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Business Models

Is it already time for harvesting Apple(s)?

Every day when we open the newspapers, the RSS Feeds on the SmartPhone, take the subway or listen to the radio and more, we are confronted with daily striking news: Earthquake in Fukushima, Federal President Wulff still in charge, William and Kate: The Wedding of the Year…

Another event hitting the world in October 2011 was the death of Steve Jobs. Worldwide, mostly glorifiying articles and comments popped up everywhere: the godfather of technical innovation passed away. Now several months after his death, his face disappeared from papers and screens and new events are conquering the news.

Looking around during our classes, there are at least a dozen apples glowing at the back of silverlight screens. Realizing this, I asked myself how the future of Apple will look like without  Jobs, its proclaimed hero:

Is the harvest over because of the “main farmer’s” death or is the company still able to crop new fruits?

“Jobs was not a great founder” in the opinion of Trevor Owens. According to him Steve Wozniak, cofounder and engineer as well as Mike Markkula, chairman and first investor played the key roles for the early success of Apple Incorporate. The combination of technical engineering and industry insight formed the foundation of the company’s success, claims the author. While Steve Jobs was known for product vision and design aesthetic the other two drilled the screws in the background. Furthermore, Owens states that Jobs was only able to be that successful because of rotating failures into the opposite. The first launch of a Macintosh for example turned out to be a great flop, because of slowness and overprizing. Only after rethinking his vision over and over again, he managed to produce succesful products during Apple II, whereas he played a minor role during the early stages of the company. Owens finishes with the argument that Jobs should be remembered as a successful CEO, but not as a great founder.

Additonal to that opinion, Galen Gruman points out that Jobs was not the only one with drive, vision, tenacity and the desire to change the world. As well as the previous cited blogger, he on the one hand believes in the great leadership of Steve Jobs, so that the company won’t experience any losses because of his death. On the other hand he is confident in a change in business straetegies, as changes always occur when new leadership steps in. In Apple’s case: Tim Cook since August 2011. Both bloggers agree on the variety of innovative heads within the company, which won’t be effected by the death of Steve Jobs. They will add their ideas and skills to the business and therefore continues to “crop”.

However, Fadi El-Eter and Ted share the opposite point of view. During his research for possible investments into the Apple Share El-Eter found out that during the absence of Jobs from Apple (1985 – 1996), AAPL valued only a Penny Stock. By returning to Apple in 1997, Jobs achieved to remodernize the company and to bring it to the number one of market capitalization. El-Eter accounts the succes to Jobs. Additionally competitors as Samsung and Sony are gaining up and produce better quality with their Android products. Ted examines this topic even deeper by foreseeing the death of the company within the next three to five years due to its closed operating system. Whilst they launched beautiful and elegant products in the beginning, a “walled garden” has been created preventing them to keep up with the outside development. But nowadays people demand open platforms in order to simplify life. Whoever buys one product by Apple has to stick with it, because the merge with other systems is barely managable.

On top of that, El-Eter doubts that the expectations set by the innovative iPhone and iPad early generations cannot be reached anymore. Miracles have been awaited for the iPhone 5, as for example laser keyboards. Instead it was renamed 4S because the company knew that they were not able to meet these expecations. As a result, El-Eter claims the loss of managing innovations which leads to a decline in profit margins and eventually the beginning of the end of Apple.

Now, knowing about these different opinions and statements the question arises: which one of them will turn out to be the right one?

We will see what the future harvest brings while the important point is, that we are now in sight of opposing and interesting statements which support the formation of our own opinion. Let us know your thoughts and start the discussion.

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About Fernanda

Hi, currently I am in the 2nd semester of the study program International Business Management at the HWR Berlin. Amongst others we are taught the course Business Applications where we founded the blogging group "News woth Juice". The aim is to combine and finally present the very general topic "news" with business appliaction matters. Thus the repertory of posts is very broad. Since my interests lie especially in social-political and organizational areas, I focus the research on those topics. However "field trips" to other discussions occur as well while maintaining the overall subject news. Especilly interesting the analysis of the role news play in both daily and professional life.

Discussion

4 thoughts on “Is it already time for harvesting Apple(s)?

  1. Excellent, Fernanda! This is a great way to begin asking how one evaluates change, the dynamics of innovation, markets, society, etc.. Was Jobs leading, putting 2 + 2 together, part of the remarkable team he put together? I try to look for change, how to become informed, and to imagine. This is not about joining some sort of Jobs/Apple cult, but to look for factors, principles, opportunities, conditions, etc., that might be important for the future. Here are some of the links I’ve collected on Jobs that I think do that, too:

    http://radar.oreilly.com/2011/08/steve-jobs-legacy-apple.html

    http://blogs.hbr.org/taylor/2011/08/why_steve_jobs_matters_to_you.html

    http://allthingsd.com/20111005/the-steve-jobs-i-knew/

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/oct/10/steve-jobs-wasnt-a-god

    http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2011/08/the_hidden_in_plain_sight_lega.html

    http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2011/08/apples_innovation_premium.html

    Posted by Bruce Spear | December 28, 2011, 5:30 pm
  2. Thanks for your comment, Bruce. Indeed, it is not the purpose of that blogpost to worship Steve Jobs. To be honest, I had little idea who he was until his death.
    Reading about his success and many people glorifiying him, should be considered critically. Was he really able to accomplish this all by himself? According to his “12 rules of success” (http://fitzvillafuerte.com/steve-jobs-and-his-12-rules-of-success.html), yes. Because there is no teamwork mentioned, what astonishes me. Therefore I like the bloggers who point out the important roles by others in the Apple Company and that it is not all about him. The thing in my opinion is, him being the frontman while others innovated in the background.

    Posted by Fernanda | December 28, 2011, 5:49 pm
  3. Fernanda this post reads so easily and is soo well structured! I were taken by the hand and lead through it 🙂 hilarious!!! You do what you always did: Giving us different opinions of different people and gave us the chance to decide which one we want to join. Also the wordgame with the harvesting – nice :)! keep it!

    Posted by Pia | December 30, 2011, 7:26 am
  4. To be honest I didn’t know too much about Steve Jobs before his death either and I was really grateful for your post as I have quite some Apple devices myself.

    Your post gave a great insight into the topic and was very easy and enjoyable to read, and I really enjoyed it.

    Posted by Mirja Stoldt | January 7, 2012, 10:14 pm

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