"What happens when Jobs leaves the stage and nobody else has the same level of charisma and forceful will to continue with his managerial style?"
Bolaji, I think you have raised one of the most critical concern that is in the minds of all Apple fans. It's evident that the success Apple has achieved is solely because of Steve Jobs' leadership and management. I don't think anyone, despite whatever his qualifications and experience be, can parallel Jobs' style and can lead Apple in the same way. Perhaps Jobs himself needs to nominate a successor and train him to lead on his own style.
Though currently Apple is the World's most Valuable Brand, but am not sure for how long the company can maintain this lead. Sales of iPods are down, recently launched iPad2 failed to meet Wall Street expectations. Verizona iPhone sales are also down, and recently Privacy fears were raised as researchers reveal file on iPhone that stores location coordinates. All these facts certainly creates doubts about Apples future.
Apple overtakes Google as world's most valuable brand only because of Steve Jos management and his creativity towards the invention good products like iphone and ipad. Apple's growth have added some luster on other companies like AT&T and Verizon by allowing them to sell iPhone. I wish Apple would stay as a top brand for some more years.
I find Apple’s and Google’s approaches very interesting as they seem like polar opposites in how they realize product offerings to the public.Although I believe both companies highly value the quality of all their products released, Apple seems to have an approach that nothing gets released until its 100% while Google will release early alpha and beta versions of their offerings for the public to try and test and provide feedback.Both companies are very highly valued: rated one and two respectively and I guess you could argue both approaches to which is best.
Bolaji this is an intrigue article. @Nemos - "Apple has done great moves (like manufacture Ipad) in the right timing. This is the reason for being Apple No1. Can we say the same in two years from now?" May be or may be not . Then question might still be on spot light wether Apple maintain the top spot or not . Why? Because Google is increasinly soil its hands, and doing fine in region like Africa market where Apple's products - ipad and iphone remain too exorbitant for up to 85% of mobile device users.
In addition, next to Asian pacific region - Africa remains super emerging market for high - tech companies. In which, Google is capturing virtually everywhere in the region ( Google App Engine, Google's Android OS, Google's wireless broadband for some universities etc).
Brand's value is a matter strictly related to customers relationship. Apple thanks to management, has got that culture and attitude. Here in London at Apple Store they schedule every week courses about technologies, trends, sessions on devices' secrets, way to become geeks on their tech. You receive an incredible and strong support from all, team's size for each half-day is more than 100 people. You can also easily schedule one-to-one session via web. I believe they achieved that position in the rank also for this reason which is a key factor in electronics world.
I have 2 experiences that involved the over-hyped Apple products, customer service doesn't exist, and the people you talk to are arrogant morons. You want service, go to HP, SONY or Philips. Funny you don't need an appointment for them to take your money at the Apple store, yet when you go there for service you need one... don't waste your money on Apple junk.
Apple products are not junk. They surpass HP, Sony or Philips. The problem Apple has is with management and relation to customers. These are two different things. I am lucky not have to use customer support and I enjoy the technology tremendously. It is a piece of art and has nothing to do with hype.
If it is not junk, then why do I have a failure with the item? If you are really realistic, every company has issues because it is designed and built by humans, yes we error. How a company services an issue is what makes it or breaks it. When I get some arrogant snot nosed moron talking down to me about my junk Apple.... the realtionship ends. Apple is junk and has no service... end of story. Waste your money, it is yours to do what you want with... I get freindly knowledgable service from SONY, Phillips and HP.... why would I buy Apple junk with no service?.... go ahead tell me?
I would have to say that a little bit of logical analysis would go a long way to resolving most issues.
Simply stating an Item or a particular manufacture produces 'junk' (unless it is Sony) ;-)
Is hardly a scientific analysis of the problem.
I to have had Apple products that have failed:
DVD Drive,PSU,Memory board,Disk Drive,Video card
But if I look at it in a more logical light, I can say that most were my own fault, the DVD drive failed because it had vacuumed so much dust that the lens was dirty, also the DVD drive had also chewed its way through over 100 slightly dodgy Chinese copied DVD
The rest can be put down to the fact that I left the machine on in summer without aircon, returning to find the room was at 47 deg, sure the parts did not all fail at the same time, sometimes they took months, hurray for apple extended warranty (your comments about "no service" is complete 'nonsense' - even in China I can get good service from Apple)
A second example:
A company director I knew has a Mac book, but the Disk kept failing, even though he seemed to look after it, drive after drive died, just like the song "another one bites the dust".
Until I noticed how carefully he carried it about whilst it was powered on, realizing that a spinning disk platter is basically a gyroscope, rotating any gyroscope through 90 degrees, tends to encounter friction (its called gravity), in reality the act of rotating the Mac book sharply through 90-180 degrees, was causing head crashes.
Change the drive again + sleep before a move, and magically the problems were solved, even after a year the drives no longer failed.
The point I'm making is that most defects can be traced back to HOW the user handles the equipment, and most remarks about "xxx is junk" can be put in a new light via a couple of simple anecdotes. ;-)
Your anecdotes are interesting, hardcore. However, the point remains that there might be a difference in the user-friendliness of Apple service as against the Sony, HP of the world(have heard this complaint often from proud owners of Apple products).
Do you feel the same or do you think Apple service is just as good as the rest of them. Solving your problems yourself is always a good option, but not for everyone.
I would have to say that my background precludes me accepting Idle gossip as an in-depth analysis of any companies support service.
For a balanced discussion and proper analysis, then facts have to be presented. I'm not excusing Apple or saying they are without problems (we only need to look back at the number of mistakes they have made in the past), but that does not necessarily make them any worse at support than the other companies named.
The examples I presented were in response to a non-factually verifiable post, and indeed It could be argued that I also made the anecdotes up.
There is no readily verifiable information other than the service reports I have on the Mac Pro and even they do not have any sort of temperature analysis for the failed system.
However, Apple do tend to have an autocratic way of working and this can also be found to some extent in their service attitude, but that does not necessarily make them bad at support (having dealt with both Apple and Sony, I can say my preference would be for Apples support system), indeed when Apple support is provided with the information in a format that they require I have been given excellent service, in one case an on site visit within a few hours, but I also appreciate that this may not be the same for everyone that uses their service, and again the service may possibly vary from country to country, but I suspect a feeding frenzy on 'Apples poor service' or any other vendors support hardly proves anything.
One thing I can say is that if I were to make up a totally ludicrous fault for an Apple product then post the information on line, I would get others saying they had the same fault and still more people berating the quality of Apple products based purely on the fact that they feel the need to comment just so people can hear them.
We live in a technological era, unfortunately in many cases the required skill set to operate such equipment is missing and to a greater extent is not even part of the educational curriculum.
"We live in a technological era, unfortunately in many cases the required skill set to operate such equipment is missing and to a greater extent is not even part of the educational curriculum."
We very often seem to ignore the fact that the people who use Tech products are not very well versed in the Goings on of the product and what makes it tick.This is a problem which is not very well appreciated and understood by most (Market Observers and Companies alike).
Most Techie products have gotten way to complex today and really do need more than basic knowledge about how to operate products(& unfortunately our education system is today lacking as you so rightly point out)....
I have been at the 'blunt' end of product returns for a couple of large UK companies:
Argos & Homebase, generally they expect 'their' product suppliers to issue them with spare stock and take returns back on a no questions basis.
If you saw the condition of many of the returns, you would soon get a fairly low opinion of the general publics ability to handle any sort of technological product.
In one case we had a company owner threaten us with legal action based on the fact that one of his qualified electricians had recieved an electric shock, whilst fitting our product to a wall. (it was a mains powered security device)
As you can imagine this had the potential to be quite a serious issue that could have impacted our sales to large retailers.After several days we received no further contact only to state that "the matter had been resolved internally", a solicitors letter was sent on behalf of our company to ensure the return of the "defective product", and a 2:1 offer of replacement.
On examination of the returned product, we instantly identified the cause:
The 'electrician' had fitted the product to a wall, by inserting a couple of 6" wood screws through the front cover, through the PCB & out of the back of the unit, and in doing so into the integral mains cable. I would not have minded, but there were NO fixing marks on the front of the product, rather they were on the back and consisted of a plastic hanger, that located over the head of the (1" supplied) fixing screws.
If A competent qualified electrician is incapable of installing a product correctly, what does this say about the educational system that allows such a situation to arise.
Hardcore, Your comment was very interesting. If a competent qualified electrician finds it difficult to install the said electronic device, we can think of a disaster for a lay person. But critically looking into the tail end of your comment , someone may be competent but if he fails to read the manufaturers installation instructions, it may end in such a problem that was described. Over confidence based on daily experience and practice can elude the sense of paying absolute attention to certain procedures.......if I may be right.
Possibly the issue is related to lateral thinking. For tens of thousands of years the human brain has been adapting so that it can deal with the unexpected, this is why we are so successful as a species, because we do not require a genetic modification to take advantage of our surroundings or changes within our environment.
But I suspect that we are reaching a break over point where technology is maturing at a faster pace than our brains can deal with, again this reflects directly into customer support, specifically because there is an inbuilt need to communicate complex situations and conditions to be able to explain the issues related to the product.
Many people just expect a product to work because it should, but I suspect there is a 'house brick' mentality developing, that is to say people look at the outside of a product then mentally map that into their internal database of experience.
Consider a baby, we have all seen babies exploring their environment, chew it, drop it, dribble on it, bang it, throw it, and yet I still see parents giving their mobile phones and tablet devices to babies.
As a result people begin to perceive the required reliability of the product based on its shape rather than the technological contents of the product.
This then results in unreasonable demands of the product or in some cases mistreatment which then leads to issues related to perceived satisfaction, throw into this mix customer support and the multitude of websites that promote the view that the customers are being ripped off by poor design or materials. Most of these websites are run by people with little or no design expertise as a result they have absolutely no idea about the difficulties in designing a product for mass production manufacture or indeed a mature outlook on how to support such equipment.
According to WPP, California-based “Apple”, is the most valuable brand in world. The brand value grew 84% to $153.3 billion and the total growth is 859% since 2006. All the apple products such as Apple’s iPhone, smartphones and iPad tablet computers accounted for this growth. This growth bumping search engine Google out of the top spot on the advertising and marketing company’s list of most valuable brands after a four-year run. Six of the top ten most valuable brands were technology or telecommunications companies, including Apple, Google, IBM, Microsoft, AT&T, and China Mobile.
Google, number two on the list, saw the value of its brand fall 2% to 111.5 billion and Walmart to become the most valuable retail brand. Facebook made the list for the first time. WPP figures the social network’s brand is worth $19.1 billion.
Yes Bolaji. According to the latest reports from Millward Brown, Apple has overtaken Google as the world's most valuable brand, ending a four-year reign by the internet search leader. The iPhone and iPad maker's brand is now worth $153 billion, almost half Apple's market capitalization. Millward Brown takes as a starting point the value that companies put on their own main brands as intangibles in their earnings reports. It combines that with the perceptions of more than 2 million consumers in relevant markets around the world whom it surveys over the course of the year, and then applies a multiple derived from the company's short-term future growth prospects.
According to the report, among the top 10 brands, six were technology and telecoms companies: Google at No. 2, IBM at No.3, Microsoft at No.5, AT&T at No 7 and China Mobile at No 9. McDonald's rose two places to No. 4, as fast food became the fastest-growing category, Coca-Cola slipped one place to No. 6, Marlboro was also down one to No, 8, and General Electric was No. 10.
While releasing the report, Walshe said demand from China was a major factor in the rise of fast-food brands. “The Chinese have been discovering fast food and it's such a vast market --Starbucks, McDonald's... and pizza has hit China,” he said. “The way McDonald's has reinvented itself, adapted its menus, added healthy options, expanding the times of day it can be visited, for example oatmeal for breakfast... that allied with growth in developing markets has really helped that brand.”
I liked very much your questions, and guide me to deep thoughts. I don't believe that this management can lead Apple to success. This kind of management can lead slowly Apple into failure. From my part of view is insane to ask from your employees not to doing faults and that faults it is not acceptable. Apple has done great moves (like manufacture Ipad) in the right timing. This is the reason for being Apple No1. Can we say the same in two years from now?
Whatever doubt the Naysayers may have about the management style of Steve Jobs, I would say that his creativity and the passion for aesthetics and perfection in the product is what has taken the veteren company Apple to No1 position ahead of Google which is the new age company. It must be remembered that this success Apple has achieved after Steve Jobs returned to its fold again. This shows that the Apple management and investors have found the unique qualities of their old captain , the key to taking their company back to the top. Whatever idiosyncrasies this person may have , I am sure he has a strong following in his company and that is why the Company is at the top and I am sure it will remain at the top. I am ready to put my bet on it and I wish JOBs to be at the helm of this company for another two decades so that there is no question about what will happen to Apple after Jobs.
Prabhakar, I trust you and another point we could share and discuss is in the following: comparing to other vendors, they didn't never play in parallel market, I mean "compatible" market. Apple is Apple and any other devices could emulate design, features and functionalities, so far. Otherwise, it is happened for PC-Intel, for example. What do you think about?
mfbertozzi, I perfectly agree with you. Apple never played a second fiddle to any one. When Microsoft was ruling the world they stayed put with their own OS, come what may. What ground they lost in PC market they have regained it with their offering in smart phones. By staying away from MS and MS compatible world they have created their own image as an original innovator company.
Steve Jobs has faults - that's actually nice to know since he is touted as being single handedly responsible for the transformation of Apple. Micromanagement is not something I favor but in Mr. Job's case, you can't argue with success. The question does remain, while Apple is on top now, how do they plan to sustain their position moving forward and what will they ever do without Jobs. If he is responsible for their success, can Apple continue to innovate and lead the industry when/if he is not around???
I or most people for that matter have no doubts that Apple operates exactly the way you mention here,
"Apple, according to a Fortune Magazine report, is being led by a fanatical micro-manager who has his hands on virtually all of the company's operations, from critical product design to the most minor issues such as employee transportation."
Apple is in a Business-Not a charity.
And Business in the real world is cut-throat and nasty.
And lets not forget Nothing Succeeds like Sucess.
And I don't think anyone can argue with the fact that Apple is today a resounding Success primarily because of Steve Jobs Managerial Style.Is it replicable?Will there be continuity after hes gone?Who cares???
The important thing is that Apple is a success today,especially after being an also-ran for so so so long.....
I wouldn't put too much weight on what management guru's say about Jobs. Thhis sort of thing does on all over the business world. There are often parties out there who will natter about successful or perhaps even highly confident people everywhere. In times like this, one simply needs to apply a little admin ethics and ask "well, let me see the individual's statistics." In other words, look at the performance and the results over opinion and rumor. The second thing you'll often find is that the person or "author" of the complaint or criticism is often guilty of the thing he's complaining about.
In other words, look at the performance and the results over opinion and rumor. The second thing you'll often find is that the person or "author" of the complaint or criticism is often guilty of the thing he's complaining about."
I would just like to add one more issue here-Or the Person complaining is plain insecure.
A very insecure person(about his competition) very often has a tendency to complain about these issues.Wish it was a little different(as in their attitude-they could do more if they just stuck to and maintained a positive /can do attitude-But negativity comes easier.
Very true, and that insecurity can stem from a variety of reasons:
Lack of understanding.
Acts (or inactions) against the group's survival
And that last one is the most insidious as it's often the last thing a manager or co-worker can spot. This is what makes statistical management so useful. When you have a complaint coming in on someone, a staff member or even a vendor, you can simply say "Let me see his/her statistics." If that staff member has a good, consistent trend going on, you can suspect something else is going on behind that isn't what's being presented.
Although expected, it always makes me sad not to see the semiconductor giants as big brands. No Texas Instruments, No ADI, No Qualcomm in the list. Intel did make it, but why is it that other semi con companies cant have such a public image?
I think jobs should care that if he is not around any more, Apple is still maintaining the top position he left. The true definition of success is not when he,s there but when he,s gone.If truly he had worked this hard to tranform Apple, he sholud also be more concerned about the good work to continue. Success is not success when everything crumble because you are no more there.
He should be concerned for the "tommorrow" and if he is concerned, he should develop people that can at least continue the good work.
@Adeniji good point raised. Furture belongs to those who prepare for it. I think Apple has choosen is style, it has indeed be living by this for decades despite Microsoft dominance in the world of MS OS.
In the fast changing world of technology-It is honestly,very,very difficult to predict what will happen in the future.So predicting that Apple will be the Top Dog 5-10 years down the line;is very-very hard one to bet in favor of.
In that kind of a sceanario,Steve Jobs has made absolutely the best decision to make Apple as Hyper-competitive and with the very best ,most awesome products as is possible.
I see absolutely nothing wrong with Steve Jobs Managerial style.
@Ashish, I personally have no beef with Apple and drawing from my experience in this field, I can't vouch for the accuracy of the description given of Steve Jobs. If Jobs is indeed fanatical about pursuing the goals he has set for the company, that should be a plus and not a negative. And as you pointed out Apple's success tells a better story than anything a writer can document.
However, and this is extremely important, don't forget that success is not instantaneous just as failure can sneak in like a climbing vine. I have learned to respect the rumor mills and Apple is increasingly showing up on too many people's negative watch list. If you focus solely on the successes of today, you won't see how failure can build up on your watch. You may disagree but Apple is rubbing some people the wrong way and despite its current success it still needs to be on its guard.
@Balji Ojo, Yes, Apple becomes a not liked brand not only by business professionals but also by general public. There are still more people who look at ingenuity of designs and buy Apple products. I am one of them, but I am disappointed. Google might be on a lower rank in money, but they were quoted to be the most friendly and pleasant company to work for. Sooner or later engineering teams at Apple will be exhausted and if economy improves they may look to other companies.
"a company with a "ruthless corporate culture" where failure is considered an anathema,---------------"
What happened to higher expectations and accountability?
The storyline would have been different if Apple had failed in re-packaging itself from just a PC company to the valuable Brand it is now. Maybe these same major business publications would write something like "Apple held promise but was badly managed and missed the forecast on the future of the electronic media-------"
Ms. Daisy, You are absolutely correct. There are two sides to this coin. Apple is getting some flak now from the same people who would pan it had failure been what it is reputed for rather than runaway success. But, accountability and higher expectations are not enough reasons to treat employees in a dismal way if Steve Jobs indeed do that. Success is good but on the road to success we may find shards of some failures.
Thanks for the input. I agree to the part that Apple should take care of its employees and not just focus on the outcomes only. We talk about bad work environments in China, we must apply the same standards to companies in the US.
Long time ago in late 80ies I really admired Apple for their innovation and ability to do deliver solutions to users. I absolutely could not stand Microsoft various decisions to knockout competition with average quality products. Seems like money hits the brain. For last 5 years or so Apple is doing almost the same things as MS did. The only difference is that products are extremely innovative. I am not happy about it and I know friends who would never buy Apple products for its business practices. I am glad Google put Flash into Android OS. Since that Apple stopped the rhetoric and allowed Adobe to write using their own development system. Competition is good. Not mention lack of support for Blu-ray. If Toshiba would not abandon HD-DVD we would have Blu-ray in Macs. Lack of competition is bad. Now we see how Steve Jobs rules with iron fist inside the company. Is this type of style necessary to earn billions? Or earning billions siphons common sense to protect the money?
Something I read before was related to having only 5 champion products in APPLE, somehow that Steve jobs cut so many average projects, honestly if we do this, we'll probably get better position in the market focusing the best personnel including their time and equipment to launch nothing but the best... maybe many more companies might reach to APPLE levels doing the same.
currently in many facotries they build in some cases only 300 or only 1000 units for especial orders for customers that might not even represent profit, this create a hidden factory behing the small request and very low profit.
EBN Dialogue enables and encourages you to participate in live chats with notable leaders and luminaries. Not only editors and journalists, but the entire EBN community is able to comment and ask questions. Listed below are upcoming and archived chats.
Thailand Stages a Comeback Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Microsoft Surface: Potential Winners & Losers What are the implications for the electronics industry supply chain of Microsoft Corp.'s decision to launch its own tablet PC? Join industry veteran and EE Times' systems and OEM expert Rick Merritt on Tuesday, July 3, at 12:00 pm EDT for a Live Chat on this subject.
Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Peter Drucker famously said "Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window." Yet in the razor's-edge world of electronics—with a lean supply chain and just-in-time demands—the need to know the future is vital.
While no one really can accurately predict the future, we can take guidance from another Drucker saying which is the best way to predict the future is to create it.
You've heard the saying "the No. 1 supply chain risk is your people." That hasn't always been the case. But today's complex global supply chain requires a new type of multitalented employee. It's one who understands, finance, marketing, economics, is savvy with technology, graceful with relationships and can think analytically.
Where are these people? Are universities properly preparing the next generation supply chain professionals? How do train your existing workforce for these new, demanding positions?
Brian Fuller, editor-in-chief of EBN, will lead a 60-minute Avnet Velocity panel discussion that will ask and answer these and other questions swirling around today's supply-chain talent challenges.