Former Apple Inc. (AAPL) Chief Executive Officer John Sculley, who presided over the company when Steve Jobs left in 1985, said companies in Silicon Valley need to focus on ideas and products and less on profits.
“The real strength of Silicon Valley is very talented people willing to take big risks -- too big -- to do big things,” Sculley said in an interview with Tom Keene on Bloomberg Television’s “Surveillance” today. “The focus should be doing that, not just making money. I can’t recall a single conversation with Bill Gates and Steve Jobs where they ever talked about making money.”
Facebook Inc. (FB), Groupon Inc. (GRPN) and Zynga Inc. (ZNGA), which raised a total of more than $17 billion in initial public offerings in the past year, have since seen their stocks plummet. Silicon Valley companies should be led by product visionaries and not by those from corporate America, said Sculley, who now runs an investment firm and is chairman of 3Cinteractive LLC, a mobile- software developer.
Facebook shares have fallen 47 percent since its initial share sale in May. Groupon is 85 percent off its peak a year ago, while Zynga has fallen 77 percent this year.
“I think he has the right motivations,” Sculley said of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and the company’s IPO. “I don’t think the Facebook problem was Mark Zuckerberg. I think it was all the other people around him.”
Sculley became Apple’s CEO in 1983 and was running the company when Jobs, a co-founder, walked out two years later. Jobs returned to Apple in 1997 and embarked on a comeback that eventually turned it into the world’s most valuable company.
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