Recently Derek Brown posted an interesting article, “The Epic Battle Between Apple & Google Is All But over- Who Won?” He goes on to declare Google and Android the winner.
While I tend to agree, I do not want to get into argument over whether or not he is right and if the battle is actually over or not. I do want to discuss this as someone who has felt for a while that Apple was letting things slip away from them.
Brown seems to think Apple’s success was a “Fluke.” I am not sure that I would agree with that and you can check out my Pomme Company book for more details but I would like to explore some of the things which I saw as an insider at Apple and later as a vocal critic of the company’s direction.
If you are not familiar with me, I worked at Apple nearly twenty years and was a sales director. If you want more about me, please check out this link or read one of my books.
I actually do not think it is fair to lay what has happened to Apple at Tim Cook’s feet. So this is not about Tim Cook and I stand by what I said about him in an article last year, Tim Cook Is One Of The Three People Who Saved Apple.
Apple’s problems are deeper than one person. The company has a very complex and unusual corporate culture. Factors which might be part of Apple's "declining" success are also impossible to adequately handle in a simple blog post so I suspect this will be the first of a series.
When I was at Apple during the worst of the times and during some of the best of the times, we would read these reports detailing Apple’s grand strategy. There were plenty of grand strategies for Apple but unfortunately most of them were in the minds of people who were not working at Apple.
There was no shortage of buzz words to indicate a grand strategy but the truth is that there was little behind most of the hype. I think the closest Apple ever came to a strategy was the iPod, iTunes, and the hope to bring Windows users to the platform by releasing iTunes for Windows.
Here are just a few of the key things that I will be exploring in future posts and articles.
After Steve came back besides the distinct emphasis on products, there was a huge push to not just be profitable but to become a money machine.
Again after Steve’s return, Apple decided that “it was the company’s job to tell people what they wanted to purchase” and ignore the requests of customers.
After a strong effort to get away from the “not invented here” syndrome, Apple over time has clearly decided that their technology is the only way to true enlightenment. Other companies can mostly take a hike.
Apple has clearly become the Mercedes or BMW of technology companies. Depending on your perspective that could be a good or a bad thing.
- Apple's inability to figure out the "Cloud" might be the biggest stumbling block for the company's future efforts.
I fully expect Apple to turn in many more highly profitable quarters. However, like many others, I wonder if Apple’s best days might behind them.
Whether some of the things I have identified are the root cause or not is certainly open to debate, but it does seem to me that money has become as much a defining element of Apple as technology.
I will have more on that in later posts and articles.
If you are interested in the cloud, check out my new ReadWrite Article, Dropbox vs. Google Drive vs. Amazon vs. Skydrive: Which One Is Fastest? I did not test Apple's iCloud but there are plenty of reasons why and I should not have to explain that to anyone.
Finally if you like cameras, check out my recent post on the Canon Powershot SX50 HS.