When one looks at the tremendous turnaround Microsoft has achieved by replacing Balmer (who almost destroyed the company after thirteen years of insanity) it demonstrates that having a good technology leader can make a world of difference. Apple, not unlike Microsoft, seems to be running into trouble. It is far from a smooth running car and in that light it is getting very frustrating.
Cook is not a Technology Person
It is hard not to like Tim Cook. He’s got a great value system. However, he is not a technologist. When I heard that he uses an iPad at his desk I was both shocked and saddened. We who have to get work done need computers. A Pad simply won’t cut it. Yet, he thinks it does.
Such a mind set filters down through the ranks and thus there is all this focus on the mobility angle and not on the part wherein the work gets done. The reality is you need both components today to get things done effectively.
Apple is Simply Churning
Apple has gotten to be a master at churn. With nothing new to offer, they just rebrand things with a slightly larger screen or more to it to call it a Pro which of course deserves money. No one that I know doesn’t want to pay for value. However, if all we’re paying for is churn, this is not value but it generally involves more money. We’re led to believe that because it is a pro device it has to be worth more.
The Mac Pro is a Dog without an Upgrade
I bought a Mac Pro when it came out almost three years ago and after having an iMac for 3.5 years that was a workhouse without trouble, I was looking forward to the Mac Pro. It turned out to be nothing less than a dog. I couldn’t get it to properly perform, there were external devices everywhere and in the end after six months of nonsense the computer store that sold it to me gave a 5k iMac to replace it with.
The iMac isn’t what an iMac used to be. This turned out to be a finicky machine till this day and it certainly didn’t even begin to measure up to the machine I had shortly before that.
And back to the Mac Pro; it hasn’t had a refresh in three years so I can only assume once a dog, always a dog.
Does Apple have a Vision
Where Cook is really failing and he seems to be failing on all fronts is a lack of a vision. The difference between a technology leader and a sales leader is the vision they put together to focus the company. Sataya Nadella has put together a strong vision of what Microsoft is about now and they’re embarking on the vision.
I saw I think an ad for an iPad that was like a Microsoft Surface and I thought he just doesn’t get it. The Surface is a computer with a computer OS and the iPad is a Pad. I’m not surprised that Tim Cook would think this is a computer as he does all his work on a Pad.
A Pad is a great device. I use my iPad all the time to read and do research. But the assembly of all that work is done on my iMac. I spend 80% of my working day on my iMac. I need a computer with the screen real estate and power to put together what is my product which is the writing.
Wall Street is Nervous
Wall street always bought into the theory if Jobs left it would be a disaster. Well we have the brewings of a disaster for the exact reason Wall Street was worried about. What would be the next technical innovation from Apple. It’s just not coming.
Even the AppleTV, that has such potential, was turned over to Eddy Cue to negotiate. He thought he’d go in there and whip up a deal but the entertainment deal makers wiped up with him and sent him on his way. He was far too acerbic for their tastes. Steve Jobs would have negotiated a tough deal but that’s because he knew the industry through his Pixar holdings at one time and his Disney relationship.
No, the guy who should have gone negotiating was Tim Cook. He’s paid enough and the deal was worth so much to Apple long term. They are the only big player who doesn’t have some kind deal with the entertainment industry. They have probably the nicest delivery vehicle and just an ad hoc delivery mechanism nothing of which is from Apple.
The Tech Industry Moves Fast
Apple has a lot of money so it would be hard for them to be hurt just like Microsoft survived Balmer. However, is that what Apple wants. Is that what the Apple customer wants. Not likely.
Shifts are already taking place. Apple’s Beats music deal remains a perplexing mystery. They have not done in the industry what they have portrayed. They’re already revamping the system to make it more customer appealing.
Android has finally got its act together and Android sales are booming but not without good reason. It’s generally considered true that Android flagship phones are using better, more advanced technology and it is not as pricey as Apple. The consumer is becoming more cost conscious these days and not less as interest rates eek up and the cost of goods follows. Money seems tight and people have started to think savings. At the same time the Smartphone market is becoming saturated.
Apple Needs a Plan, a Technology Leader and Tim Cook doesn’t Seem Up to Either Task
It’s always been important for a company to have a plan but at no time has it been more important for Apple than now. Their Smartphone business is under pressure and the MacBooks they just delivered are getting their fair share of criticism. There seems some solid opportunities to be had for Apple but it appears they’re mishandling them.
With so much at stake and with history telling a strong story, it’s time for Tim Cook to likely take his leave from Apple. For Apple’s part, they need a technology leader. Other companies have gone through similar things but until they found a really strong technology leader they struggle to find their footing.
There remains a lot of people that want Apple to continue to do well. People have a lot vested in Apple. However, that won’t keep them there if the company has lost it’s way. Apple is already loosing it’s coolness factor something very important to today’s young. Apple can only help themselves by coming to terms with this sooner than later.