John Sculley Clarifies Comments For TMO About Apple Using Intel

Former Apple CEO John Sculley sent us a note to clarify some comments he made, as well as TMOis interpretation of those comments, at the Silicon Valley 4.0 conference earlier this month. Our story was a reference article that quoted C|Netis coverage of the conference. From that coverage, we included the following:

At the same time, Apple was making decisions that would come to haunt it, Sculley said. It chose not to adopt Intel chips, for instance.

"It was probably one of the biggest strategic mistakes Apple ever made," he said. Sculley also complimented Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and Michael Dell, founder of computer maker Dell.

In our Spin, we offered the following opinion regarding those comments:

As for adopting Intel early on, we are surprised to hear that from someone who was in the thick of things as the Mac was nearing its release. When Apple developed and introduced the Mac, Intel didnit have a processor capable of doing what the Mac needed. The 68k processor from Motorola was light-years ahead of Intelis x86 line of chips, just as the PowerPC was light years ahead of the 486 or Pentium processor when it was released. There is a legitimate case to be made for Apple switching to Intel in the last few years, though such a case would be wrong, but embracing Intel for the original Mac? Not possible.

Curious comments indeed.

It turns out, according to Mr. Sculley, that we were taking his comments completely out of context. He wrote to us with the following note:

Hi Bryan and Vern,

I read your article which attributed a comment to me about Intel and Apple from our panel at Silicon Valley 4.0 and wanted to clear up some confusion in your reporting.

The example I gave was about Appleis decision on what would come after the end-of-life on the Motorola 68,000.

In 1992, Apple was faced with an end-of-life for the 68k around 1993/94. At that time, it took about 3 years to do a "heart transplant" of the Mac OS to a new instruction set since the Mac OS was written in assembler and porting tools were still pretty primitive in the early 1990is. Meanwhile Intel was migrating from "integer arithmetic" to "floating point", because Windows needed floating point in order to be more like the Mac. Your reporter was correct that the only processor that the "original Mac" could have run on was the Motorola 68k, but I was telling the audience about a decision Apple made in 1992, not 1982!

Maybe your reporter wasnit in the audience and got my comments second hand.

All the Best,


Mr. Sculley was right: We were not in the audience, we did take those comments out of context, and we appreciate the clarification.