Linked by umad on Thu 25th Aug 2011 22:51 UTC
Apple I thought OSNews would be a good forum to talk about a matter that has been weighing on my mind lately primarily because the site has been so focused on Apple's patents and litigation as of late. The news that HP, the largest PC manufacturer in the world is spinning off or getting out of this business is what really prompted me to write this article.
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Tony Swash
Member since:

Nice article.

It is worth remembering that Steve Jobs was ejected from Apple very shortly after the Mac was launched. The people who ran Apple after Jobs left were, in retrospect, not up to the job, they didn't understand how the new PC industry was developing and they made many poor decisions. Having said that Apple still managed to do OK for a long time after Jobs left but by the time Windows 95 came out the poor decisions at Apple seemed to be multiplying, the internal management chaos was escalating and with Windows 95 it could be plausibly argued the Mac had lost is claim to being special. As a result Apple nearly died.

It is also worth remembering that Steve Jobs was not the man he was in 1997 back in in 1985 when he was dumped out of Apple. Jobs in 1985 would have made just as many mistakes and may have made bigger ones, and if he had stayed at Apple, he might have killed it. He utterly failed to develop and sell his vision of where Apple should be going with the Mac and his early huge success at such a young age meant he lacked the sort of leadership and management skills that come with maturity. What transformed Jobs was watching Apple, Next and then Pixar all go through near death experiences. It was Jobs failures during his long absence from Apple and Apple's failure by proxy that, I think, taught Jobs an immense amount. When he returned to Apple he knew where he wanted to take it, what sort of organisation he wanted to build, how to lead it, it was a 15 year strategy and it was almost pitch perfect in it's implementation.

One of the many lessons he learned was about brand identity, protecting design and intellectual property, and how to innovate. Given Apple's terrible experiences back in the 1990s it is obvious that Apple will never let that sort of stuff happen again.

Reply Parent Score: 6

smashIt Member since:

and how to innovate.

thats the problem i have with apple
everyone tells me how innovative apple is, and what they invented
but all i see is a company that excels at copying other ideas, polishing them to a mirror shine and selling them

Reply Parent Score: 8

thavith_osn Member since:

But there is a lot to be said for polish :-)

I think Apple does "innovate", but not as much as we (the Apple fanbois) would like to admit.

I think what Apple does well is take existing ideas (and truth be told, most ideas rest on the shoulders others) and takes them to a place few thought / dared to go.

The PC industry in general tends to be conservative, Apple (and some others) dare to push the envelope, even if just a little at a time.

Love Jobs or hate him, he has changed the IT world, your Android phone would be a much different beast without Apple (see Android back in Nov 2007 (10 months after the iPhone was first revealed))

Maybe without Apple the IT world would be better, who knows, but it would certainly be different :-)

Reply Parent Score: 7

Tony Swash Member since:

"and how to innovate.

thats the problem i have with apple
everyone tells me how innovative apple is, and what they invented
but all i see is a company that excels at copying other ideas, polishing them to a mirror shine and selling them

I think you may be confusing 'innovate' with 'invent' - they are two very different things. To give you an example: Apple's retail stores was an innovation by Apple. There are plenty of existing retail stores and retail stores operated by tech companies but the Apple stores were innovative for Apple and also innovative in general in how they were operated.

The Apple retail stores are now the most successful retail stores (by value sold per square foot) in any retail sector.

What was not immediately apparent was how these retail stores would be so crucial in the new mobile device tech paradigm. It turns out that access to and control of sales channels is deeply important to the sales of phones and tablets. Android phones could compete against Apple for a range of reasons but one was that there were well established sales channels operated by the carriers already geared up to sell phones. Android tablets have been much less successful (and may never be successful) and one of the reasons is that the same carrier phone stores that helped so much with Android handsets are, it turns out, not very good at selling tablets (for all sorts of reasons that we can explore another time).

So the way to view innovation (particularly in the new and emerging post-pc world) is that it can involve lots of factors, only some of which might involve new hardware components or new software, and that it will often be multidimensional - bringing together disparate but critical factors like value-stacks, brand characteristics, retail operations and channels, customer support, etc etc.

Innovation is complex - that's why success on the scale of Apple or Google (or in the past Microsoft and Sony) is so rare.

Reply Parent Score: 3