Steve Jobs, the iconic founder of Apple passed away in December 2011. Widely regarded as the Leonardo Da Vinci of the digital era, Steve Job’s creative genius made Apple, the most valuable company in the world. The monumental feat was achieved by Apple on August 2011, with its stocks being priced at $364. Which means, if someone had invested in Apple’s IPO way back in in 1980, the current valuation would fetch him a return of 13,300%.The actual numbers are mindboggling. Till date Apple has managed to sell nearly 400 million iPods, 150 million iPhones and nearly 40 million iPads.
Key To Apple’s Success…
Such mindboggling numbers were achieved only due to the vision and Herculean efforts of one man only – Steve Jobs. He was a one man army in Apple where even minute details of a product had to be ratified by him, before it could be launched. He was uber-secretive and let very little known about his devices before launch to generate maximum curiosity and hype. He had the nous and foresight to blend technology, fashion, form and function and completely revolutionized the music industry , mobile communication, retail and of course personal computing. Most importantly his greatest contribution was to completely alter the way we use technology.
We all know how iPod sounded a death knell for MP3 players and personal stereo system or how iPhones have been a major disruption in the smartphone market. We had to bear in mind that Apple has never been a great innovator as none of the above mentioned devices were invented by Apple. Instead Job had a great propensity towards borrowing other people’s ideas and spin them to create extremely successful products. Apple particularly focused on design, branding and user interface to charge a premium for its products. Jobs was always known for his relentless efforts to delight customers by churning out products “that they did not know they needed?”
However, we are all well versed success story of Apple and so we are not delving too deeply into that. However, the main agenda of the article is to point out the potential Achilles heel that may appear in the armory of Apple Inc, post Steve Job’s demise.
Apple’s success was so heavily linked with Steve Jobs, that post his death, people are fearing a creative burnout at Apple. Tim Cook, Apple’s new CEO is renowned for his administrative proficiency rather than his creativity. So speculation is rife about Apple’s product pipeline.
Even though iPhone 4S managed to garner a million bookings just within a couple of days of its release, by their own admission people are purchasing this Jesus phone because of its emotional connotation, being the very last product designed by Jobs. Apple was known for its maverick engineering. However, the latest offering has evoked mixed reviews. Some tech geeks have labeled it to be a major disappointment and this has opened a window of opportunity for competitors to come charging in. Also, the launch was pretty bland as it lacked the pomp and fanfare of earlier launches that Jobs orchestrated. With the market being swamped by a deluge of other smartphones there are options galore for the consumers to park their money, to get more bang for the buck. The likes of HTC, Nokia and Samsung are expected to provide a stiff competition to iPhone at least until the release of iPhone 5.
Apple’s Tight Fisted Policy….
Apple’s success can be attributed to its ability of seamlessly blending cutting edge hardware and software to deliver an unmatched experience to its users. However, this walled garden may prove to be its undoing. Apple is using all its clout in making the user experience less free, more inaccessible and more heavily regulated than ever before. All the operating systems on Apple’s devices do not grant access to their workings. With innovation increasingly getting commoditized, locking consumers into proprietary platforms is a dubious choice. It has been seen that open source yields technological advancements on a scale no single company can strive to match. Costs of keeping up with Android for mobiles and tablets can be prohibitive.
The time is nigh for Apple to have a relook at its strategies. It cannot hope to ride piggyback on Job’s legacy forever. Competition is mounting so swift changers are required if Apple wants to retain its leadership in the industry.