The Register’s Jasper Hamill reports that Oracle biss Larry Ellison has told Apple that it doesn’t stand a chance of success without Steve Jobs at the helm.
In an interview with CBS, Ellison was asked what he thought of Jobs, to which he replied: “He was brilliant, he was our Edison, he was our Picasso. He was an incredible inventor.”
Then asked how Apple is likely to fare without Jobs, Ellison invoked Apple’s first interregnum without Jobs in the ’80s and ’90s, commenting “We saw, we conducted the experiment. I mean, it’s been done…We saw Apple with Steve Jobs… We saw Apple without Steve Jobs,” then “We saw Apple with Steve Jobs… Now, we’re gonna see Apple without Steve Jobs,” which Hamill parses as basically meaning that Ellison thinks Apple hasn’t got a hope without Jobs, the pace of innovation certainly seeming to be slowing, with just an iWatch on the horizon – a device that is hardly guaranteed success.
Motley Fool blogger Robert Baillieul disagrees, noting that since Apple stock began its decline from over $700 per share, the knives have come out for CEO Tim Cook, accompanied by a growing perception that the company is no longer forward thinking or innovative. Baillieul contends that this criticism is entirely unfair. No, Tim Cook is not Steve Jobs. Get over it.
For example, while Apple is losing its erstwhile market share dominance in tablets, Baillieul observes that’s only because the company invented the entire industry, and it’s only been recently that there were any Android or Windows 8 tablets worth buying (on the other hand he says, not Windows 8), so Apple’s market share was inevitably going to decline from 100%.
In smartphone space, now that over 60% of U.S. mobile subscribers already own a smartphone, the industry is facing maturity, so it’s a mathematical certainty that sales growth will slow and new competition will erode profit margins, and while since 2011, Android has taken the title of the top smartphone operating system, increasing its market share from 34.7% to 52% today, Baillieul notes that Android is mostly targeting the low-end of the handset market, and because Google licenses out its operating system for free to manufacturers, Android devices can significantly undercut the competition. Yet, Apple still maintains dominance in the more profitable high-end segment.
So Baillieul deduces, looking at these trends, its hard to figure out what Tim Cook supposedly did wrong, or what Steve Jobs might have done differently. He suggests that Jobs’s legendary reality distortion field is being applied posthumously to his legacy, selectively celebrating his long list of successes but conveniently forgeting his failures, while conversely in many respects the distortion field is being applied in reverse to Tim Cook — that ever since he tool thye Apple helm there has been a relentless focus on every single one of the Apple’s failures, but Cook’s record of success that seems lost in the conversation. For example, since 2011, Apple’s revenue and profits have grown two-fold, the iPhone 5 has been the best selling handset in the company’s history, and the stock is up 20%.
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