See Full Story
Both Steve Jobs and Apple are unique -- well, almost -- in the technology market. Most companies spend their money on lots of product choices and hope to hit a sweet spot for a customer; Apple spends its money on marketing and design and drives customers to the sweet spot it creates. Most CEOs focus on financial performance, investors and big customers; Steve Jobs focuses on design, product presentation and driving employees and suppliers like cattle, leaving the traditional CEO roles largely to others. Apple and Steve Jobs are deeply intertwined.
Anything written by Enderle about Apple is written to discredit Apple. It's propaganda written to slow down the switching until Microsoft delivers their next steaming pile.
Hang in there suckers, Microsoft will get it right this next time for sure.
Rob - Great article. I think you hit on an appropriate comparison, but you blew it in your last sentence. Jobs' focus and Disney's focus was on the top line, not the bottom line. Their laser focus never waivered, and certainly not in downturns. They had great operational folks that made sure the bank accounts could support innovating thru the downturns.
It seems that wherever you turn lately, some columnist or anchor is going off on how there can be no Apple without Steve Jobs. I say Poppycock!
First of all, Apple, Inc. employs some 20,000 people -- most of whom are extremely talented, overly creative, very innovative, and part of a departmentalized and well managed team that is capable of continuing to produce amazing stuff no matter who is at the helm. Second, between their in-house marketing team and outside agencies, the ability to package and promote Apple gadgets ranks among the highest in the industry. And third, the core product line (iPhone, iPod, iTunes, etc...) are established brands that are very popular with consumers.
Sure, there are Wall Street analysts that see uncertainty in upper management change at any publicly traded corporation; and it is understandable that there might be some stockholder concerns, but most of this is unwarranted. Simply put, Apple isn't your average company. Short of new management coming in and eliminating the iPhone and iPod, Apple has years of growth ahead and market share yet to gain.
Personally I think Steve Jobs ruined the company. He turned the leading desktop publishing computer into an appliance. The Mac of today is basically a very expensive toy for the person who has everything. Yes, OS X is pretty, but it doesn't come close to its predecessor, OS 9, when it comes to file management. And sure, the company's house software is great for making home movies, slideshows and listening to music; but the productivity and creative apps have become very bloated, and simply don't perform as well as their counterparts did in the late 90s.
At any rate, Apple is what it is -- a highly successful toy company that serves the needs of 21st Century consumers. I reckon you can thank Steve Jobs for that. But I wouldn't count on the company going down the tubes without him -- this toy story is already written, and there are chapters yet to unfold.
What an interesting comparison. And it goes even down to the megalomania. There were stories about "Uncle Walt" in the same fasion, even a nasty film made amongst the animators once. It raises something of a disturbing question. We, as a culture, raise such people as heroes as we choose to either ignore the "dark side" of them, or moreso remain ignorant of it. Only the vendors or employees know the truth.
The trouble I have with the whole Jobs Cult is that it fails to address real quality issues. I find time and again, if I dare make a comment publicy about any sort of design problem on something like the Apple Discussions Forum, more than likely I will be ostracized...at best. When you have a hero worship like this (and compare it please to the generally universal dissing of Bill Gates, the man we all love to hate) there are no faults that can go unrationalized, or smoothed over.
I only recently (over the past 5 years) bought into Apple, buying a Powerbook G4. It was alright, but had its problems that were suprising for such an evolved machine. Then I "upgraded" to the MacBook Pro, and it is truly amazing the sort of frequent hardware/software problems or simple cosmetic quality problems it has developed. Many more relative to my experience with the Power Book, including something as trivial as the silver paint on a few of the keys wearing off after only some 6 months of use. Space doesn't allow me to delineate, but with my experience of this machine, in comparison to HP's or Dell's which just go on and on like an energizer bunny, (notwithstanding the Vista disaster) I am more than inclined to quit the use of Apple in the future. More and more I feel that whenever I peel back the curtain there is just a little man from Kansas at the controls. You might meet the deadline for the next Mac Expo, but just can't build anything long lasting based on fear and inmidation.