Harvard professor: Apple’s iPod may not stand the test of time, Mac won’t continue to gain share

“‘The Innovator’s Dilemma’ author Clayton Christensen outlines his case for why Apple’s propietary strategy will soon fail, just as it did before,” Peter Burrows reports for BusinessWeek. “For years, many felt that Apple’s past mistakes were bound to come back to haunt the Cupertino (Calif.) company — the refusal to license the Mac OS in the 1980s; the stale products, bloated expenses, and management turmoil that hobbled it in the mid-1990s; the software availability and falling market share that plagued it right into the 21st century. These days, with Apple’s stock price the talk of Wall St. and its products once again defining techno-chic, all that’s a distant memory. That is, unless you’re Clayton M. Christensen, the Harvard professor and author of the seminal 1997 book ‘The Innovator’s Dilemma.’ Christensen, who more recently wrote ‘Seeing What’s Next: Using Theories of Innovation to Predict Industry Change,’ isn’t willing to jump on the Apple bandwagon just yet. As well as Jobs & Co. is performing now, Christensen fears that success is built on a strategy that won’t stand the test of time.”

Basically, Christensen is concerned that when the times comes to license their proprietary FairPlay DRM, Apple will miss it – just as they did with the Mac OS.

As to whether Apple will continue to gain significant share in the personal computer market with the Mac, Christensen says, “I don’t. I think it will allow them to survive for a bit longer. I think most people are satisfied with their current PCs (using Windows and based on Intel chips) and find that the performance of their systems is good enough. Sure, there are people at the bleeding edge who want to do more. But a good Dell PC can be had for $500, and it has performance that’s well beyond what most of us need.”

Full article here.
Christensen is wrong on both counts. Too many people are definitely not satisfied with their current PCs. Christensen needs to get out more. As for iPod+iTunes and the FairPlay licensing issue, we trust that Steve Jobs has a plan and, since he’s running the show this time (as opposed to the Mac licensing fiascos; not doing it early enough and then doing it too late and incorrectly), we bet he’ll license FairPlay when the time comes to do so.

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48 Comments

  1. Too much time in the ivory tower … one of the people from Dell at CES mentioned that 85% of their customers are corporate sales … to me, this puts Dell’s sales figures in a whole new light. The corporate world is dependent on Windows so Dell will continue to sell millions of machines … however, they are not so impressive in the home market. If I remember correctly, Dell sold 9 million units last quarter … 15% of this is approx 1.350.000 units … not so far away from Apple’s sales.

  2. Hmmm.

    It used to be that the wizards and sages of higher thinking, mental acuity, and uncanny prognisticism would boldly predict Apple’s demise,

    Now, the worst they can do is suggest a decrease in otherwise increasing sales, expanding market share, and rising stock prices.

    I am left to wonder if these people really understand what they’re thinking.

  3. Remember Long Term Capitol group. They were a bunch of Harvard/Yale or ivy league professors and nobel prize guys who lost around 95% of investors money in the stock market, and had to be bailed out by the government.

  4. So, we’re supposed to believe this bozo?

    He doesn’t know diddly-squat. A loser who relies on a book he wrote in 1987 to describe why we should listen to him?

    Hahahahahaha! Talk about a loser who’s past his prime!

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