How could it have failed so miserably??
<br><br>Steve Jobs said it best in 2004...<br><br>Q: What can we learn from Appleís struggle to innovate during the decade before you returned in 1997?<br><br>A: You need a very product-oriented culture, even in a technology company. Lots of companies have tons of great engineers and smart people. But ultimately, there needs to be some gravitational force that pulls it all together. Otherwise, you can get great pieces of technology all floating around the universe. But it doesnít add up to much. Thatís what was missing at Apple for a while. There were bits and pieces of interesting things floating around, but not that gravitational pull.<br><br>People always ask me why did Apple really fail for those years, and itís easy to blame it on certain people or personalities. Certainly, there was some of that. But thereís a far more insightful way to think about it. Apple had a monopoly on the graphical user interface for almost 10 years. Thatís a long time. And how are monopolies lost? Think about it. Some very good product people invent some very good products, and the company achieves a monopoly.<br><br>But after that, the product people arenít the ones that drive the company forward anymore. Itís the marketing guys or the ones who expand the business into Latin America or whatever. Because whatís the point of focusing on making the product even better when the only company you can take business from is yourself?<br><br>So a different group of people start to move up. And who usually ends up running the show? The sales guy. John Akers at IBM (IBM ) is the consummate example. Then one day, the monopoly expires for whatever reason. But by then the best product people have left, or theyíre no longer listened to. And so the company goes through this tumultuous time, and it either survives or it doesnít.<br><br>Q: Is this common in the industry?<br>A: Look at Microsoft (MSFT ) ó whoís running Microsoft?<br><br>Q: Steve Ballmer.<br>A: Right, the sales guy. Case closed. And thatís what happened at Apple, as well.<br><br>
<br>M i c h a e l (OFI)