I’ve been an Apple customer for most of the past 20 years and I don’t remember a time when Apple wasn’t doomed, wasn’t beleaguered, wasn’t what it once was. Oh really? What are the signs of a company’s impending demise, and how does Apple stack up to the list?
If Apple has peaked then Hillary Clinton wants me to take over as Secretary of State.
It’s All Downhill From Here
How many ways can Apple’s demise be said? Former Apple employee Dan Crow says Apple has already peaked, and it’s all downhill from here.
Alright. Everyone, even former employees, is entitled to an opinion, even one who wasn’t smart enough to stick around while Apple’s stock was touching the Gates of Heaven.
Wait. Sour Grapes Alert.
Crow worked for Apple back in the 1990s, so he’s qualified to tell us what’s good and what’s not good about Apple even though he wasn’t around as Apple was piling up hit product after hit product and fortune after fortune.
Why is Apple going downhill? Apple Maps on iOS 6 (debacle). Apple launched an iPad 4 only six months after the iPad 3 (insulting). Apple fired some employees (scandal).
That’s it? That’s all you got?
Wait. There’s more. Hype for the iPhone 5 doesn’t match the product. Yet, Crow manages to say the iPhone 5 is probably the best smart phone on the market. Say what? It doesn’t match the hype, but it’s the best?
Crow also worked for a few years at Google.
At Google, products are built by largely self-directed teams, so there is little consistency between them. Apple builds extremely integrated products, designing everything from the CPUs to the industrial design, the software, the marketing, even the stores in which they are sold. This results in extremely consistent and holistic products. But it relies on the person at the top having the vision and creativity to design the right products.
Ostensibly, that person was Steve Jobs and he’s dead, so, well, you know the story. Apple is doomed. Innovation is dead.
Without describing any of the details needed to make a judgement, Crow continues.
Apple has serious structural faults. The loss of Steve was devastating – the entire company was built around him and the mistakes we have seen since he left are entirely consistent with a very hierarchical organisation trying to find its way without its leader. I think in hindsight, we will see that Apple’s peak of creativity, innovation and leadership was early 2012.
Let’s back up a bit in the timeline. The impression gathered from Crow’s missive is that Apple cannot function as it has because Steve Jobs is gone. Yet, it was Tim Cook who was running Apple’s day-to-day operation for years before Jobs’ death.
All those years brought about record growth, record revenue, and record profits. Has that changed? Where is the evidence?
That’s the key word. Evidence. What determines when a company in going downhill? A former employee who didn’t stick around during the glory years (and could have been rich with stock options), or some other metric?
Articles about Apple’s impending doom, lack of innovation, internal turmoil, and missteps have been around since I bought my first Mac (an LC). Not much has changed. Tech pundits and ex-employees watch Apple and criticize. Apple continues to create products we love, buy, and use. Apple continues to sell more products, make more money, and stow away greater profits.
So, what’s the real metric for Apple’s demise? Not anecdotal opinion pieces, penned in sour grape ink, but something solid and chewable. To hear the pundits tell it, iOS 6 and iPhone 5 are merely incremental improvements, which is proof that Apple has lost its way. Where’s the connection? Has Apple ever launched a revolutionary product one after the other, year after year? No.
That Android OS is on more smart phones than iOS is on iPhones doesn’t impress me. Google hasn’t figured out how to make money with Android (which, as well all know, is merely a copycat iPhone– so much for innovation at Google), and is dogged by a slowing advertisement model, and investments that haven’t paid a dividend (Motorola).
Meanwhile, Apple invented the current smart phone genre and rules in revenue and profits over all comers. Apple invented the current tablet genre, and, again, rules in revenue and profits over all comers. Isn’t giving away a Kindle Fire HD or Nexus 7 tablet at cost an act of desperation? If Apple is doomed, beleaguered, and heading downhill, where’s the proof?