Apple will eventually decline in post-Jobs era, which effectively stretches from Oct. 6, 2011 to infinity

“Choosing to back up his argument with passages from a dusty 65-year-old tome, Forrester CEO George Colony has written a controversial blog post provocatively titled ‘Apple = Sony’ in which he argues that now that Steve Jobs is dead, Apple is coasting on fumes and will begin its inevitable decline within the next two to four years,” Leander Kahney writes for Wired.

“Much of Colony’s argument comes down to this assertion: There is no longer a ‘singular charismatic leader’ at Apple. When it comes to reality distortion fields, Tim Cook may be no Steve Jobs, but much of what Colony says about the vacuum of leadership at Cupertino is completely untrue. In fact, Apple’s arguably in better shape now than it ever was when Jobs was at the helm,” Kahney writes. “it was Steve Jobs himself who recommended Cook for the job. And it was precisely because Cook is a ‘special, magical person’ that Jobs groomed him to be his successor.”

Kahney writes, “Colony’s right in that Apple no longer has a “singular charismatic leader” now that Jobs is gone. Instead, it has two: Tim Cook and Jonathan Ive, Steve Jobs’ chosen successors, whose talents and skills in leading Apple to greatness have been proven again and again over the last decade… It’s an easy bet to say that Apple will eventually decline in the post-Jobs era, which effectively stretches from Oct. 6, 2011 to infinity. Likewise, the sun may one morning fail to rise in the east. But Colony’s more immediate predictions of Apple’s demise are stupid and wrong-headed. Steve Jobs planned the future of Apple well. This is only the beginning.”

Much more in the full article – highly recommended – here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]

Related article:
Forrester CEO: Apple will decline in the post Steve Jobs era – April 26, 2012

29 Comments

  1. Even if he were correct that Apple would go from THE company to “merely” a very large and outstanding company, who the hell cares? Why does he think this kind of drivel matters? What impact does it have on my work, life, amusement, recreation, buying decisions and snowboarding now. Uhhhh — NONE. Wow – can you say, “Vacuous crap”? I knew you could.

  2. I would be interested to read Mr. Colony’s past opinions of Steve Jobs. So many of these clowns predicting doom following the demise of Saint Steve condemned every thing Jobs did when alive.

  3. If Apple becomes the worlds first trillion dollar company, will that be enough to demonstrate that the company is not in decline ?

    Answer – certainly not. The pundits will still argue that the only way is down.

  4. Forrester’s CEO speaks not from a crystal ball vision, but from a historical perspective, noting the record of other similar companies. However, the problem with this analysis is that Apple is not one of these companies and has defied all projections by all analysts to date. The future is not yet decided – the future is what we make it.

    1. The idea that Apple=Sony is glib and shallow. A more relevant comparison would be with Standard Oil, whose descendant, Exxon, Apple has just eclipsed as MVLC ( most valuable listed company). A calm, informed comparison of the histories ( admittedly short , for Apple) of these companies, and their role in each of their respective wider industries ( Energy, information), and particularly of the role of the leaders, Rockefeller & Jobs, in creating the business values and wisdom embedded in the intangible, but nevertheless enduring and critical factors of corporate culture, and market position, make for interesting reading.

    1. It’s true that every company can’t stay number one forever so he’s right that there will be some decline, but how soon is hard to predict. I’d say he’s only belaboring the obvious.

      I still wonder why he’s singling out Apple since there are lots of companies that are likely to fade at some point in time. But as another commenter pointed out is that even if Apple doesn’t stay at the very top for long, the company can still become merely a good company and stay successful for many years. There’s nothing wrong with that. I truly believe that as long as Apple continues to build high quality products and give good customer support there shouldn’t be a reason why consumers would abandon the company. Apple would have to do something very wrong to consumers for that to happen. I certainly don’t see another company just taking them down with better products.

  5. Every ignorant “Journalist”and Analyst” who thinks that all Apple’s ideas came from Steve Jobs, is ignorant beyond belief. Apple is populated with an incredibly talented and imaginative pool of engineers. Apple is not now running on fumes and is not likely if ever to reach that point for years to come.

  6. It should be know that Colony has a history of being shill for Microsoft. Why, because they pay him handsomely – so it should not be surprising he’s penned a Apple gloom and doom piece. Just like all the other “analyst” firm aholes, you can’t trust them as far as you can throw them. Colony = Forrester = Fraud.

  7. Just words from Colony to feed his weekly quota to his editor to keep his job.

    Steve Jobs wasn’t the company. Steve led the company. He hired near genius guys all over the place like Cook and Ive and implemented a management system & methods and put them in their own internal university.

    Apple is now infused with the right DNA. I doubt Apple will slow down in this century. More than likely, with the wrong powers in WDC, Apple will get so big, it will be broken up like MaBell.

  8. Apple started work on the iPhone/iPad in the early 2000s.

    One would think there many things that Jobs started that won’t be ready to release until at least 2016, maybe later.

    Then there are things that the rest of the gang started after Jobs left these mortal coils.

    1. Exactly.

      Apple stated in 2007 that they were 5 years ahead of other smartphone makers. Here we are 5 years later and they were right, only to have introduced another killer product in that same window of time. Apple has momentum like no other company. Speed and momentum are two different things. Other companies may be operating at a fast pace, but they will burn out just as fast because they don’t have long-term vision.

  9. If we look at all the IT companies in the short history of companies, there will be upheavals, survivors and extinctions. It is a no brainer to predict the possible demise of Apple. Anyone can say that. Jonathan Ives & Tim Cook have a lot going for them. We don’t know for sure about their successors. When Apple gets to be too big & dominating, their culture may change. Simple decisions become easier. There is no guarantee in life. Will Apple continue to be able to cannibalize their own products to rejuvenate themselves? I don’t know. Become the red arrows come, I have been an Apple user since Lisa days

  10. The future is planned. Cook doesn’t need to be a charismatic leader and Apple doesn’t need him to be. They need him to have hands in every pot and be the top of the food chain so that he can make Apple products universal through price and manufacture genius. That’s his job. And he’s going to be killer.

    1. Agree. With the magnitude of the logistics in managing to produce in excess of 100 million complex devices a year with a global supply chain, managerial skills take on a new level of importance. Of course design and engineering skills are still required to keep that pipeline of products exciting and refreshed.

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