“I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.
I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.
As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.”
“Several times a year, I have meetings with major PC manufacturers about their upcoming product lines, and the tenor is always the same: “Our customers told us this is what they want, and our market research says this is what people are buying, so we made this great product to address that market!” There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but you’ll never set any trends that way. If you want to make the product that everyone else compares their product to, you have to go outside the envelope. You have to take a risk to build something nobody has told you they want, because they don’t know they want it yet, and then you have to invest in it and stick with it until you get it right. The real irony here is that their marketing departments are constantly striving to find differentiators: ways to set their products apart from the pack. If every company is building products to address the same set of market research data, you’re not going to get differentiated products.”
Exactly! This article is a must read, and specially a must read by every guy that works in a Marketing Department somewhere.
I don’t agree with everything though. I think that many times Apple should listen a bit more to its customers. Yes we get it, you are the leader/visionary but we are the ones that shell out the bucks for your products. If ten thousand people complain about the glossy screens and request for a matte option, couldn’t you simply indulge us?
And the same goes for the poor deceased white macbook, which i sorely miss. Because now, when someone asks me why or what macbook should they get, i can’t simply recommend the white one that was good enough and cheap enough for most. And when most of your competitors sell cheap laptops (which i grant that aren’t that good but my interlocutor doesn’t know that) for 600-800€ that appear to kick ass in specs, is really hard to convince or recommend the a computer that starts in the 1000€ and always going up…
And this without even going in the thousand paper-cuts or annoyances in Mac OS. It is not that Apple hasn’t been warned or requested, it’s just that they refuse to listen.
But, back to the original point, Marketing Departments should understand that their point is not to undermine every bold move other engineering departments do and neuter them to mediocrity, but help to fine-tune and adjust those bold moves. At least that was what i learned in Business school. Maybe they were wrong? Because in practice i really don’t see that much computer companies doing it.
“You know who is making a shit-ton of money right now? Apple. You know how? By making software and devices that work seamlessly together, also known as what HP acquired in Palm.
So in a moment of critical importance for the future of HP, CEO Leo Apotheker decided that — in a world where Apple is crushing Microsoft and Google realized they need more control over hardware (like Apple has) — well Leo decided he wanted to be more like Microsoft.”
“American firms have been laying-off their engineering staffs for years. In today’s world of MBA-managed companies, R&D is perceived as not being a good use of money. Apple is an exception and over the last several years they have been producing one great product after another. HP worried about keeping up with Apple so Apotheker — like Lew Platt back in 1999 — decided to punt. Apotheker decided to no longer compete with Cupertino. He said as much this week.”
If this is actually true, and i still have serious doubts about it, then it will earn the prize for the stupidest dickish move of the year from the usual champion Microsoft.
Really??? HP thought that after not even a 2 months on the market and what, 18 months?, of investment on WebOS/Palm it would just conquer large percentage of the market and bring in heavy profits? Really?
To be perfect honest, i thought, after the Blackberry pad fiasco (what was its name? can’t remember it anymore) that WebOS was the only alternative to iOS devices. The OS seemed nicely built, with attention to detail and good general design approach.
Sure most reviews claimed it had some bugs and some handicaps, but the general opinion was: “it seems interesting, it seems good, but it still is not there yet!”. In my view all of reviews seemed more enthusiastic than Android tablets/devices.
It also had potential as a simple unifying OS over all the printers, tabs, Laptops/Desktops and smartphones made by HP. It seemed a really interesting approach by HP and one that could in fact brought some revenues and added value to their offerings.
And not even going to touch the independence from Redmond approach which could have heavy profits on the future. Even licensing to other companies possibilities.
So, why? why? why? Why would they kill as prematurely a possible beautiful swan after they invested so much in its gestation and it was still a infant not-so-much-ugly duckling !?
Again, i sincerely don’t believe this is true or that it’s going forward. I hope… But i’ve seen stranger things coming from “corporate world”.
“You have cut off my communication, disrupted my personal and professional life, effectively stolen vast amounts of my personal and professional data, accused me of something without telling me that I am accused, accused me of something without telling me what it is that you have accused me of, blocked any direct communication with my accuser, and given me no ability to appeal this decision or to speak with someone on the facts of the case. This company is headed down a very, very menacing path if it continues in this way.”
This is why i left gmail as my primary email address provider and started my own domain and email service with a small ISP.
These days, email is just too valuable to be left with an unknown company with whom you have no way to contact and no commercial relationship to demand responsibilities.
The only way you can contact with Google is by literally going to their doorstep and knocking. Which, considering i’m way across the Atlantic, is a bit unpractical.
So if you trust Google’s Gmail with your personal and work communication and you have years of valuable data there, don’t!! Own your identity!
Current Digital Rights Management approach and way of doing business by (big and small) Media Companies is simply moronic.
Yesterday, through John Gruber i arrived at this movie about an author which i had never heard of, but managed to collaborate and write many of my favourite shows and Science Fiction. ((not to be confused with cheap pulp “Sci-Fi”. ))
So i watched the youtube video, read a couple more things about him and thought “i would like to see this movie!”. So i went to the movie website and there was no indication of where i could buy it or watch it. So i resorted to my faithful Amazon.co.uk. And there i found this piece of info:
So if i managed to get to buy one of this dvds, i will probably pay import taxes AND still need a special DVD player or have to change mine region’s code every time i want to see it. Which i can only do 4 times, so i can only watch it 2?3?
And now for the other option: google: “dreams with sharp teeth” torrent
And that’s it. You will have the movie file in your computer in less than a hour. Without DRM hassle, without limitations, without having to worry about Region Codes in your DVD and if you are able to read it, and without having to wait for the “arriving in your country soon” date. And at zero cost for you and zero profit for the publishers.
So, as a consumer that is simply interested in having access to a product, what do you think most people will choose?
I’ve written below, something that has been on my mind for a long long time. Most precisely when i got so fed up with Windows performance deterioration, security faults, and just general clumsiness that i started looking for alternative OS.
Some of the comments on this article, here and on other sites, are basically that i don’t understand Microsoft, which i wholeheartedly agree. I don’t. Microsoft’s current direction is a mystery to me. I fail to see why it doesn’t want to address the change that it needs to do:
Fix Windows. Better yet, kill it and produce a worthy successor, preferably UNIX based so that it can stop being the lone ugly duckling in the IT world.
Or why it refuses to produce cross-platform enterprise and productivity software, when that is clearly the value generating activity at Microsoft.
Regular people don’t “want windows”. They don’t care about the insane start menu at the bottom left corner. What they really want to know is:
“can i open the documents and presentations other people send me?”.
“Will i be isolated in data exchange with my customers and suppliers?”
That’s the killer app for windows right now, Office and other Productivity software for the enterprises. Nobody actually enjoys using Windows. They use it because they have to. And the moment an alternative is present they will change boats.
Like what is happening now. The iPad is being bought because it is mainly hassle free. And the regular Joe can use it to check Facebook or consult the cable tvguide without being harassed by an antivirus or a mandatory restart windows update.
So if some of the elaborated and highly knowledgeable commenters/insiders can explain to me why Microsoft keeps letting alternative software being constructed and perfected in the Linux and Mac ecosystem (Mac for the consumer, Linux for the Enterprise), to the detriment of Microsoft’s own, then by all means enlighten me. Show me why have i been wrong stating what i have stated.
Assessment based opinions.
Unlike some fanatics/”guys with little brains” around the web, i don’t have anything religiously against Microsoft. Or Apple. Or Linux. Or fanatically in favour of them, for that part. I use what’s convenient and currently a better solution. I used Windows because for a long time it was
- the best value approach;
- the easiest solution;
- a good enough system;
I stopped using Windows when i got fed up, and none of the above were true. I used Linux for about a year until i needed a laptop (and linux on laptops is not the same as on desktops) and everyone refused to sell me a general consumer laptop without windows. I don’t like paying for something that i won’t use and generally disagree with.
So I changed to Apple. I’ve played a bit with them before, they were nicely built with an endless amount of detail attention and it had MS Office, which i would probably need for my coming PhD years. And i loved it. Mac OS is most of the things a Microsoft OS should be. (And a MS OS doesn’t need to be WINDOWS for pete’s sake).
But Macs too have, as stated endlessly before in this blog, several faults and shortcomings that i find annoying as hell. Yet, currently, they are the better solution for most consumers. Linux is good enough for most of them (like i said i have my mother and some family members using it for up to 2 years until now and no problem). And Windows is only the correct solution for a very specific and limited segment. And this doesn’t appear to change in the near future.
So for the offended Microsofties/MS fans, if i criticise Microsoft management and lack of direction, it is not because i don’t like or hate MS, but because i can see the great value hidden in the company, the great value of some of their offerings and i find absurd that those values are being slowly destructed by management shortcomings and in the end, is the consumer (as myself) that is being deprived of a good solution for its problems.
And Shareholders of Value too. Not to mention employees of their livelihoods …
I find this graphic astonishing. If added all the losses (done roughly by the graphic bars) it means that in the last 5 years, Microsoft has wasted, without any meaning, over 8 billion dollars. This is eight thousand million dollars! Lost. Wasted. Without any significant sign of change for the future.
And for what exactly? What is the added benefit of the “online division”? Bing? Hotmail? Why are MS stockholders quiet about this? It truly blows my mind. I fail to understand what’s the point of a company squandering all those resources into something it has nothing to do with their core business, and it clearly is not the future for them.
Microsoft should join Sony and some other infamous companies into a case study compilation of companies so poorly managed that you are amazed why they are still afloat. It should be mandatory study at management courses worldwide.
Advice to Microsoft stockholders:
- Fire Ballmer.
- Get rid of money burning divisions.
Break Microsoft into several isolated Divisions (example):
- Windows/Desktop and Server OS;
- Office and Business software;
- Computer related Hardware ((MS makes some of the best keyboards and mice));
- Entertainment and Consumer devices;
Make them run unbounded by other Microsoft divisions, and keep a trimming eye to those that continuously lose money or market-share.
MS Office has the potential to be the “perpetual” monopoly office suite for decades to come. If, and only if, it can cover all of the computer/OS bases that exist and may exist. And that means, have Office for Linux, have Office for Mac, have Office apps for iOS, ANdroid, WebOS, have a Office suite everywhere! Of equal quality and fully compatible.
If you can open, read and modify the same Office documents that your clients, colleagues, friends, and governments everywhere exchange with you, why would you want to change or bear the weight of “being different”? It would be virtually impossible to break this siege.
OpenOffice/LibreOffice only gets resources and interest because people need an alternative to MS Office on Linux and other low cost/low visibility platforms. That’s where the programming brainpower behind it resides. If there should be no need, fewer and fewer resources would go into it. And OO.org and other suites would slowly die or fade into irrelevance. KOffice anyone?
Why is this not being done? Because Windows folks won’t let them. So MS Office has areas where it is forbidden to enter. Ever. It’s like trying to win a war when you can’t step inside your enemy’s territory and you have to wait for him to come to yours. Slowly you will loose ground. And resources. And one day it will be too late to stop the full blitzkrieg attack.
What is the interest of keeping Windows alive if that means slowly choking all of Microsoft into a slow death?
And why is Windows the “soul” of Microsoft? It had DOS, it had Windows NT, it had Windows 2000/XP and now Vista/7. Why can’t it simply produce another OS, not named Windows please!, and not built on the same architectural errors, and just sell it as the new product? Apple has done it. Oil Companies are doing it as we speak, changing from Oil sellers to Energy providers. It probably won’t be easy, but it is the only sure way of having a shot at the future.
It’s like Ford still selling the old Model T (upgraded with lots of coloured fins!) when everyone around them is selling electric/hybrid cars. It makes no sense at all, except in Mr.Ballmer’s head. And tens of thousands of employees around the world are being guided by this blind steersman into a not very bright future.
To be perfectly clear i would be ok with Apple current proposal of terms of service and the App Store lockdown if:
- Apple would offer the iOS device locked to the Apple Store and with the 30% cut of every in-app purchase for 50% of the “regular” price
- Apple would offer the iOS device unlocked to the App Store and without the greedy in-app purchase cut for the regular price it is now charging.
You know, like a carrier! Either you pay the full price for the phone/device and it is yours to do as you please, or you buy it from us and play in our walled DisneyWorld.
Apple currently wants to own the best of two worlds. You pay full price AND you have to play in their walled AppleWorld where everything you do gets them a piece of the action.
You can’t always get what you want, as Mick would say.