Are you ready for Apple’s post-Jobs apocalypse? It’s coming, you know. Soon. Just ask any tech pundit trying to drum up web page hits by publishing an anti-Apple screed. You won’t have to look far. They’re out there. Like Chickenman and the Kardhasians, they’re everywhere.
The latest is from Forrester’s CEO, George Colony (a card carrying member of the Those Who Can, Do. Those Who Can’t Become Consultants Club).
Colony has been drinking the Kool-Aid mixed by Sociologist Max Weber and then applied his research and analysis to Apple. The end result: Apple will decline in the post Steve Jobs era.
I know what you’re thinking, so, let me respond for you.
Yes, Apple will decline in the post Steve Jobs era. That means anytime after 2011, when the post Steve Jobs era began, Apple will decline. Maybe. Maybe we should define decline.
Has Microsoft declined in the post Bill Gates era? They’re making more money than ever, so by some measure, no, Microsoft has not declined. Yet, Microsoft stumbled badly in search, games, tablets, and phones. So, by another definition, Microsoft has declined. It’s still a rich company with many customers and a strong cash flow, but it’s bruised in places, damaged in others, and limping a bit.
What of Apple?
Because Apple was run by a charismatic leader who was willing to take big risks and drive his staff to unparalleled levels of performance, the company succeeded. Without Jobs, only decline remains. At least, according to Colony and Max Weber analysis and conclusion.
That must mean that great companies all have a charismatic leader who takes big risks and drives his company to unparalleled levels of performance. Really? All of them? I don’t think so.
What great companies have in common are great leaders. What those leaders do with their resources (people and money) may vary, but a company is led by the guy at the top. It isn’t just charisma, or sheer determination, or use of expletives whenever something isn’t perfect that drives a company to great performance.
Great leaders may be charismatic, but it isn’t a requirement. They may have a knack for design or finance or for hiring great people. Whatever it is, and the mixture of traits varies by executive and company, if they do well, the company succeeds. If not, not.
Colony predicts Apple’s decline within 24 to 48 months. That’s completely enough time to forget about yet another Forrester prognostication that missed the mark.
It doesn’t take much Googling to find out how Forrester’s research compares to reality. It’s not pretty. The company isn’t known for accurate predictions.
Colony concludes his argument with a simple prediction. “Apple will coast, then decelerate.”
Of course it will. Despite Apple’s fabulous product line and great financial results, the law of big numbers will be applied. Soon. Instead of 100-percent annual growth, it will be 75-percent. Then maybe 50-percent. That’s deceleration. Not decline.