What’s really going on at Apple?

“Is there a more observed, written about or argued over company than Apple? I doubt it,” Haydn Shaughnessy writes for Forbes. “Given Apple’s level of success though why is the company increasingly associated with angst? Why is Apple coming in for criticism everyday now?”

“Aside from the fact that a lot of investors are sitting on tidy gains from long term Apple investments, the answer lies in how information and popularity work on the World Wide Web. It’s not as straightforward as you think,” Shaughnessy writes. “Apple is driven by public sentiment. So are all brands you might argue. True – so if you are the most successful brand, you are more driven by it.”

Shaughnessy writes, “The big question is how a manager like Cook regains control of mood. Criticisms of Apple’s performance are preposterous but they are in good supply. Do you just see this as the price of success, as Bill Gates did, or do you reignite evangelism in a new way? I think the latter and that Apple needs evangelism for a more open era.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Judge Bork” for the heads up.]

43 Comments

  1. A threat to Apple was an internal power struggle developing during the Steve Jobs to Tim Cook transition. It seems like Tim Cook took the proper action, if Scott Forstall was covertly organizing (or encouraging) some type of “rebellion.” Interesting, Steve Jobs was himself the rebel (and flying the “pirate” flag), back when he heading the team that created the original Macintosh. And then he got pushed out. Different times, different Apple, I suppose…

    This move also paves the way (I think) for Jony Ive becoming Apple’s next CEO when Tim Cook decides to leave.

      1. I might agree, if such a change happened TODAY. But it’s not happening today, and Ive has been moved to a new position that oversees and ties together Apple’s hardware and software. What better way to become prepared (in management and leadership skills) to one day become Apple’s CEO.

        1. Just leave Ive alone. Let him be free to do what he does best. If he were Peter Principled into a CEO he would be much less effective as a designer, and any benefit he brought to the CEO position would be negated and dwarfed by his attention being split between CEO and designer.

          1. Steve Jobs was a great “designer,” and LATER became a great CEO. And few would say his creativity was stifled by being in the Apple CEO position. In fact, he was also CEO for Pixar for much of that time. Steve Jobs becoming CEO of Apple UNLEASHED his ability, because (once Apple was no longer on the verge of bankruptcy) he could finally do what he really wanted to do. He was the only one who could say NO.

            Your “Peter Principle” argument applies to a general population of employees; it falls apart when you use it for any one individual, especially one who has already demonstrated his uncommon ability.

            Don’t underestimate people. If Jony Ive whats to remain in a mostly “creative” position for the long term, he’ll do that at Apple. If he personally desires to one day be Apple’s CEO, Apple had better make the moves NOW to allow that to happen (and make sure he’s prepared), or he’ll get bored and leave Apple. Apple will probably be fine without Scott Forstall, but Apple DOES NOT want to lose Jony Ive.

            1. ken1w – i usually agree with you… but here
              you best zip your lip, Jony Ives, does not need you
              to be his advocate.

              Nor does anyone need your views of history here…

              the major difference with Steve Jobs to Apple was simply
              APPLE was Steve’s baby. The opportunity for a second chance comes not often. And what a second round he brought.
              With that second chance, Jobs brought his best team players coupled by his vision and key control on all things.

              Ives might be passionate about Apple… but Jony never gave birth to the company… Scott has far more reason and drive to be the second coming. And since being cut from the team that drive might well be even greater. History repeats itself again and again.

              I disagree Jony Ives making a good CEO.
              Apples success was not built on appearances – as good as design is – a clean styling and simplicity was handled well by Ives… where can it go now… no where.
              Ives has dried up and he knows it.

            2. I don’t care if no one needs to hear my opinion or my “views of history.” I can say what I want. You can disagree, but you can’t tell me to “zip your lip.”

              The use of the “Peter Principle” to say that Jony Ive would fail as a leader, just because he happens to be a great “designer,” is moronic. When Steve Jobs was at Apple the first time, he was not an effective leader overall. He was not CEO of Apple back then. Then he left, gained experience and knowledge, and came back ready to be Apple CEO.

              Jony Ive is probably not ready to be CEO today. It’s VERY obvious that this move puts him in a position to gain the experience and knowledge needed to step in as CEO, at some point in the future, if that is what he desires and Apple’s leadership see’s that type of potential in him.

              Steve Jobs had Tim Cook to be his operations lieutenant, and that collaboration allowed Apple to succeed beyond all expectations. Well, Tim Cook is still an operations guru at heart, and now he has Jonathan Ive to be his creative lieutenant. With this change, Apple has the next best thing to Jobs/Cook, with the roles reversed. It’s Cook/Ive in charge of Apple, creatively and operationally.

      2. Agreed. Phil is so enjoying his work at Apple.
        I place him as the next CEO and make it happen soon.

        Cook will be ousted…
        Phil will take over as CEO bringing Scott back to return.

      1. Just a reminder that Steve Jobs was one the “rebels,” or “pirates” as he called his Mac team to the rest of Apple (which was the “navy”). It may not be the best thing for Apple if all of creative rebels are driven off; the next REALLY great idea (after the “iTV” and whatever else Steve Jobs left) may come from a “rebel” who thinks outside Apple tidy well-integrated box.

        1. So, is Andy-bot, Danger co., Ex-Apple employee, head of Android – one rebel who you must see as doing a tidy job outside of Apple – as an example which perhaps you believe Scott shall also fallow — to be a good thing?

          1. Not sure what you are asking, but I don’t think it’s necessarily a good thing if everyone at Apple was getting along perfectly and in perfect agreement with each other, all the time. Some conflict is good, because disagreement and rivalry often causes BETTER (and more creative) thinking, when all is said and done.

            This is not specifically about Scott Forstall. It’s about the risk of THE “Think Different” company becoming too “homogenized.”

    1. I doubt Jony wants that headache but I don’t doubt his relishing the opportunity to merge hardware and software design. No more worrying about serving up filet mignon quality hardware and have somebody else coming along and smearing skeuomorphic ketchup on top.

      1. FORM and FUNCTION is exactly what industrial design is about.
        Furthermore, how a device or machine is used regarding the human factors – this is ergonomics. Jony has now the control he needs to bring forth convergence in Functionality of Apple products.

        HI. the Human Interface. Basically a computer has been minimized to a plane of glass… a SLATE… is this form a television, a book, a mirror, a computer or a window? It’s appearance does not say much about what it is intended to do. Form and function do not COMMUNICATE clearly to users. But there has been a wide spread acceptance.

        Computers are rather odd regarding these ideas. This really is the beginning of Convergence… Jony Ives may in fact have a greater role in HISTORY to provide a responsibility as a designer to solve this issue.

        Or will he cop-out and just say The iMac is the convergence of TV and COMPUTER. That there is no need to further design hardware… no need for an Apple TV… iMac is here already. Form and Function have already been accepted and realized – and software needs to vanish from the devices clutter of skills it provides us.

        Cook on the other hand hates the idea of convergence.
        Ives does not. It makes sense that Jony would love this opportunity to actually harness the functions of design to the appearance the device. Lets see what happens – but it is a huge huge responsibility. And has nothing to do with coding – but more to do with un-coding – okay folks.

    2. I pray that Apple never appoints Jony Ives as CEO.

      I believe all the team leaders have a drive and passion for Apple. Jony does seem to understands that Apples greatness is due to the teams of people working together… but that does not make for a great CEO.

      The single fact that Ives was intolerable of Scott proves the man is incapable of handling the position of CEO.

  2. You don’t replace Steve Jobs with one person. If there had been another Steve Jobs, we’d have known about it by now. Cook-Ive and the Apple bench will carry on. I just hope that Apple didn’t lose as much as it gained by eliminating the fly in the ointment. I doubt it- I lean towards the designer.

  3. WallStreet loves to see AAPL fall just like it loves to squash small investors with great enthusiasm. When they feel enough small investors have been beaten up they will start pushing AAPL higher.

    I wish I knew when that point will be reached.

  4. Because America loves an underdog, and loves to knock down the top dog. Apple was the underdog, but now that they’re the top dog, American culture is such that it has to tear them down.

    1. But it’s not everyone trying to knock Apple down. Consumers seem to be very happy with Apple products. It’s just those arrogant tech pundits, a handful of hateful bloggers and Wall Street/hedge funds that are taking Apple to task. I know Apple is a fundamentally sound company, but it’s getting knocked about like a feather in Hurricane Sandy’s wake. The only direction it seems to go is down.

      I honestly don’t know who to blame for this recent hole. Hedge funds, news media, Tim Cook, etc… I just don’t get this high volatility. Maybe it’s really nothing at all and I’m just being paranoid. I do think that Apple is being attacked unnecessarily, but I guess if controversy draws site hits, then it will likely continue to happen.

      1. This is not just any former underdog. It’s a hippie upstart trying to teach some kind of lesson to the establishment, such as don’t build crap. Well, the establishment likes to sell lots of crap. It’s predictable, and it’s easier to make money that way, but now they are forced to ginger their horses all because of Apple.

      2. just look at Amazon, how’s it being treated by Wall Street, lost earnings thin margins sells tablet at lose upcoming sales tax coming
        etc., and yet amzn pps keeps going up and up very bullish (bulls**t)

  5. Trashing Apple is big business: clicks, eyes on pages, etc. News today is a business proposition more than a communication vehicle. Do readers get the truth? Who’s to say. But even MacDailyNews needs to come up with sensational headlines for us to read and advertisers to keep it free. I doubt most Apple critics have any idea what’s going on inside Apple or inside Tim Cook’s genius brain. Is he gay? Ah, that blew over. Can he be as creative as Steve? Will Jony Ive design better human interfaces? Will Apple come crashing down? Those headlines sell. But they aren’t news.

  6. Apple’s success over the last couple of years has lead to a gradual detachment from its core fan base as profit margin and arrogance seem to be in the driving seat . The company has more money than it knows what to do with so perhaps its time to make those peripherals a little less eye wateringly expensive and the Macs a little less expensive to up-spec when you buy on-line. Yes the combo of OS and hardware are great – and some margin better than the competition but the cost of RAM upgrades or SSD or faster spec processors is excessive

  7. what’s going on? apple digs itself into the deep hole, and can’t get out anymore. look at stock price. it fell under $600. unfortunately, it won’t be increased $600 anymore once it fell. unlikely people think, time is changed. apple won’t ever catch up what they achieved. it’s the last time they try to do everything. two VPs got laid off. weak performance of sale, high price point of ipad mini, and so on. apple is dead.

    1. Maybe, but even if Apple goes belly up, their remaining products will command top dollar on eBay for generations.

      They will become like automobiles in Cuba, irreplaceable, scarce, increasing in value with time.

      As treasured artifacts of a bygone era when quality once seemed to matter, they will become collector’s items featured on the Antique Road Show just like early Jackson Pollock paintings or Italian majolica.

      And while other ordinary manufacturers will contribute only to clinical and economic depression and the building of artificial reefs, Apple’s little survivors will continue to shine with a message to the next galactic overlords that once, humanity understood excellence.

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