Rare video shows Steve Jobs warning Apple to focus less on profits and more on great products

“One of more prevalent narratives currently surrounding Apple is that the company has lost its innovative edge,” Yoni Heisler reports for BGR. “Indeed, many critics look at products like the iPhone 7 and the new MacBook Pro and quickly dismiss them as incremental but ultimately unimaginative upgrades.”

“Getting to the root of the problem, some place the blame for Apple’s alleged innovation standstill squarely on Tim Cook’s shoulders,” Heisler reports. “As the argument goes, Tim Cook is an operations wizard but far from a tech visionary capable of steering Apple’s product roadmap in the right direction. In turn, some believe that Cook’s ability to boost Apple’s bottom line comes at the expense of the company’s ability to push the technological bar higher.”

Heisler reports, “Steve Jobs actually warned of the inherent risk associated with a company who focuses more on profits and counting pennies than it does on delivering great new products.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Imagine that.

SEE ALSO:
Marco Arment: Apple’s Mac Pro is ‘very likely dead’ – December 20, 2016
How Tim Cook’s Apple alienated Mac loyalists – December 20, 2016
Apple’s not very good, really quite poor 2016 – December 19, 2016
Apple’s software has been anything but ‘magical’ lately – December 19, 2016
Lazy Apple. It’s not hard to imagine Steve Jobs asking, ‘What have you been doing for the last four years?’ – December 9, 2016
Apple may have finally gotten too big for its unusual corporate structure – November 28, 2016
Apple has no idea what they’re doing in the TV space, and it’s embarrassing – November 3, 2016
Apple’s disgracefully outdated, utterly mismanaged Mac lineup is killing sales – October 13, 2016
Apple takes its eye off the ball: Why users are complaining about Apple’s software – February 9, 2016
Open letter to Tim Cook: Apple needs to do better – January 5, 2015

42 Comments

  1. Well, here we are today at 2017 and Apple’s mission is all ass backwards.

    Apple died with Steve Jobs. What you have now are a bunch of clowns running Apple and all they’re doing is protecting their cash. Ironically, the more $ they made (from Job’s inventions), the more conservative and scared they’ve become with innovation.

    Apple is on the decline. We see it in their hardware and software.

      1. Absolutely! Jobs clearly had the commitment to year after year make the Mac a better value. He knew the Mac would never compete on price, but clearly understood the need for constant improvement. Cook and his team clearly have put all their eggs in iPhone and accessories. The rest of Apple is dying because Cook doesn’t invest in it. Other companies are offering capable machines for way less money. The best software in the world isn’t going to be ported to the super expensive fashion machines. The best software goes to the capable platform that the most people buy. IOS is not capable. Make the Mac great again with consistency and user focus! Jobs: “Make great computer tools”. See how he realized that the goal of the Mac was to be useful? Make it a tool that people can use !

  2. Notice to Apple: “Please watch this video”

    If you make great products, you will be successful. If you make good products, price them like great products, and enjoy short term margins and profits, you will die. People will learn that they get better value elsewhere.

    PLEASE turn this around!

    1. Me too. What strikes me is how utterly humorless and stiff Apple’s entire management team is compared to Steve. I find it hard to believe they really are this way, but their culture has become a stifling mess. Steve acted like he was part of the larger computing culture and society, Apple acts like an aloof behemoth now. There’s probably no going back anymore.

      What was funny from the vid was Steve dismissing the idea of “convergence” between television and computers, since people went to computers to turn their brains on, while to TV to turn their brains off. LOL Computers/smartphones are by far the dominant entertainment devices now. iPads are essentially entertainment consumption devices.

      1. Yes, the convergence bit was definitely the highlight for me as well. lol

        Personally, I think all Apple needs to stop trying appease Wall street and critics. Just get back to basics. Keep striving to make the best products they possibly can and stop pricing out students. Stop reaching to try and figure out what the “next great thing” is. It will come when it comes.

        1. Do they seriously expect students to use iPads as their primary computing devices? The only real choice for students laptop-wise is the $999 Air, essentially the same one I bought 3 years ago. The Macbook with its one USB-C port or even the new Pros, would be frivolous expenditures for most students. If I were buying a new laptop now it would be last year’s 13″ or 15″ Pro.

  3. Watching this video bitterly reminds me of how brilliant Steve Jobs was on so many levels and how truly irreplaceable he was. To expect ANYONE to be able to even come close to matching him is an exercise in futility.

    Do I wish Apple was better than it is post-SJ? Of course, but the reality is that the decline we are seeing is not surprising. I think that Tim Cook et al. can and should do better but it is now more evident than ever that Apple will never, never be the same. And thats just very, very sad to me.

    Some human beings are so brilliant, unique, inspiring, etc. that they simply cannot be replaced.

    1. It is very hard to face up to a wrong turn in our personal fortunes. The iron reality is that when the world around us changes, we must recognise it and find a way to adapt to the emerging reality. Whining is the opposite of adaptation; it is an expression of weakness, an unwarranted faith in an imagined loyalty compact that never existed.

      1. Big shifts in computer paradigms occurred in the past years impulsed by Steve Jobs, but the Mac or Apple in 2016 does not represent a shift towards the future, event to its own standard, so there is nothing significant to adapt to.

        Most complains are about CPU and GPU performance and also about Apple reducing the hardware and software options available in the industry for the end user.

        Honestly these adapt or else arguments regarding the Mac or even Apple today are delusional, but I prefer to think they are a blind repetition of arguments out of context.

        So please, enlighten us what is it you see so new or advanced in Apple today. I already am a Mac user with a very recent iMac and I have been a Mac user for years.

        1. Constance Greene, ok I understand your reasoning but also I disagree with you. We should only accept and adapt to those circumstances we can’t change, but this is not the case.

          Contrary I think we should be very vocal and express all we have to say. In the context you are talking about “adapt” is to look elsewhere and be quiet.

  4. The differences between SJ and those running Apple now is stunning . . . he had an amazing grasp of what and where Apple was going. I forgot just how much I miss this guy.

    Note to TC and friends: please listen to what SJ has to say starting at 29.40, where he explains (predicts) what is wrong with Apple in 2017.

    1. BMassive Bulls Eye 🎯 !!!
      Right on 👍 ttm.

      now this should be required good morning greeting for everyone working at Apple ..Everyday ! the moment they turn on their computers..

      1. I agree great insights from Steve.

        (I get flamed sometimes when I mentioned Jobs, so many Apple users today are newcomers and don’t really have a conception of the genius of Jobs and how Apple used to be and they figure Apple is ‘fine’ now).

        as for products Tim Cook seems to try to encourage innovation WITHOUT UNDERSTAND WHAT INNOVATION IS.

        i.e Apple today apparently rewards ‘newness’ as ‘innovation’ so it seems a new WATCH BAND (as it is ‘new’ ) is just as important or EVEN MORE important than upgrading Macs (as ‘upgrades’ isn’t ‘NEW’ )….

        there doesn’t seem to be the giant brain (Steve Jobs) coordinating product innovation anymore at Apple. Whatever is good seems much more haphazard. (the IPad Pro is great hardware, I have a 12.9 model, but where is the PRO OS? see no coordination… )

        1. Totally Agreed..
          i have been suggesting and crying for an IOS-PRO for soooo long now …with full user manageable file sys and capabilty to run full blown Applications….. upgrade for a fee >> added revenue for Apple and Happy power users….win win for All ..

          In General .. Apples negligent stance towards Pro/Power users is increadbly shortsighted and suicidal .

          Apple desperately needs a new Vision Guru … someone with a coherent view of Apple future, products and marketing strategy!

          Small but not so smal Example …Apple axing Displays.. and forcing LG monitors on Apple product users… stupid!
          Now im sure most of us get it , displays are not profitable buisness ! but its not all about immidiate direct profits.. its the big picture.
          Hey Apple. …Consider Displays (and alike.. )as part of marketing expenses not a sourse of immediate profit Apple. ( it may not even be an expense if sold at break even )
          Let your logos shine everywhere there is an Apple product being used… not LG or others. … specially in the pro/power user environments and education !
          Visibility, Credibility .
          True Innovation as Dave (above) put it so clearly!
          Function AND Beauty .
          Worlds most valuable company can not just be a fashion entity… fashion is here today gone tomorrow!..
          Things are way off ballance now !

        2. 2 minutes of valuable business ponderings! “Yes, I thought quite a bit about that…and I think I understand it pretty well” (re: tech crash). He’s speaking of monopolies as those that find it hard to change…iterations take the place of innovation, or innovation is hardly necessary b/c the revenue needed is feeding the beast (Apple?). IMO, Steve defined/birthed a portion of culture through new tools/uses. Tim seems to feed what already exists. Gotta have a quiver-full of emojis.

    2. EXACTLY thetheloniousmac! I lived amidst this at Eastman Kodak. It’s Marketing-As-Management. It’s a great way to kill a company. It’s why I rant about this subject constantly.

      Pay careful attention to that last line Jobs said about Marketing-As-Management.

      ‘And they really have no feeling in the hearts, usually, about really wanting to help the customers.’

      Q: Does that sound like a plague issue of modern day business and government?
      A: Oh yes!

      Q: Does that sound like a plague issue at modern day Apple?
      A: To a bothersome extent, yes!

      I think we’ve identified part of the problem going on at Apple regarding the Mac.

  5. OK. I’ve been saying this in different terms for over two years now.

    Tim Cook’s highest priority is making Apple great, i.e., making a great company. That means making the most profit and having the highest stock value.

    In order to succeed at that highest priority Apple has to make products that Apple can sell (or find a viable way for Apple to sell other people’s wares) then Tim will push for products for Apple to sell to make the highest aggregate profit.

    The current focus is not great products across the board. It’s all about “the new shiny” that will make Apple look better and make the most money. It should be about making products that make Apple’s customers better.

    Back in the day Steve’s focus was to make better products to better the lives of its customers. Yes, Apple needed to turn a profit, but Steve’s focus WAS NOT WALL STREET. In fact, one of Steve’s main drives in the late 90s and early 2000s was to make Apple 100% long term debt free. Did the financial world like that? Hell no. Did Wall Street like that? Hell no. But it gave Apple the flexibility to do what Apple needed to do, and that was make great products that people would *want* to buy and use.

    The other day I made a comment that Tim and the rest must start forcing Apple to make Macs that Tim and the gang would not only want on their desks but also want to actually use. Hell, if there’s ANY product that Apple ships that Tim would not want to use, that product line needs to be fixed IMMEDIATELY!

    Great products make great company, Mr. Cook. It’s NOT the other way around.

    1. “Great products make great company, Mr. Cook. It’s NOT the other way around.”

      …more accurately, great people make great products…hence, Jobs’s obsession with hiring the 10x-50x than average personnel. Further, those 10x-50x personnel “bootstrap” each other in a competitive environment…pushing each other to be better than the best. Jobs knew this. It didn’t make him particularly popular, but it produced the best work.

      1. People could just study all SJ videos available. That would be a good start. Many or most of his presentations, interviews, and comments are interesting and even notable.

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