I have been following the works of the great Steve Jobs and Bill Gates for some time. It has been an interest of mine to follow and review historical material concerning the advent of the PC industry, and how it has evolved. One of my favorite documentaries on these visionaries is from industry writer Robert X. Cringley (a.k.a. Mark Stephens) called, “Triumph of the Nerds.”
Everything these men did for their respective companies, they did with a drive for perfection. Jobs and Gates were fierce competitors, and both were concerned with user interface and user experience. Jobs, more than Gates, was also interested in quality of design. This focus led to some of the best designed electronics we have seen.
Microsoft has suffered stagnation under Steve Ballmer’s leadership. There has been little to no growth since he has been in charge. Contrast this to the incredible rise to the top that Gates crafted years earlier.
This led me to wonder, is Apple on life-support, buying its time now that Steve Jobs is no longer engineering its future?
I remember following the launch of the iPhone 4S in October of this year, just days before Jobs’ death, via Twitter chat during the event. I recall many of the onsite participants of the event being underwhelmed with the lack of passion in Apple’s new leader, CEO, Tim Cook. I also feel that the failure to release the iPhone 5 contributed to the poor reaction. Jobs was well known for his Columbo act when he would present a new product. He would pull his famous, “just one more thing” technique to build up the anticipation. It is due to the disappointing 4S launch and lack of public persona that leads me to predict the ultimate failure of Apple.
Steve Jobs was the quintessential P.T. Barnum of the Technology industry and his grand presence is sorely missed, not only at the helm of Apple, but as the great visionary of the industry itself.
I believe we have already seen the beginning of the stagnation of Apple’s growth much like that of Microsoft’s when Gates handed over the reins to Ballmer in 2000. Apple’s demise will take time, but I believe within 5 years we will see a depletion of the ideas, concepts and innovations that Jobs left behind as reserves to keep his company current and relevant even after his voice was silenced. Steve Jobs had pure passion for what he built, and Apple lost the passion when he died. The product design and quality were all Jobs, and his perfection is what made Apple successful. In fact, Jobs himself said of CEO Tim Cook, “Tim’s not a product person…” I believe we will see Apple continue the trend started in the Tim Cook era where they will simply settle for the mediocre as they have with the iPhone 4S.
So, what do you think? Has Apple lost its mojo? Will the board move to make changes to regain its creativity in order to maintain its dominance in the gadget, consumer based electronics market space? Is it too late for Apple? Weigh in with your thoughts and comments and let us know.
Image Credits: [Wylio] [Wikipedia 1] [Wikipedia 2] [ZDNet] [Erik Pukinskis]