Apple is ‘doing what’s right’ in iPhone encryption case, former CEO John Sculley says

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley.

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley believes that his old company is doing an excellent job in the debate with the U.S. government over helping it decrypt San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook’s iPhone.

Sculley laid out his views on the subject in an interview today with VentureBeat. Here’s what he said:

I have a very strong opinion [on the subject]. I think Tim Cook has handled this situation extremely well. In fact he’s done such a good job at it that I’m sure he’ll end up being a Harvard Business School case history of how an executive manages a crisis.

They obviously have issues that need to be, you know, appreciated and understood and clarified regarding security. Nobody wants terrorists doing bad things. But the reality is to go out and take a look at the 1789 All Writs Act law and use that as an example, and they say they want to create a precedent to open up privacy on people’s smartphones — I think that was, you know not well thought out before they went and did that.

Absolutely, I think they’re doing what’s right. What Tim Cook has said — he said, “Look, it’s not Apple’s role to determine law. … We have the Constitution, we have Congress, and we have Supreme Court. Let’s do it the way we do things in other big issues in the history of the country. Let Congress weigh in and let the Supreme Court weigh in. Why should Apple be the one that has to determine all these things?”

The way the law is now on privacy and freedom of speech, I think Tim Cook has handled it exactly as he should.

It’s not surprising to see Sculley sticking up for the company he used to run, but he is one more prominent person taking Apple’s side in this complex controversy. Other technology executives, such as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, have also announced their support for the iPhone maker.

Sculley, author of the 2014 book Moonshots, has been busy as of late. He’s a cofounder of Obi Worldphone, a company selling low-priced Android phones in Asia, the Middle East, and South Africa. And he’s more directly involved with PeoplePicker, a company that maintains a database of pay rates for every job in the U.S., and RxAdvance, a company seeking to lower pharmaceutical costs using big data analytics.

For a full rundown of the Apple-FBI case, check out our timeline.

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Former Vodafone boss backs India’s music-streaming service Saavn as it hits 18M users


Mumbai-based music-streaming service Saavn announced Thursday that former Vodafone chief executive Arun Sarin has joined as an investor and strategic advisor.

The news comes less than three months after the company announced $ 100 million in fresh funding. At the time, it said it was adding one million new users per month, with 14 million in total.

As of today, that number has grown to 18 million monthly active users, which it says represents a tenfold increase in daily active users in India since last year.

Beyond that, it’s claiming more than 20 million songs (over 250 million streams per month) and a global team of 145 people across five offices.

“Music streaming is a core app on today’s smartphones, and Saavn is superbly positioned to grow rapidly in the fast expanding smartphone market in India,” Sarin said in a statement.

“As an innovative and nimble music-streaming company, at the heart of one of the world’s most valuable markets, Saavn hits all the right notes,” he added.

Meanwhile, the company’s cofounder and chief executive, Rishi Malhotra, said that over 90 percent of the service’s usage is driven by smartphones, and that it plans to “work more deeply with carriers in India and additional territories” in the coming months.

Sarin’s investment amount was not disclosed.

The company’s most recent series C round in July was led by New York-based hedge fund Tiger Global Management, and at the time it said that it expects to hit 20 million users by the end of the year.

But while the service may be the market leader on its home turf in India, it certainly has its work cut out if it hopes to expand globally — an area in which Sarin’s expertise will no doubt help. That said, the company did not make any mention of expansion plans today.

In general, the music-streaming space has been busy.

Earlier this week, we reported that Deezer is planning an IPO later this year as the battle with rivals Spotify and Apple Music heats up. And Google Play Music continues to expand with its official entry into Japan a few weeks ago.

Microsoft’s Groove Music just announced support on Sonos speakers, and Spotify hasn’t managed to keep out of headlines either: On Wednesday it launched its new “Mix Mates” playlist generator to help friends find music they share in common. (We also heard rumors that Spotify will be supported on Google’s upcoming second-generation Chromecast.)

The announcements from Saavn today are encouraging, but it’s only just the beginning of the global music-streaming wars — and versus many of the other big players, its user numbers are still relatively low.

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