Published on December 28th, 2012 | by John I.0
Apple’s success so far after the Steve Jobs Era
Steve Jobs was an idealistic and pragmatic leader who led Apple to great heights. How could one not wonder about what Apple will do without him. Similar speculation occurred when Jack Welch stood down from his position at GE. But the situation with Apple differs as Steve Jobs is not around to mentor and ensure the company continues in the direction he had taken it.
Steve Jobs had taken care of his exit from Apple relatively well by choosing Tim Cook as his successor and preparing him for the role. It has now been more than a year since the death of Steve Jobs and Cook taking over the helm, and industry analysts differ on their views regarding Apple's current state of affairs. Telecom Analyst Jeff Kagan believes that Apple would have had the same level of success with Steve Jobs as it has currently. He poses the question of whether Steve Jobs' vision would have led Apple into other areas, and whether the new iPhone 5's problems, such as Apple maps and power adapters, would have been avoided. Kagan thinks that Jobs handled problems like these by ignoring them publicly. He makes reference to the problem last year with losing a call when holding the iPhone incorrectly, which was ignored. Despite this, the company continued to advance.
Principal Analyst of Enderle Group, Robert Enderle, has a different opinion. He believes that with Steve Jobs, Apple would not be paying dividends or spending money on philanthropic activities. Money would have been spent wisely on creating effective and sales driven advertisements. He thinks that products would have arrived earlier, there would be less problems, and Apple employees who have left would have remained under Steve Jobs.
CEO of Strand Consulting, John Strand, shares this opinion. He also finds that under Steve Jobs, there was hardly any negative press on Apple, unlike the current situation with Tim Cook leading Apple. As well as a shortcoming in communication, Strand believes that Apple is lacking innovation under Tim Cook. The iPhones 4S and 5 do not address new segments, and sales growth is mainly just due to a wider distribution and upgrades by old customers. Strand think that Apple is in need of new products that target more segments.
In the past year Apple has certainly had changes, some of which are partly due to the changes in market dynamics. Because of this, even Steve Jobs might have changed his approach. Kagan believes that Steve Jobs strived to ensure that the new Apple products wowed the market - partly because of the technology, and partly because of the "Steve Jobs Effect". With Steve Jobs gone, a new and different Apple is emerging, which also has something to do with a maturing company. A lot of people were amazed by the first few iPhones, but the smart phone market is becoming more busy with competitors such as Android. Kagan thinks that Apple will continue to be a special company, but over time will become less special with no Steve Jobs.
Enderle is of the opinion that Apple is starting to resemble other technology companies more and is losing the competitive edge it used to thrive on. Apple has placed an emphasis on maximising current product spend but has become a lot more slower in introducing new products. He comments that improvements in financial and stock performance are likely to be largely tactical, and that the company is not in the strongest position to assure its long term future.
So if Steve Jobs was still Apple's leader, would the company have released the same type of products? According to Strand, the new products are still part of the plan that was created under Steve Jobs. But what can be said that is without Steve Jobs, Apple has lost some of its magic.