Is Apple becoming a maggot-infested fruit? Is a great leader essential to success? Does the widespread view that Apple will never again be quite the same following the death of the visionary power that drove it hold water?
Steve Jobs, the innovative, iconic genius behind Apple died on 5 October 2011, since then so much has happened. And above all, people are still talking about his company, his gadgets, his ruthlessness and whether Apple are doomed to follow Blackberry anytime soon.
The speculation is that Apple’s head-start in the innovation race is being eroded by newer, more hungry and aggressive contenders. Apple could be like Tesco and Manchester United FC, both giants unable to adapt to a new regime after the old glorious one ends.
Catch the Chatter
MBF Blogs take a quick sniff of the prevailing wind to see what people are saying about Steve Jobs and Apple now and in the light of all the new devices and promises and expectations and share prices and all…..
Time, Technology & Media has a piece by Sam Gustin headed: Two Years After Steve Jobs’ Death, Is Apple a Different Company?
Gustin writes: ‘At the heart of the debate about Apple’s future is the tension between radical innovation and incrementalism.’ Jobs’ successor, Tim Cook’s challenge ‘has been to maintain the momentum at the world’s largest and most famous technology company, following a decade-long period of turn-around and innovation with few parallels in corporate history.’
In fact, Cook may be right about incrementalism. The invention of the car was ground-breaking revolutionary; thereafter improvements have been relatively minor.
Gustin goes on, ‘Over the last year, Apple’s once-high flying stock price has shed a quarter of its value, as Wall Street analysts and investors alike have begun to question whether the firm’s greatest days are in the past. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine any executive, no matter how talented, matching Jobs’ track record.’
After years of breath-taking innovation that changed the world (iPods in 2001, iPhones in 2007, and the iPad in 2010), the Cook line that incrementally holding/increasing market share is actually innovation holds little water for Gustin. Cook’s assertion that ‘it’s making things better’ may not be the answer when people demand such rapid newness.
Elie Chahine’s blog begins with similar wording, and then as you read on you find it’s so similar it’s almost exactly the same!
On The Register, Rik Mylewski asks, ‘Two years after Steve Jobs’ death, how’s that new CEO working out?’ and goes on further, ‘Is ‘Timid Tim’ an ‘unmitigated disaster’? Only for the crap Map app flap chap and card-carrying Apple-haters.’
Mylewski evaluates Cook’s performance by reminding everyone that he wasn’t just ‘thrust into the top job with no preparation’, but had been left in charge of “Apple’s day to day operations’ three times before Jobs died, while his health meant he couldn’t be the de facto CEO.
He then discusses whether a visionary is needed, a designer or an administrator, a manager of ‘line, curve, color, materials…’
The Washington Post carries a blog by Brian Fung headed, ‘Two years after his death, Steve Jobs is becoming more abstract. That’s good for Apple.’
Fung cites a memo from Tim Cook to Apple staff to show how the company is still ‘heavily influenced by Jobs’ legacy’, even to the point of debating ‘whether Apple can survive without him.’
The memo reads:
Tomorrow marks the second anniversary of Steve’s death. I hope everyone will reflect on what he meant to all of us and to the world. Steve was an amazing human being and left the world a better place. I think of him often and find enormous strength in memories of his friendship, vision and leadership. He left behind a company that only he could have built and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple. We will continue to honor his memory by dedicating ourselves to the work he loved so much. There is no higher tribute to his memory. I know that he would be proud of all of you. Best, Tim‘
Quite perceptively, Fung thinks Cook’s memo eases the pressure of considering everything through ‘the prism of Jobs, his thoughts and approval’. He is being transformed from ‘a baseline’ into a ‘cultural guide’, which is liberating for Apple.
Other Views of The Same Thing
Yahoo! Finance in a story by Lawrence Lewitinn asks, ‘with Apple’s stock lagging behind the market since then, is the company a good investment?’
The whole drift is that Apple is still an investment not to be written off by any means, that for various political, personal and fiscal reasons rather than technogical, it will rise again.
CNBC also broadcast an assessment from the stock market perspective along with rival manufacturers’ work and commentator Jon Ffort concluded iWatch ‘will be a killer product’ and Apple could still be top. They wrapped it under the label, ‘iConomy’ confirming the significance of the concept.
Daily Finance’s Daniel Sparks used MacRumors to say, ‘Iconic. Innovative. Indispensable. Inventor. Revolutionary. Not many CEOs are permanently associated with words like these….’
Different era, yes, but it is the ‘no new product categories’ that kills it for Sparks.
So, what do YOU think? Steady decline now for Apple or a real change of emphasis?
Other Jobs and Apple blogs:
Steve Jobs: One Year On and Apple Still Counting the Money, the Fame and the Glory, 6 October 2012
Steve Jobs: Always an Iconic and Controversial Figure, Now on Stage, 14 May 2012
A Bite of Apple News a Day Keeps the Boredom Away, 4 September 2012
The Cult of the Smartphone Finally Replaces Common Sense, 13 February 2013
The Smartphone is Becoming the Asset That’s Just Too Big to Lose, 14 January 2013
Apple vs Google: Showdown of the Year, 5 July 2012
Image: Z thomas