I’ve been a huge Apple fan for a very long time. I was around when the Mac was introduced, and then the iMac, and then the iPod, and then the iPhone, and then the iPad, and then the … wait … what did they introduce after that?
Anything of note? I don’t think so.
I guess you could argue that they introduced the HomePod — but that was several years after Alexa swallowed up 70% market share and Google Home swallowed up the other 30%.
(“Wait,” you might say. “You’re forgetting that Apple says HomePod has an amazing speaker!” Really? We waited 2 years for Apple to introduce the HomePod and their big announcement was that it has a great speaker?)
But all is not lost at Apple. After all, they’ve said they’re-inventing TV with Apple TV.
Oops. Sorry. My mistake. Actually Netflix re-invented TV (as did Hulu, Amazon, and a half a dozen other platforms).
I guess you could argue that Apple re-invented the car, right?
Argh! My mistake again. Apple didn’t re-invent the car (even though they had plans to). Instead, Google is re-inventing the car along with Uber, Lyft, and Tesla.
But let’s give Apple a break. After all, they re-invented the home monitoring system, didn’t they? Ooops … sorry, that was Nest, and Google, and a few other companies.
Do you see a pattern here?
Where Apple Went Wrong
Apple is the most valuable company on the planet with a market capitalization of $950 billion — and it might be the first company on the planet to pass the $1 trillion mark in the coming weeks. (Special thanks go to Zachary Kling who helped me correct the original market cap figure in this post.)
How can a company that’s the most valuable company in the world be in trouble? Here’s how — nearly 2/3rds of Apple’s revenue comes from a single product line: the iPhone.
That’s a monumental risk for the company. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but eventually. Why? Because they have almost all of their eggs in one basket and there’s no such thing as a product that sells well forever. (Unless you count the Bible, which has been a pretty big seller for 1,700 years, but I digress.)
Apple is the New Microsoft
Remember what happened with Microsoft? They were a huge company (and a hugely innovative company) for all of the 1990s. But then the market changed and, around 2010, they started to struggle big time.
The good news for Microsoft was that they pivoted and are now doing great again. But it took over a decade for them to find their footing.
Do I hope Apple has a similar resurgence? Absolutely. As mentioned, I’m a big fan. But if they’re going to see a resurgence, I’d suggest they take the approach Amazon has taken over the years.
From what I understand, when decisions are made at Amazon, the default answer is “yes.” I’ve worked with a ton of Fortune 500 companies and I can tell you right now that the default answer at most of those companies is “no.”
Why is that? Because it’s easier and safer to say no to something than it is to say yes to something. If you say yes, you risk failure. If you say no, there is no failure. (But there’s no iPhone, either.)
So Apple needs to change their corporate culture so that it’s more like Amazon.
But there’s one more change they have to make…
It’s Time for Tim Cook to Go
I have nothing against Tim Cook. He’s done an admirable job keeping a huge battleship chugging along. The stock price continues to go up, the reputation continues to grow, and Apple continues to hire the best and the brightest.
Then why do I say he has to go? Because Apple is running on the fumes of Steve Jobs. There’s nothing new or noteworthy coming out of the company anymore. Companies like Google, Amazon, and Salesforce continue to innovate and re-invent themselves. Apple needs to do that, too.
Tim Cook is probably a nice guy. And he’s done a nice job. But we need someone at Apple to re-ignite the flames that Steve Jobs started. If that doesn’t happen within the next year or so, then Apple will become the next Microsoft (before Microsoft re-invented itself).
About the Author: Jamie Turner is an internationally recognized author, speaker, and CEO who speaks about business, digital media, and leadership at events, conferences, and corporations around the globe. He has been profiled in one of the world’s best selling marketing textbooks, is the author of several business books, and can be seen regularly on network TV news. He can be reached at +1-678-313-3472 or via email at Jamie.Turner@SIXTY.Company.