"Samsung is one of the best component designers in the world," Sculley said. "My guess is it's a production problem."
Samsung did not respond to a request to clarify how its battery is manufactured.
But because the battery is built into the Note 7, the design may also have to be altered to fix manufacturing errors, Sculley said. At such a large scale, that could take months, Sculley estimated.
"I think it's a very serious problem — it may be even more serious than people have reflected in the market," Sculley said.