Forrester CEO: Apple will decline in the post Steve Jobs era

“Apple will decline in the post Steve Jobs era,” George Colony blogs for Forrester.

“Sociologist Max Weber created a typology of organizations in his 1947 book The Theory of Social and Economic Organization,” Colony writes. “Charismatic organizations are headed by people with the ‘gift of grace’ (charisma from the Greek). ‘He is set apart from ordinary men and treated as endowed with supernatural, superhuman, or at least specifically exceptional powers or qualities.’ Followers and disciples have absolute trust in the leader, fed by that leader’s access to nearly magical powers. ‘Charismatic authority repudiates the past, and is in this sense a specifically revolutionary force.'”

“Sound familiar?” Colony asks. “When Steve Jobs departed, he took three things with him: 1) singular charismatic leadership that bound the company together and elicited extraordinary performance from its people; 2) the ability to take big risks, and 3) an unparalleled ability to envision and design products. Apple’s momentum will carry it for 24-48 months. But without the arrival of a new charismatic leader it will move from being a great company to being a good company, with a commensurate step down in revenue growth and product innovation. Like Sony (post Morita), Polaroid (post Land), Apple circa 1985 (post Jobs), and Disney (in the 20 years post Walt Disney), Apple will coast, and then decelerate.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: iCal’ed. We’ll check back in 48 months to see if the decline has begun or not.


  1. But for all of his inventions — “among them all, I actually think his greatest work was Apple itself.” – Al Gore

    24 months and counting. They will be disappointed.

  2. Disney, Henson, Polaroid, Sony – yeah thought I about that too however one thing that is very different for APPLE is the passion goes far BEYOND the Apple campus and right to the hearts of every consumers unlike ANYTHING ELSE ever has.

    1. There is nothing about Apple that is any different than those other companies. Each was the biggest in their field at the apex of their rise to stardom.

      Disney is probably the best comparison of all. That company was so intermeshed with their boss and his philosophical way of doing things, they never recovered. But, the same won’t apply to Apple because Tim Cook is well prepared to lead Apple for at least another five-years.

    1. Apple needs Cook… but it also needs a visionary for new products too. Basically Apple has 5 products. Look at the Apples site and the menu bar, categorized products amounts to?

      – Apple TV
      – iMac (includes the laptops and minis and pros)
      – IPad (includes iPod touch and all the MP3 players)
      – iPhone
      – Accessories
      (includes mouse / keyboards / routers / software and online store)

        1. Yes, there is something absolutely wrong with that.
          The filtration of crappy products and focus on what matters was a requirement for Apple during the come back years for Jobs. His vision to simplify the line of products was well needed to balance the economic situation Apple had – as Apple was in it’s all time low.

          Simplification of complex things is the beautification.
          For those whom simply regurgitation the Buddhism values to KISS – (keep it simple stupid) are blinded and merely lemmings. There is a degree and purpose and timing to Simplification. I agree with the philosophy that “less is more” but in hands that kindle the spirit of PROFIT – FOCUS – FUN I can clearly say you lack comprehension or perhaps it is that you lack experience on the topic.

          Profit is not what drives Apple. Stocks and money are important but not the only things Apple does well at. Its not the DNA in Apple to focus and enjoy the profits.

          Focusing only on the products at hand will not last either. Definitely not for a decade. Convergence and growth of existing products through innovation and technology advancements will keep them alive but will face a time for change – that i sweat to focus on – the future and staying ahead of the competition.

          Fun, well any Apple employee who loves their job is having a blast working on advancements and designs. It keeps them busy and they love providing us (the consumers) with these updates, tools and new things.

          The point was Apple needs to continue to innovate and create new products. Not just retina screens. They never invented it they pushed for it. And not that a new product implies complexity of the product line by adding to it – no. Nor does that bring complexity to the line. There is definite room for new products and also signs that some products have grown old and less useful – that those should be discontinued. Products do die off and those which are no long appealing should be left behind.

          Change is always a big deal. And it is through change that simplifies and reorders the universe of all things. Don’t over simplify ‘simplicity’ with a blanketing statement.

          – peace

          1. I agreed completely… Until you pulled the BS “lemmings” card. I honestly dont see anything bad with either side (right or left) they have different beliefs like religions do. You can follow as much of either as you want it does not mean that you agree with all of their ideas.

            I can also guarantee that no one in the US (most likely) wants a communist government. I am sorry if this wasn’t what you meant in your statement I just don’t understand all the political hate that goes on here.

        1. New products and innovation is what defined Apple.
          It will continue to resonate in Apples DNA.

          Knowing that, you KNOW what is stated above is enough said.

          People come. People go. Jony Ivys is a fantastic Industrial Designer; who is to say he will stay onboard for the long ride. Kind of makes your point basically worth what… on a stick?

          1. Spitter, your point is interesting but your condescending attitude toward others does nothing to persuade. Yes, all things change, there are cycles… You can clearly say that others lack your level of comprehension or experience… Really? That’s kind of funny. Anyway, of course Apple must innovate to keep from declining. And yes, eventually people move on, die, lose their edge. You and I will also wither and die. It does not diminish our accomplishments nor the accomplishments of Apple. Your comments diminish both…. on a stick. Lighten up and enjoy innovation, art, and ideas. Life is too short to dwell on the apocalypse 😉

          2. TSS Yea, and the world could end, the republications win the white house again,,, etc.

            It is strongly rumored that Steve J. left Jony Ive with much power in design and maybe function efforts, more so than the rest of the team. As for my point being worth… well, at least its a point while you just ramble.. My opinion. 🙂

            Ps anyone trying to guess out 10 years is just pulling crap from the air. My opinion.


    2. Think back a few years, all the analysts, pundits, and bloggers couldn’t quit criticizing Jobs, how he was a loose cannon, didn’t know how to run a company, wasn’t as smart as Gates, and how he was doing everything wrong. These guys are blind, and if they’re ever right it’s by accident. While you can’t replicate Jobs, one of his greatest creations was his management team.

    1. Thanks, bjb, for the link. I didn’t read that edition of Roughly Drafted when it first came out. It certainly makes clear that Forrester’s connections to facts or the truth when it comes to Apple is exceedingly tenuous.

  3. The article is right. When Jobs was around, I knew, almost for certain, that Apple would create something magical and it was waiting to be deployed just around the corner. Not to dismiss Cook’s abilities but attitude, foresight, passion, inhuman determination lead to where Apple is today. I also expect a decline but actually lower angle of incline.

      1. You over simplify everything.

        Apple is a team.

        It takes many brilliant people to come together and struggle with materials and deadlines and ideas – all converging to create a product as planned. Then it takes a great number of other people to actually produce the product.

        Its called team work.

        Without Jobs Apple would perhaps never brought in Ives.
        Everything ties to the team. I am an industrial designer and I respect Jony Ives… yet he is not Apples second coming. He is a brilliant designer and part of the Apple Team.

  4. I don’t think the George Colony has ever said anything he wasn’t paid to say.

    And I don’t think he’s read Weber, but, perhaps, had an assistant doing some “research.”

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