Steve Jobs was a visionary leader and there is no denying the fact that
Apple went from strength to strength under his leadership. It was only
natural to have speculation about how will Apple manage without him.
similar trend was also seen when Jack Welch was giving up the top
position at GE. However, with Apple things were a bit different as Steve
Jobs could not be around to be a mentor and make sure the company
strives further on the path that he had shown.
On his part, Steve
Jobs planned his exit from the company quite well. He chose an able
successor in the form of Tim Cook, and to a certain extent, had a chance
to groom Cook for the top job. So an year after Steve's death, and even
longer since Cook took charge of affairs, we asked industry analysts to
share their thoughts on Apple post-Jobs.
Sharing his thoughts on
this topic, Jeff Kagan, Telecom Analyst, says, "I think Apple would have
been just as successful, no more and no less. The question is would
Steve Jobs vision have helped Apple advance into other areas? More so
than we have seen in the past year. And would the new iPhone 5 have had
the same level of problems? Moving away from Google maps was a big
problem. Changing power adapters was a big problem."
Steve Jobs typically handled such problems is ignore them publicly.
Remember the problem with losing a call when holding the iPhone wrong
from last year? No solution. No apology. Yet the company continued to
grow. With Steve Jobs in charge I believe Apple was able to simple
ignore occasional problems."
Robert Enderle, Principal Analyst,
Enderle Group, differs saying Steve Jobs would have never paid out a
dividend or spent money on philanthropic activities. He elaborates,
"Products would be coming out sooner and there would be fewer problems.
Many of the folks who have quietly left would likely still be there,
Apple wouldn't be paying dividends nor would it be spending millions on
philanthropic activities. The ads spends would more effective and
focused on driving sales."
John Strand CEO of Strand Consulting
agrees, "On the communications side, Tim Cook has not done (so) well.
Under Steve Jobs, Apple was untouchable and the press did not write
critically about Apple, there is much more negative journalism and Cook
does not have the same magic that Steve Jobs had."
thinks that Apple has not shown enough innovation under Tim's
leadership. He says, "With the launch of iPhone 4S and iPhone 5 Apple is
not addressing new segments. Sales growth has come through wider
distribution (more countries and more operators) and by old customers
upgrading to a new model. I think that Apple needs new products that
will target more segments - right now the iPhone looks like Volvo 240 or
There is no doubt that Apple has changed in the
last one year and some of these changes are triggered by the changing
market dynamics. Given that, perhaps even Steve Jobs would have changed
his approach. Kagan on his part feels, "Steve Jobs did his best to make
sure the new devices always wowed the marketplace. Part of that was the
technology, and part of that was just the Steve Jobs Effect. Now that
Steve Jobs is gone, we see a new and different Apple emerging. Part of
this has to do with a maturing company as well. Remember everyone was
impressed with the first few iPhones, but today the smart phone market
is getting busier with competitors like Android. Going forward I think
Apple will still be a special company, but as the years pass it will be
less special without Steve Jobs."
While Enderle feels that under
Tim Cook Apple is becoming more like the other technology companies and
losing its competitive edge. "It is drifting to be more similar to other
technology firms with less marketing competence more funds spent on
activities that make the company appear friendlier but detract from cash
reserves, and Apple has focused on maximising current product spend but
significantly slowed on bringing out new products timely. As a result
financial performance and stock performance have improved but likely
tactically, the firm isn't as aggressive in assuring its long term
future," comments Enderle.
Finally, would Apple would have
launched the same kind of products if Steve Jobs was still in charge?
Stand sums it up, "I do not know if Steve Jobs would have done it is
very different on products, the products we see now are still products
planned under Steve Jobs. One thing is certain and that is that Tim Cook
does not have the same karma that Steve Jobs had and part of the Apple
magic disappeared with Steve Jobs."
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