Apple's move to raise money is smart: Ex-CEO

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Apple's move to tap the bond market, despite sitting on a hoard of cash, will give the tech giant flexibility, former CEO John Sculley said Tuesday.

"It's probably a smart thing to do, the access to capital is good. And as we say in the high-tech world: You raise money when you can," he told CNBC at the Web Summit tech conference in Dublin.

John Sculley
Adam Jeffery | CNBC

Apple held calls with debt investors on Monday about a potential bond sale, part of which would be denominated in euros. It has surprised some analysts given the company's record-high share price, $155 billion in cash and a successful launch of its latest smartphone.

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Sculley said the move would give the tech giant more maneuvering room than if it tapped its own reserves.

"I think it will just give Apple more flexibility to things they want to do in the future. They can buy their stock back; they can do other things with it," he said.

Sculley's latest venture is smartphone company Obi Mobiles, but he insists that it poses no threat to his previous employer. With devices priced at $100 to $200, Obi aims to capture a market ignored by Apple: youth in emerging markets.

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Smartphone technology is "pretty much commoditized", according to Sculley, who has brought in a design team from both Apple and Beats to work for the company. "And we think we can differentiate in a commoditized market at very disruptive prices with great design and with good marketing," he said.

He added that Obi will "never" have a U.S. presence. "We're focused on an entirely different market."