After $30 billion mistake, can Tim Cook manage Apple?

“The flaws with Apple Maps and previously with Apple’s voice recognition software, Siri, reveal some deep flaws with Tim Cook’s work as CEO,” Peter Cohan writes for Forbes. “You might think that Tim Cook is doing a spectacular job. After all, since taking over as CEO on August 24, 2011, Apple stock has risen 74%, and its revenues and profits have soared 66% and 85% in the last year.”

“But since the Apple Maps fiasco, Apple has lost $30 billion in stock market value, reports The Guardian,” Cohan writes. “At the core of this loss in value may well be the gap between the technical reality of a new product and the way that product is sold to the public. Plenty of technologies are imperfect when they are first sold to the public. It appears as though Apple Maps had so many flaws — I pointed out its six most epic fails – that Apple could be rotting from the stem down.”

Cohan writes, “How so? Either Cook was not aware of the problems with Apple Maps — in which case he is showing that he does not care about the quality of the products that Apple makes. Or Cook knew about the flaws and decided to launch the iPhone 5 anyway. And if he did the latter, the messaging Cook used to describe the product set expectations that were far better than the reality. And one of the most basic principles of marketing anything is that it is far better to exceed diminished expectations than to fall short of exuberant ones.”

“The core of Apple’s problem may be an Apple executive by the name of Scott Forstall,” Cohan writes. “As former Apple executive Jean-Louis Gasse pointed out, Forstall was behind the flawless Apple Maps demo and those flowery adjectives. And Forstall’s demo of the buggy Siri ‘seemed not only to understand every question he put to it, but to have a snappy answer. It has not worked so well in the wild, at least not for me,’ according to Fortune’s Phillip Elmer-Dewitt.”

Read more in the full article here.

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

Related articles:
People are calling for this Apple executive’s head over half-baked Maps – September 30, 2012
Apple lost without Steve Jobs? This week spotlighted that Apple without Jobs is a different company – September 15, 2012
An Apple CEO-in-waiting, Scott Forstall, sells 95% of his company shares – May 2, 2012
Scott Forstall, the Sorcerer’s Apprentice at Apple – March 9, 2012

74 Comments

    1. Exactly.

      Plus this is really starting to look like Google is pulling the strings of many bloggers to create a story out of a non-story.

      Be ready for the mother of all FUD campaigns. This just might get bigger than anything Microsoft ever tried to pull off.

      Remember, Google looks to lose millions if not billions of dollars because of Apple. Think they are going to just stand aside and let it happen?

    2. Agreed. iPhone 5 sold better in the first weekend than the 4S before it. Maps would have only been a problem for Cook and Apple market value if iPhone 5 had tanked. Given the sales figures and the reviews, it didn’t.

      Also, what are the chances that Apple will recover that value and then some in the near future? Pretty good, I’d say.

      This clown wants to tell Apple about marketing? JFC.

      Last, the whole Forstall thing is bizarre – he’s the problem because his demos did well?!?! WTF?!?! This seems to me to point out that a) while Maps does have problems, it is not as error-prone as some in the tech media are portraying it and b) anecdotal evidence is useless for a device with such large unit sales.

  1. after almost a year i have yet to see anyone use Siri in the real world. completely worthless product except for maybe answering emails and texts while driving

    and at least for me Maps is a huge improvement over the iOS 5 version

      1. i actually used to drive out to the farthest costco i could find just because it was less crowded and had open parking spaces

        as far as things like gas stations there are so many in NYC i just stop by the first one. or if i wanted the cheapest gas i would have the cheap gas app on my phone

        i equate it with google now. so much of what it does i can do my self, its useless for me. or its more efficient to use an app

        1. If you can’t tell that “costco” and “gas station” are just examples, you’re a fucking idiot. I’m sure there’s more things than costcos and gas stations that you’d like to find.

          Once, I asked Siri how many days it’s been since nine eleven, and the answer popped right up. That’s astounding to me. I didn’t say “nine eleven two thousand one”, I just said “nine eleven”, and she knew exactly what I was talking about. That really floored me.

    1. I’m with all the others saying you’re nuts. I use Siri all the time, as does my wife. We just don’t ask it anything particularly complicated.

      Examples of types of things we commonly ask Siri:
      “Call X”
      “Where’s the nearest gas station?’
      “Take me to [point of interest].”
      “Show me how to get home.”
      “How many ounces are in a cup?”

      Now, Siri’s messed up for me on occasion. It forgot how my wife’s name is pronounced. It could never answer the simple question “How far is it from Washington DC to Baltimore?”

      But please — Can the hyperbolic bullsh*t. Just because a product isn’t perfect doesn’t make it “completely worthless”.

      ——RM

    2. I just got Siri trading up from my iPhone 4 to 5 and my iPad 3 and I love it. It’s like a lot of technologies where the worth is variable to it’s worth to the individual user. What’s important to some of us means diddly to others. Respectfully it doesn’t make it worthless, except to you. It’s sort of like being the first transporter and you can only transport very small inanimate objects whereas someday you will be able to beam a complete human being. (Sorry for the Star Trek reference.)

    3. I love Siri and use it daily. “Wake me up at 7” “What time will the sun set today?” “Who’s older, Oprah or Madonna?” “Remind me to call mom tomorrow morning” “Add milk, eggs and honey to my grocery list” “Show me Jimmy John’s on a map” “Which is bigger, the Moon or Mars?” “How many days till Election Day?” “Start Pandora” “Read me that text” “Text John tell him I’ll be there in 20 minutes” “How did the Vikings do?” “When was the movie Gremlins 2: The New Batch released?” “Remind me to buy water when I get to wal-mart” “Give me directions home” “What time is it in Cairo?” “What will the high temperature be on Thursday?”

      These are all questions I have asked Siri in the last few days, just off the top of my head. I’m sure there’s more. If you’re not using Siri, it’s your loss. She works almost flawlessly for me, but then again I’m a white guy with a standard Midwestern accent and I don’t mumble. I’m sure there are quite a few of my coworkers (Chinese guys, I’m looking at you) who Siri would have trouble understanding…since I can barely understand them most of the time, what chance does poor Siri have?

  2. Stock value is irrelevant in short terms idiots!!!
    Remember when ANALyst said that Steve Jobs lost a fortune because Apple stock lost about 15%? How high it was when he die? He had 3 times more value.
    Real investors put their money in terms of 4 years or more, not in 2 days.
    What the so called ANALyst fail to see, is that for every Billion apple has lost for the maps application, Google will lose a lot more for not being able to advertise in iOS platform.

  3. Yet another bashing at Apple.

    I’ve used the maps app since upgrading to IOS6 and I seriously cannot see what all this FUD is about.

    The problem with success is that when you’re at the bottom everyone supports you but when you get to the top everyone hates you.

    All this apple bashing is seriously passing me off..I’m getting so close to not reading any of this crap at all and deleting all my news feeds and apple news bookmarks.

    LEAVE THE FUCKING COMPANY ALONE AND LET APPLE SORT THIS OUT.

    And Scott and Tim should NOT be sacked for this over reaction. All the people I speak to that moan about how bad maps is don’t even use it.

    Hell, the main ones that are moaning don’t even own a fucking iPhone so how the hell do they know how bad or good it is????

    My advice, use the app everyday for a month and then provide constructive comments to improve the app.

    1. The only thing I would change in your post is this:

      “when you’re at the bottom everyone supports you” — unless you’re Apple, who are laughed at and ground into the dirt with hobnail boots by everyone except an irrelevant group of indoctrinated fools;

      “but when you get to the top everyone hates you” — if by “everyone” you mean the malicious cretins writing the hate blogs and slanted “news” stories and their twisted followers.

  4. Its really annoying for MDN to perpetuate this tripe.. Even without comment.. When iPhone 5 sales continue go through the roof and Apple reports the next quarter sales, Most analysts will be caught with their pants down worrying about Maps, or Siri, both of which work relatively well, and are being improved with every release.

    1. But isn’t it about execution? Why,since Apple screwed up, is it suddenly about sales figures. I thought Apple only concentrated on the product not stock price? Don’t all the rabid fanboys here gush about Apple not caring about stock value but bringing the perfect product to market? I’m no fanboy. I’m no troll. I love my Apple stuff. Have forever. But as a user and investor I expect better. Not perfection but more than this sloppy execution with maps and Siri. At least Siri was released as a beta. Maps should have been also. This is a real deal mistake no matter how badly fanboy’s underware are in a twist. Don’t try to make excuses. Other than some fanboys here, everyone else thinks its an issue. A real PR issue. And that’s expensive. And MDN doesn’t need to say anything as the article speaks for itself. What? You think MDN should cater to Apple fans with no objectivity? No. MDN should cater to nobody. As a lifelong Apple fan, but not fanboy, I think MDN has become more objective as compared to the past. And that’s good.

      1. “Why,since Apple screwed up, is it suddenly about sales figures.”

        We’re pointing out sales numbers because they indicate Apple didn’t screw up. The hysteria about Maps is an invention of trolls and pundits, not something that actual consumers care about.

        If it were, we’d be seeing a dip in iPhone 5 sales. We aren’t.

        “I’m no troll. ”

        Oh yes you are. See how many times you threw around the word “fanboy” just trying to bait people.

        1. Precisely, @GM. GM attempts to sound reasonable while tossing out the same ad hominem attacks that he claims do not apply to him.

          GM, I believe that it is fair to say that the vast majority of Apple fans believe that Apple could and should have done a better job in rolling out this particular product. Where we appear to differ is in our opinion of the severity of the problem and the manner in which Apple should address it.

          If you weren’t such a Mac fan (not a fanboy, despite the fact that you “love your Apple stuff”), then I might think that you were trolling for Android by attempting to instigate a public reaction that would get Forstall and others fired just to screw up Apple. If given the choice between letting Apple take care of this and following your suggestions, I’m going with the veteran Apple managers.

          I just don’t agree with your recommendations and vitriol. You are blowing things out of proportion to the extreme. And I am not going to change my mind just because you happen to be highly and frequently vocal with your viewpoint.

  5. This is just crap. Pure crap. I read the title wondering how Apple lost $30 bil. I never imagined the author would be so lame to cite the drop in stock price. And then to question Cook’s suitability as CEO?! The Maps decision was made years ago when Jobs was around. This was a long term decision that was bounded by Apple’s 5 year deal with Google. Apple had no real options. Look Google screwed Apple and now Apple is doing what they need to do. Furthermore, this whole map thing has been blown out of proportion by a dysfunctional media that cultivates stories that are negative to Apple.

  6. #1 Apple has never given a shit about their stock price – the “professional investors” have made sure it has next to nothing to do with how the company is actually doing.
    #2 the map “debacle” is a PR problem. Forstall can learn to tone it down – he’s trying too hard to be Jobs and over promising. From my experience so far, both maps and siri are friggin fantastic. I also happen to live in a major US metropolitan area, not a small town in Canada, so I imagine I’m getting better service than most.
    I’d say the “pundits” need to take a chill pill, but those hit whores need their hits…

    1. I’m in Canada, and Maps works well here too. This past weekend it guided my family to a fishing lodge near Algonquin Park – remote by urban standards. The only glitch was that it named one road wrong, but the direction to turn onto it was 100 percent correct. Turns out the road USED to be called the name Maps knows, so I sent in the correction. Not a big problem at all.

  7. For Pete’s sake. 1 in almost a million apps. Idjit.

    I had a bit of trouble with the new Maps until I dinked around with it — took 5 minutes, just needed to learn how to use it. Sheesh. Talk about idiotic exaggerated hyperbole.

    Oh, and it’s better than the Google Maps app.

  8. C’mon Tim, ya gotta do better. You’re in charge! As the article clearly states, you either didn’t know or you did. So youre guilty in either case. And releasing maps as a product truly flawed is unconscionable. No excuse. Don’t know if Forstall is a problem but I do know who is supposed to be running everything. Let’s go Apple!

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