… it’s Apple.
In my long life I’ve lived through the creation of Apple back when I was at HP. Back then Apple seemed like a stupid idea, especially among “professional” software types. Then, of course, for a while, they were a skyrocket, proving all the doubters wrong. Then their arrogance took them down again. Then, amazing Jobs saved them (with a big cash boost from Gates). Then they got innovative again, and, boom, they blew up the market with the iPhone (really initially the iPod, which I still very much prefer over their phones).
Then both Jobs died and the world began to stabilize. New innovation was hard to come by in the phone business, which rapidly was becoming Apple’s only business. Whereas once before they had gone from computers and music to something amazing, now they were retreating, doing better versions of same-old, same-old. Where was something new? Come on, is every thing worth inventing been done? Not likely. But when you make billions from all your groupies buying another version, in a different color, of the same, once innovative, product, why bother innovating.
What is Apple doing with those billions of profits? Why aren’t their engineers coming up with something new.
Actually I know the answer.
Once I joined the most successful, most rapid growth division in HP. I won’t say which. Hewlett, himself, had a rule to spend 10% of revenues on R&D. But when a division has a single hit product, 10% of revenues means lots of engineers hired and competing for the “next thing”. Internal politics replaces innovation in the marketplace.
So now Apple has a hoard of marketing people who can’t figure out what to do, except generate new ads. Depending on being a “fashion” statement works for a while, but it also burns out. Why do even Apple groupies have to go spend money to replace their perfectly fine phone with a new one just because it has new colors or a different form factor, or even something real, like a potent new processor that no one actually needs, since there is zero innovation in the apps, which like Apple, are just milking their installed base.
So now Apple is another boring company trying to hype its stock with anything at all that increase revenues (i.e. price increases) or a ton of excuses why everything, outside their control, is going wrong (aren’t managers supposed to predict externalities?)
So now the birds are coming home to roost. A company based on being a fashion statement no longer can command its current customers to throw out last year’s model and buy a new model, that for almost all of them, does nothing they couldn’t do before. Sheesh, how hard is it to hook up on Facebook or Instagram – does anyone need a new processor or more RAM or a better display to do the same-old, same-old.
The only thing that amazes me is that stock analysts are now beginning to believe that Apple isn’t headed for the stars, that more gains in stock price are now questionable. DUH, it took you this long to figure out this is a shell game! So much for being the next trillion dollar company with more same-old, same-old. The loyal Apple fans are basically the same as Trump fans, no matter what shit is being peddled, they’ll be eating it. But that doesn’t quite, at least in the case of Apple, keep the net revenues on the upward climb the securities analysts expect. Too bad the voters in America don’t judge Trump at least as much as they judge Apple.
In my life I’ve had numerous interactions with Apple. And for a while they were a silly nobody. Then they became, for me, the hero of Silicon Valley, fighting off the Borg of Seattle. Then they got arrogant and were hard to defend. Then the Borge, at least in my interactions, got not so bad. Then all of this became irrelevant with Facebook taking over, not just as the Borg, but the Evil Empire. So neither of the main factions that defined my life (let’s ignore HP as a nonstarter despite my investment there).
So now Microsoft is on the mend and catching up with what really matters and Apple is still trying to figure out why a new color or a new shape of a hyped over-priced snob item isn’t working any more.