Apple spreading itself too thin?

Apple Store“Apple’s ambition may be starting to get ahead of the company’s ability to achieve it,” Troy Wolverton writes for The Mercury News.

“Renowned in recent years for its operational excellence, Apple in the past two months has delayed two high-profile products, the Apple TV set-top box and now, it said Thursday, Leopard, the upcoming update to its OS X operating system. The company pushed back the release date of Leopard so it wouldn’t have to delay an even more highly anticipated product, the iPhone,” Wolverton writes.

Wolverton writes, “The problem Apple is running into is that it’s a relatively small company compared with tech giants such as Hewlett-Packard and IBM, said Van Baker, an analyst with research firm Gartner. As of last fall, Apple had about 18,000 full-time employees, compared with 156,000 for HP, according to the companies’ annual reports. ‘Clearly there’s evidence that they’re not executing to the same level they have in the past,’ Baker said.”

“While Apple hasn’t been known for such delays, they’re not surprising, Baker said, noting that Apple is ‘broadening their product offering, and they have only so many engineering resources to go around,'” Wolverton writes.

Wolverton writes, “Apple said Thursday that it was delaying Leopard, the fifth update of its OS X operating system, because it had to pull some of its engineering and quality assurance personnel from that project to help out with the iPhone. The much-hyped device, which Apple plans to release in June, will contain a new, slimmed-down version of the OS X operating system, which powers Apple’s Macintosh computers.”

Wolverton writes, “By shifting resources to the iPhone, the company is favoring an unproven product that will compete in a very challenging industry, notes Richard Shim, an analyst with IDC, a market research firm. The delay – and the reason behind it – are ‘a risk and a sign of how Apple is changing and diversifying,’ Shim said. ‘It’s also a sign that they’ll have to be more careful with spreading themselves too thin.'”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: You can’t shift paradigms without pushing the envelope beyond the limit. And Troy Wolverton’s penchant for the negative angle on anything to do with Apple is tiresome (here’s but one example).

Related articles:
eWeek’s Morgenstern: Apple’s Mac OS X Leopard delay is no big whoop – April 13, 2007
InformationWeek blows it again: reports second delay of Leopard this year due to Vista compatibility – April 13, 2007
Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Piper Jaffray: Use Apple’s Leopard delay as buying opportunity – April 13, 2007
Analysts unconcerned over Apple’s Mac OS X Leopard delay – April 13, 2007
Apple shares drop nearly 3%, dip below $90 on Mac OS X Leopard delay – April 12, 2007
Apple delays Mac OS X Leopard until October 2007, blames iPhone – April 12, 2007

159 Comments

  1. Figured Wolverton would write such a crap piece.

    He has NO, NONE, NADA information to support his conclusions.
    He just pulls this stuff out of his butt as usual.

    ” ‘Clearly there’s evidence that they’re not executing to the same level they have in the past,'”

    Where? Where is this evidence? Show us.

  2. Apple needs to just be Apple. Just because they’re growing and experiencing some success doesn’t mean they need to start acting like Google or Microsoft. No more pre-announcing products (aTV, Leopard, iPhone…)

    They need to do what they do best: announce and release products the same day. It’s really cool that way.

  3. Oh, and another thing, more employees does not a better company make! Enough with the “analysis” that says Apple has delayed products because of shortage of employees!

    In the last couple of years, Apple has released more compelling and innovative products than IBM, HP, and Microsoft combined.

  4. You idiots always whine about people on here whining about Apple not being on time for products. Everyone has a right to their own whining opinion. That being said.

    http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=199000915

    Apple DOES need to grow up and hire more workers if they continue to branch out like this. Like the article above says, these are “Growing pains.” And it is the customer who gets to feel it with waiting, and semi-mediocre products (apple tv, its great, I have one, but yeah, doesn’t do as much as I wished, but oh well, it’s still proof that maybe Apple should have taken more time in developing the product and NOT announce it so soon).

  5. The real problem is that Apple is aggressively playing the market (read: Wall Street) to enhance its stock value, while attemtping to preserve a tradition (don’t ask me why) that makes it pin key product announcements to either MacWorld or WWDC, which are held on loosely fixed dates.

    These, of course, may or may not be aligned with engineering, manufacturing and distribution channel realities.

  6. HP has 156,000 employees and makes hardware
    Microsoft has 76,000 employees and makes software

    Apple has 18,000 employees and makes hardware and software that is superior to both of the above companies. It doesn’t sound to me like Apple has a problem with their resources.

  7. Amazing isn’t it? M$ shift the timescale on Longhorn/Vista, all the pundits yawn. Apple do it and suddenly the sky falls in.

    On a related note, have you noticed how the slightest cough from Cupertino now leads every Tom, Dick and Harriet to prognosticate ad absurdam, and do so beyond all reason?

    I wish I could get paid for writing shite like this ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

    =:~)

  8. I agree with that, they aren’t as big as some of the competitors and resources are naturally scarce. but, I think that management will see and expand as they see fit. i don’t think there’s much to worry about as long as apple paces itself a bit better so that quality doesn’t diminish the good will and publicity they’ve built the last couple years.

    MDN word: enough – there’ll be enough to go around soon enough

  9. “Apple has 18,000 employees and makes hardware and software that is superior to both of the above companies. It doesn’t sound to me like Apple has a problem with their resources.”

    BUT they still delayed Leopard! They DO have a problem. Quit worshipping the wormy fruit and wake up to reality.

  10. Perhaps someone should remind all these folks that Apple more than a year ago publicly stated that they would be slowing their development cycle from the previous 18 mo. to a more sedate pace. So, what is a couple of months getting things just right?

  11. “MacDailyNews Take: You can’t shift paradigms without pushing the envelope beyond the limit. And Troy Wolverton’s penchant for the negative angle on anything to do with Apple is tiresome”

    WOOO HOOO ANYTHING ever said about Apple that is Negative is not only tiresome, but a conspiracy by Microsoft and the trolls they send here to MDN. I think it’s great that 10.5 is going to be delayed!! It was great that Apple TV was delayed and I absolutely LOVE the blurry images it produces on my TV!!!!!!

    Out job as Apple users is not criticize but to blindly follow Steve!!!

    WOOOO HOOOOOO

  12. Yeah, so Apple’s got only 18,000 employees against HP’s 156,000. So, has HP released any game changing products recently? Invented anything new lately? Has Dell or Microsoft? I didn’t think so.

    Apple remains cauldron of creativity, despite its size. If an original product like Apple TV comes out of the gate three weeks later than expected, BFD! A next generation OS to set the bar yet higher for the competition is delayed four more months, and for some Apple is suddenly over-extended? OK, so hire more top talent; that’ll take a while. But meanwhile Tiger is more than fine.

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