for investments, marketing and sales, before spreading the handset brand and business to growing markets in Asia Pacific, Middle East and Latin America. “The focus is to build an international mobile brand in India with an aim to provide the best quality technology and become a great global mobile company,” he told Sudhir Chowdhary in a recent interaction. Excerpts:
Indian smartphone market is superhot these days with numerous players fighting for market share. Aren’t you a bit late in entering the market?
I think we are entering at a pretty good time because India has just moved to 3G and it did not make much sense to try and launch a smartphone at 2G phase. India has been developing its own regional brands. It has got Micromax, Lava, Karbonn Mobiles among others and they have done quite well. But we are at a point where commoditisation of hardware has come down so rapidly, that it is now totally practical to make highest quality of devices that could be sold at reasonable price point in India.
It is estimated that in India over 300 million mobile devices are sold a year, but majority of them