CNET On The Hypothetical Decline Of Apple

17 January 2013

Eric Mack, CNET:

Still a remarkable operation, but one that seems to follow the more traditional model of giving customers what they want, rather than the Jobs model of dictating to consumers what they will want.

Don’t believe me? How are you enjoying that iPad Mini that Steve told you you’d never want?

I’m sorry, but what?

Jobs didn’t “dictate” what consumers want; he just knew what consumers would want and put Apple on a path to do that. I see no difference to how Cook is running Apple today1. The iPad mini is a great product that many people found out they liked.

You can’t trust what Jobs said about the Mini publicly as proof ‘he would have never have done it’. As most sane people know, Jobs changed his mind on lots of stuff that he previously declared terrible. There are emails from the Samsung trial that say Jobs was “receptive” to the idea.

Regardless of Jobs’ stance on the matter, if the product is good, and by all measures the iPad mini is very good, why is there a need to complain? Are you telling me that you would prefer Apple to ditch a good product from being released because Jobs expressed his dislike whilst he was still alive? Now, that is an example of a dysfunctional company.

Considering Apple to be failing because it isn’t channelling Jobs is just bad logic. Nobody knows what he would think about their current product lineup and — despite the fact that many people forget — Jobs was not a god who never tripped over. Defying Jobs can very well be a good thing.2

At the end of the day, what matters about Apple’s stability and growth is whether they are making the best products in their class and selling them in increasingly higher quantities. That is the parameter by which Apple needs to be judged.

1 This could be argued as a point of criticism actually. If Apple is to remain dynamic and current, surely some of its practices should change? There may be an argument that, so far, Cook has been too conservative.

2 Remember, Jobs launched MobileMe. He was not infallible and without considering the rest of his team’s views he would have done other stupid things, like not allowing the iPhone to have native third-party apps.