If you've ever wondered why one made the iPod while the other made the Zune. Why one made the iPhone while the other made the Kin. Why one made the iPad while the other didn't make anything at all. This interview won't make you wonder anymore.
Former CEO John Sculley was not a good fit at Apple. By some accounts, he nearly drove the company to its death.
Founder Steve Jobs has never forgiven Sculley for almost destroying his baby. He won't speak to him to this day. But Sculley still holds Jobs in tremendous regard. And in this frank interview with Cult of Mac, he also provides one of the most telling anecdotes on what separates Apple from Microsoft.
A friend of mine was at meetings at Apple and Microsoft on the same day and this was in the last year, so this was recently. He went into the Apple meeting (he's a vendor for Apple) and when he went into the meeting at Apple as soon as the designers walked in the room, everyone stopped talking because the designers are the most respected people in the organization. Everyone knows the designers speak for Steve because they have direct reporting to him. It is only at Apple where design reports directly to the CEO.
Later in the day he was at Microsoft. When he went into the Microsoft meeting, everybody was talking and then the meeting starts and no designers ever walk into the room. All the technical people are sitting there trying to add their ideas of what ought to be in the design. That's a recipe for disaster.
Microsoft hires some of the smartest people in the world. They are known for their incredibly challenging test they put people through to get hired. It's not an issue of people being smart and talented. It's that design at Apple is at the highest level of the organization, led by Steve personally. Design at other companies is not there. It is buried down in the bureaucracy somewhere... In bureaucracies many people have the authority to say no, not the authority to say yes. So you end up with products with compromises.
Products with comprises. Three more words that don't inspire confidence leading up to the launch of Windows Phone 7.
(With the first three words being, of course, Windows Phone 7. Jesus, what a terrible name.)