• Follow us

Technology

Apple's Path to Destruction | Tech Buzz

One of the things I mention very infrequently is that I was groomed to be a CEO from a very early age. At IBM, I was part of two programs. One was a unique Tiger Team effort designed to correct underperforming units by eliminating problem executives, and then replacing them with team members until new and hopefully better executives could be found. The other was the firm's grooming program for top executives. Those were on top of my three management degrees and Certified Management Accounting certificate.

The IBM programs provided access to a massive amount of resources that detailed both the success and failure of companies at the time, giving me a unique view of what kills a company.

One of the big company killers -- and Chrysler before Lee Iacocca is a leading example -- is excess product breadth. That is what we just saw from Apple last week.

I'll explain and then close with my product of the week: the Tesla Y SUV, which could be the true breakout car for the company.

The Cause of Excess Product Diversity

There are several reasons companies develop a diverse product portfolio. The most common is that they have run out of steam in their core business, so they look to another industry or product category for growth, because it looks easy. The smart way to approach this is with aligned products; interestingly, that is kind of what Chrysler seemed to do. Chrysler was in cars, and cars were in the umbrella industry of personal transportation -- so why not do yachts and executive aircraft?

However, the unanticipated problems were significant. One problem was that airplanes must go through a much more rigorous testing process than cars do. Chrysler was not yet familiar with the process, and it was very costly. In addition, the market was dominated by a few players that people trusted their lives to, and Chrysler's reputation for cars wasn't in line with the reputation that was needed for planes.

Another reason -- and this one was overarching -- was that both yachts and private jets are premium luxury vehicles. Chrysler's brand wasn't considered to be a premium luxury brand, at least not in the same way yachts and private jets were. They were more in tune with Mercedes or Rolls Royce. It is very difficult to take a brand not equated with extreme luxury and apply it to a luxury market.

We recently saw this with the Mazda Amati. Unlike Toyota and Lexus, Mazda tried to sell a luxury car under its Mazda brand and at existing Mazda dealerships. It didn't sell.

Finally, it's all about breadth. It is extremely hard to stay up to date on multiple industries, which is why very diverse companies like Sony -- which moved from technology to content, and then went into decline -- have trouble.

Every industry has its own unique rules, not only for operation, but regarding how to navigate diverse regulatory, customer and market differences. An executive overseeing the resulting complex mess is virtually always dependent on people who know what the boss doesn't know about an industry, even though they don't really know what skills are needed to do the job.

If I were to net this out, the mistake often is that it seems that other industries are attractive and easy to enter, because it's only the results that are apparent. The reality is that every industry is near equally complex, but in different ways. While some appear easy from the outside, the complexity on the inside can be daunting.

Executive leadership in those industries often has similar requirements regarding unique skills, education and experience. These skills often don't translate from one industry to another, yet for some insane reason, many feel that if they can manage one industry, then they are equally capable of managing an industry they don't know much about. Generally that isn't remotely true.

Apple's Coming Nightmare

Apple launched a TV service last week, and it has several other initiatives in development, including an automobile. If we look back to when Apple was in danger of going under -- before Steve Jobs returned -- at the core of the problem was that Apple had too many products in too many different but aligned areas.

It had a PDA product, called the "Newton," that was underperforming. It had a digital camera that underperformed. It had a commercial PC line that was underperforming. It had a consumer PC line that was underperforming, and it had a printer line that was underperforming.

When Jobs took over, he discontinued the PDA, the cameras, the corporate PC lines, the printers, and pretty much everything but consumer PCs, which kept the lights on. Then he pivoted to the iPod as the strategic platform for the company, put most of his marketing assets and personal efforts behind it, and its success caused Apple to rise from the ashes.

During his tenure, he kept the product line focused and simple. The iPod touch was an iPod with a screen. The iPhone was an iPod with phone capability. The iPad was a big iPod, etc. Each new thing built on the expertise, channel and marketing that came before it, and that set the foundation for Apple becoming the most valuable company in the world.

Then Tim Cook, who came out of Compaq, another product-rich company that had been in deep trouble before losing its identity in a buyout by HP (which coincidentally is doing well by focusing exclusively on PCs and Printers).

Cook has taken Apple back to being an even more diverse company than it was when Steve Jobs took over. It even has diverged from the "iProduct" naming methodology.

Currently the HomePod is underperforming. The Apple Watch, which should have had an upside like the iPod or iPhone, is underperforming. The iPad -- largely because Apple pulled marketing focus back sharply -- is underperforming. Its PCs are underperforming.

Now Apple plans to add a video service to its music service, and it has both cars and mixed reality solutions coming.

In short, Tim Cook is systematically undoing everything Steve Jobs did, and exceeding the amount of product diversity and anti-synergy that existed before Jobs returned. I don't think this will end well at all, simply because the firm lacks the executive breadth to deal with an extremely diverse product line, and this line will dilute Apple's sales and marketing efforts substantially.

Wrapping Up

The lesson I think Apple is going to relearn is that it is best at focus, and it loses its edge when it becomes too diverse. It does kind of amaze me that consumer electronics companies in general just didn't seem to get how and why Apple was so successful under Jobs, and they can't seem to repeat it.

Google and Facebook are the exceptions in terms of lack of focus. However, Google makes so much money on advertising that the risk it faces is more regulatory in nature, with potentially huge fines, than declining operational efficiency. In short, Google pretty much has a money machine, and if it doesn't break that, then it can be almost as diverse as it wants to be.

So, even Apple didn't really learn Steve Jobs' lesson of focus, and it already has become far more diverse than Chrysler ever was, making it likely that it will drop far faster than Chrysler did -- granted with massive reserves, which Chrysler never had.

That is why I think Apple is going down a path than won't result in good news, and the irony is that Sony did something similar with respect to media, and it almost went under. Apple is adding even more complexity than Sony did over time.

I just hope the next company learns this lesson, because watching an icon fall is incredibly painful. (Oh, and Qualcomm just won another patent licensing case as well -- another thing that obviously can't be good for Apple.)

Rob Enderle's Product of the Week

One of the big problems with Tesla is that it generally has made car types that either aren't that popular anymore or are so complex they are horrid cars to own and drive. People just don't buy large sedans, and even small sedans just aren't that popular, which is why Ford and GM both appear to be abandoning them.

SUVs are popular, but the Model X is a complex and relatively inelegant beast, largely because of three things: a windshield that is wicked expensive to replace (around $10K) and so large it is a rock magnet; those great-looking gull wing doors, which are support and reliability nightmares; and a cargo capacity that initially was hurt by the inability to fold down the rear seats, making the X arguably the least practical SUV on the market.

The new Model 3 is a fantastic car for the money (though it had a lot of fit-and-finish problems). It is well priced, and it has been surprisingly popular.

However, the announced Model Y fits the sweet spot of Model 3, like price and performance, and the small SUV is one of the most popular configurations currently on the market.

Tesla Model Y

Tesla Y

The result should be a market killer with a strong price, great range, nice looks (I still think it needs a front grill because the front reminds me too much of Voldemort's missing nose), and exceptional value.

It should be impressive on and off road, and provide great capacity. It also should be the most popular car from Tesla, giving it a real opportunity -- if it can make enough -- of becoming the highest-volume car in the U.S., massively moving forward the related green initiative by reducing carbon emissions (in areas with green power generation) massively.

Until now, there hasn't been a Tesla I'd buy, but even with the Voldemort nose, I'd buy this new Tesla in a New York minute. As a result, the Tesla Y is my product of the week (and thank god it doesn't have those damn gull wing doors).

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ECT News Network.

Rob Enderle has been an ECT News Network columnist since 2003. His areas of interest include AI, autonomous driving, drones, personal technology, emerging technology, regulation, litigation, M&E, and technology in politics. He has an MBA in human resources, marketing and computer science. He is also a certified management accountant. Enderle currently is president and principal analyst of the Enderle Group, a consultancy that serves the technology industry. He formerly served as a senior research fellow at Giga Information Group and Forrester. Email Rob.

Read More



Leave A Comment

More News

TechNewsWorld

Apple's Path to Destruction 2019-04-01 13:19:57One of the things I mention very infrequently is that I was groomed to be a CEO from a very early age. My educational background and two programs at I

New Zorin OS 15 Beta Is Worth the 2019-03-28 15:08:15The Zorin OS 15 series, released last week in beta, introduces many changes to its desktop interface and utilities. It keeps Zorin on track with its g

FTC Eyeballs ISPs' Data Privacy Practices 2019-03-28 08:00:00The United States Federal Trade Commission has announced an investigation into the privacy policies, procedures and practices of seven Internet broadb

Apple Wants Its Credit Card in Your Digital 2019-03-27 14:03:25Apple has announced a virtual credit card built into the wallet app on iPhones. Apple Card sports a number of features aimed at helping consumers lead

Apple Presents Its Spin on Entertainment and News 2019-03-26 12:28:06Apple announced a raft of new services, including original TV programming and news and magazine offerings, at an event held at the Steve Jobs Theater

Telegram Provides Nuclear Option to Erase Sent Messages 2019-03-26 08:00:00Telegram Messaging has introduced a new feature that allows user to delete not only their own comments, but also those of all other participants in th

The Future According to Nvidia 2019-03-25 13:34:42I spent last week at Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference, and I expect this will be the last year it will go by that name. The company has evolved si

Phishers Bait Hooks for Netflix, Amex Users 2019-03-22 08:00:00Cybersecurity experts at Microsoft's Windows Defender Security Intelligence Team this week reported their discovery of two new email-based phishing c

SparkyLinux Incinerates the Hassle Factor 2019-03-21 13:24:35SparkyLinux is a Linux distro that can ignite your daily computing experience. Its spark is pushing me to rethink my computing priorities. Regularly r

New Oculus Rift S Pushes VR Experience Up 2019-03-21 08:00:00Facebook unveiled its Oculus Rift S virtual reality headset at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. It will be available this spring for $

Google Stadia: Future of Gaming or Pie in 2019-03-20 08:00:00Google has pulled the wraps off Stadia, a new cloud-based gaming platform. Using the power of Google's global information infrastructure, Stadia can

MOREbot Introduces Kids to Robotics Using 3D Printed 2019-03-19 14:05:09MORE Technologies last week launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $20,000 for development of its open source robot ecosystem. The company will fund

PCWorld

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's battle royale 2019-04-02 15:54:00Poor Blackout. For a brief period last year I thought Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’s battle royale mode was going to take off. Blackout l

Best smart thermostat: Reviews and buying advice 2019-04-02 14:57:00There are so many smart thermostats to choose from today. We'll help you pick the right one.

Best VPN services: Reviews and buying advice 2019-04-02 14:38:00Choosing the right virtual private network (VPN) service is no simple task. A VPN should keep your internet usage private and secure, but not every se

Best headphones: Our top picks for personal listening 2019-04-02 13:33:00Whether you're looking for an over-the-ear, on-ear, or in-ear model, we'll help you find the perfect pair.

Microsoft has closed its e-bookstore, and everything you 2019-04-02 12:51:00Microsoft has shuttered its ebook bookstore, yet another move by the company away from selling traditional consumer goods and services, with the excep

Verizon’s dubious new Just Kids plan is a 2019-04-02 12:21:00Anyone with a child under the age of 13 knows how tricky it can be to limit screen time. Whether we’re on a 3-hour car ride or in a long checkou

Control and manage your dumb appliances with a 2019-04-02 11:49:00Adding some smarts to even dumb devices can be as easy as connecting them to a smart plug. And today, you can grab a trio of those brain enhancers for

Upgrade your PC with a powerful 8-core AMD 2019-04-02 09:50:00Newegg’s offering a juicy discount on PC parts that can serve of the heart of a computer built for productivity or playtime. The online ret

House of Marley Exodus headphone review: Sustainably sourced, 2019-04-02 09:00:00The Exodus proves that you don't need to sacrifice sweet sound for mindfully sourced and sustainably built headphones

15 instant improvements to your Samsung Galaxy 2019-04-02 06:50:00Samsung’s Galaxy S10 and Note9 are sort of like the Las Vegas of smartphones. Compared to the simple and understated approach of, say, an iPhone

Webroot WiFi Security review: A white label VPN 2019-04-02 06:00:00Webroot WiFi Security in brief: P2P allowed: No Business location: United States Number of servers: 500+ Number of country locations:&n

Sinopé TH1120RF programmable line-voltage thermostat review: A smarter 2019-04-02 06:00:00It doesn’t offer the panache of a Nest or the sensor-savvy of an Ecobee, but those smart thermostats don’t work with high-voltage heaters

FOX News

Millions of Facebook records found on Amazon cloud 2019-04-03 14:21:46A massive trove of Facebook users' information was discovered on Amazon's cloud computing servers on Wednesday. 

High school students design technologies to thwart an 2019-04-03 13:46:33What if there was a way to impede an active shooter?

Minnesota high school robotics team designs power wheelchair 2019-04-03 13:12:53A Minnesota high school robotics team constructed an electric wheelchair for a 2-year-old whose family couldn’t afford to purchase similar ones

Two teenagers hack into high school's Wi-Fi to 2019-04-03 12:49:43That's one way to get out of taking your test. 

Russian spy plane flies over Area 51 and 2019-04-03 12:05:48A Russian surveillance plane recently flew over several American military bases, including Area 51, perhaps America's most secretive military site.

Singapore to demand that Facebook, Twitter and Google 2019-04-03 08:28:48Tech giants such as Facebook Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Twitter Inc. would be required under a draft law int

NASA, MIT engineers re-imagine airplane wing, unveil futuristic 2019-04-02 14:06:32A brilliant team of engineers from NASA joined up with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) grad students, among others, to redesign the tradit

Russia is hiding Putin's location, sending ships off 2019-04-02 12:57:18The Russian Federation used electronic warfare equipment almost 10,000 times to create false GPS signals that sent ships off-grid and hid the location

Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook regulation proposals are 'self-serving and 2019-04-02 11:33:01Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's call for government regulation of Big Tech is self-serving, cynical and a "monument to insincerity," according

Pentagon seeks drone-fired lasers to destroy nuclear-armed missiles 2019-04-02 08:49:31The Missile Defense Agency is engineering air-launched, high-powered, long-range laser weapons to destroy attacking nuclear-armed Intercontinental Bal

Fake news runs wild on WhatsApp as India 2019-04-01 14:20:57In India, viral fake news is lighting up Facebook Inc.’s WhatsApp messaging app as the world’s biggest democracy prepares f

Saudis hacked Jeff Bezos' phone and leaked racy 2019-04-01 13:49:51Saudi Arabia hacked the phone of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and is the source of private information that was published by The National Enquirer, according

TechCrunch

China’s Tencent is raising $6 billion through a 2019-04-04 06:01:54Tencent, Asia’s largest tech firm, is raising $6 billion after the Hong Kong-listed firm announced a new note sale today. Tencent last tapped th

Swedish fintech Zaver has raised $1.2M seed for 2019-04-04 04:15:21Zaver, a Swedish fintech that has built a payments platform to facilitate peer-to-peer trades and more, has picked up just over $1.2 million in seed f

Africa Roundup: Jumia files for IPO, OneFi acquires 2019-04-04 03:30:34Less than a decade ago IPOs, acquisitions, and global expansion by African startups were more possibility than reality. March saw all three from the c

Nauta Capital launches €55M ‘sidecar’ fund to double-down 2019-04-04 03:00:34Nauta Capital, the pan-European VC that invests in “capital-efficient” B2B software companies and consumer tech, has announced the closing

The Internet Archive has uploaded 450,000 songs collected 2019-04-04 02:04:36Last month, it became widely known that MySpace has lost much of the user data uploaded to it before 2016, including potentially million of music trac

Amazon reportedly removes the most obvious promotions for 2019-04-03 23:56:56If it feels like your Amazon search results have been overwhelmed with promotions for their private-label brands, like Amazon Basics, Mama Bear or Dai

SpaceX has completed the first tethered hop for 2019-04-03 22:48:54SpaceX has completed the first tethered jump for its Starship prototyped, Elon Musk confirmed in a tweet Wednesday evening. Called the Starhopper beca

Tesla first-quarter deliveries drop on challenges shipping Model 2019-04-03 20:37:09Tesla delivered 63,000 of its electric vehicles in the first quarter of the year, nearly a one-third drop from the previous quarter, the company repor

Facebook gets one step closer to building your 2019-04-03 19:28:01When it comes to representing yourself on social media, who you actually portray yourself as has always been a bit of a caricature. That thinking has

Ousted Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn says ‘I will 2019-04-03 18:48:28Carlos Ghosn, the former Nissan Motor chairman who was released on $9 million bail last month following three earlier indictments for financial wrongd

Toyota is giving automakers free access to nearly 2019-04-03 18:29:56Toyota said Wednesday it will give royalty-free access to its nearly 24,000 patents related to electrification technology and systems through 2030 in

Ruhnn, a Chinese startup that makes influencers, raises 2019-04-03 18:02:20Ruhnn, a company that enables influencers to sell through e-commerce and is plotting to change the face of China’s fashion industry, has raised

Thetechhacker

How to fix ‘No camera available’ Error in 2019-04-02 01:38:50Mac systems come with a fully functional or polished version of the Macintosh Operating System. Apple conducts various tests and several beta versions

Airy Mac YouTube Downloader Review 2019-04-01 06:37:19Downloading YouTube videos is one of the easiest tasks these days. Go to the YouTube video that you want to download, fetch the URL of the video, and

Lenovo patents a foldable phone design similar to 2019-04-01 04:44:54Lenovo has come into the discussion once again with its new patent. With many smartphone manufacturers launching foldable phones, Lenovo has also pate

Facebook announces new feature called “Why am I 2019-04-01 04:02:47Facebook has always been one of the leading social media networks for interaction. We already know that people go to Facebook or Facebook-owned WhatsA

Xiaomi launches its latest Mi Notebook Pro in 2019-03-30 08:15:28Xiaomi is known for many other products apart from its smartphones. Out of those other products, Mi Notebook lineup is one of its most popular ones. T

Oppo Reno spotted with ‘eyebrow’ pop-up selfie camera 2019-03-30 04:26:12Oppo is at it once again and this time, the smartphone is from Reno. Earlier, Oppo announced its sister brand named as Reno. This brand will release i

AirPower project cancelled by Apple because it won’t 2019-03-30 04:06:30Apple has finally made an announcement regarding its AirPower charging mat. In 2017, Apple made an announcement regarding wireless charging pad from t

How to be a Successful Freelance Programmer 2019-03-29 11:13:18An increasing number of people are looking to freelancing as a career choice. This decision comes as no surprise because it offers far more freedom an

Do you need VPN on iOS? The reasons 2019-03-29 05:39:03Most of us use iOS devices. iPhones and iPads are becoming part of our life. Usually, we use them for our financial transactions, messaging, social ne

Apple iPhone 11 rear camera design leaks once 2019-03-29 04:36:09Apple is not known to have leaks and rumors about its latest iPhone start this early. But this year has been different as we are getting leaks regardi

2019-03-29 04:35:01Just another leak seemingly confirming my January #iPhoneXI prototype leak accuracy… 😏 pic.twitter.com/qVWF59GgKr — Steve H.McFly

Google I/O 2019 schedule posted with the main 2019-03-29 03:30:14Google will hold the I/O conference in 2019 which is scheduled later this year. The company has already announced that 2019 Google I/O will take place

SlashGear

Facebook will terminate its Windows Phone apps on 2019-04-03 20:07:40Facebook has decided that its remaining Windows Phone users have had enough time to switch to a different platform: it is ending support for its famil

FDA warns some e-cigarette users have reported seizures 2019-04-03 19:09:06The Food and Drug Administration has issued an advisory that warns it has received some reports of seizures from e-cigarette users. The majority of th

Plex gets sleek new UI with improved navigation 2019-04-03 18:15:04Home media server software company Plex is rolling out its sleek new user interface on Roku and Apple TV, the company has announced. The UI brings a n

5G is a war the US is about 2019-04-03 17:48:49The US Department of Defense has warned that America could find itself conceding the guiding hand on 5G – and, as a result, wireless security in

Many Netflix US customers will pay higher rate 2019-04-03 17:27:13Back in January, Netflix announced that it would be increasing its rates for subscribers in many markets. Some customers have already been on the rece

Is this mysterious Motorola 4-camera phone a PureView 2019-04-03 16:45:22A mysterious new quad-camera Motorola smartphone has leaked, suggesting the company has more exciting things in store than just the G7 Series. Indeed,

NASA delays and extends its Boeing Starliner crewed 2019-04-03 16:36:32NASA has announced that Boeing’s first Starliner crewed test flight duration will be extended. According to the space agency, the extension will

Another huge Facebook security blunder exposes data of 2019-04-03 15:52:39Though we’re now a year out from the massive Cambridge Analytica Facebook scandal, we’re being reminded of it today with two more instance

Android Q Beta 2 arrives with zoomable microphones, 2019-04-03 15:42:19Google has launched Android Q Beta 2 for developers, giving them access to a foldables emulator, as well as zoomable microphones, multitasking Bubbles

Toyota unlocks 24,000 hybrid car patents to help 2019-04-03 15:24:55Toyota is throwing open a huge cache of hybrid and electric vehicle patents, offering royalty-free licensing for rivals wanting to get a head-start on

Shift work health risks linked to blood sugar 2019-04-03 14:56:11Shift work has been implicated in past research as a potential risk factor for developing metabolic issues and heart disease, and now a newly publishe

The 2020 Volvo V60 and XC60 Polestar Engineered 2019-04-03 14:50:49Polestar may be busy working on its Polestar 2 electric sedan, but that hasn’t stopped it rubbing some magic onto the new Volvo V60 and XC60 for

Electrek

First look at Tesla’s highly-anticipated CCS adapter 2019-04-03 13:26:17 Electrek got a first look at Tesla’s highly-anticipated new CCS adapter that should enable Tesla owners to get access to many more charging sta

Some Dems crafting climate plans while distancing themselves 2019-04-03 13:11:03 A number of Democrats are now considering proposing various policies on climate change, including clean energy mandates and carbon pricing. And many

Save on electric outdoor tools in today’s Green 2019-04-03 12:49:18 Spring is upon us, and we have a trio of green-friendly deals on electric tools to help you clean and get your outdoor spaces in order as warm weathe

Tesla Gigafactory 3 is now going up at 2019-04-03 12:12:15 Tesla is moving at an incredible pace to build Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai as a new video shows new buildings going up fast. more… The post Tesl

Renewable energy now makes up a third of 2019-04-03 10:26:20 Strong gains in solar and wind energy last year have pushed renewable energy to now account for a third of global power capacity, according to the In

Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, and Kawasaki reportedly cooperating on 2019-04-03 10:21:40 Believe it or not, the Big 4 motorcycle makers in Japan are apparently working together on a new electric motorcycle standard. more… The post

Toyota opens patents to help save hybrid cars, 2019-04-03 09:43:35 In an attempt to encourage the rest of the industry to make hybrid vehicles, Toyota announced that it is providing “nearly 24,000 licenses roya

EGEB: Canadian solar project on former coal site, 2019-04-03 09:10:35 In today’s EGEB: A Canadian solar project at a former coal generating station is completed. GE breaks ground on its massive wind turbine. Offsh

Tesla confirms new full self-driving computer is in 2019-04-03 06:56:27 Tesla announced today that its new full self-driving computer, previously known as the Autopilot Hardware 3.0 upgrade, is now in production and the c

Dem to introduce bill that would expand electric 2019-04-02 14:58:27 A House Democrat is set to introduce a bill that would expand the electric vehicle federal tax credit in the U.S., while linking it to domestic autom

BYTON completes winter test for all-electric SUV, aims 2019-04-02 14:34:19 BYTON, a China-based EV startup, announced today that it completed its initial cold environment testing on M-BYTE prototypes, an all-electric SUV tha

Ford’s ‘Go Electric’ event in Europe goes mostly 2019-04-02 13:34:27 Ford’s “Go Electric” event in Amsterdam today revealed the automaker’s electrified vehicle lineup in Europe, but all of the n


Disclaimer and Notice:WorldProNews.com is not responsible of these news or any information published on this website.