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Steve Jobs

Ο Tim Cook προσπαθεί να καταστρέψει ότι δημιούργησε ο Steve Jobs;;; - "Apple's $100 Billion Waste: Tim Cook's Single Biggest Mistake As CEO"




[11/29: Update added at the bottom of this post. Also, the author was long YHOO and BABA at the time of writing]

I am a big fan of both Apple and Tim Cook. I have been for a while. I said Cook would do a great job as CEO 6 months before Steve Jobs died and defended his record 2 years ago when people were saying he wasn’t “innovative” enough.

However, I do have a big problem with one choice Cook has made over his tenure as CEO of Apple. It’s not the lack of a bigger screen iPhone sooner or his original choice of head of Apple Retail before Angela Ahrendts. It’s his decision to spend $100 billion and counting of Apple cash on a capital return program.

The program was announced in April 2012. It was the first time since 1995 (before Jobs returned to the company) that Apple had paid a dividend. To date, it’s been estimated that Apple has used more than $100 billion of its cash on dividends and stock buybacks. To me, that’s madness.

Prior to Cook’s decision to start spending cash on dividends and buybacks, Apple was content to let it accumulate on its balance sheet. The company had gone through a near death experience in 1997 and obviously wanted to ensure it had a sufficient cash cushion to continue to fund its operations in case the markets ever turned against it.

By 2012, lots of Wall Street analysts had begun complaining that Apple simply had too much cash sitting idle on its balance sheet and it should either invest it through R&D or M&A or return it to shareholders.

There are generally 3 points of view regarding Cook’s decision to start this capital return program:

(1) Carl Icahn and most other observers affiliated with Wall Street think it was smart and, if anything, hasn’t gone far enough.

(2) Chamath Palihapitiya – a former Facebook (FB) exec who is now a venture investor and a part-owner of the Golden State Warriors basketball team – and most tech people affiliated with Silicon Valley think it was dumb and signals that the company believes it has run out of areas to innovate in.

(3) Apple blogger John Gruber thinks there’s no harm no foul in spending money on the dividends and buybacks and supports not spending money excessively on M&A because part of Apple’s success has been staying focused – “a thousand no’s for every yes.”

I believe the capital return program has been a total waste of Apple’s hard-earned $100 billion. I believe – although this is impossible to prove – that Apple’s stock price would be just as high as it is today (or more likely higher) had they spent that $100 billion on a combination of smart M&A and smart R&D that would have continued to extend Apple’s lead over other Android phone makers.

Had Apple not spent any money on a capital return plan, it would now have over $255 billion in cash on its balance sheet – a quarter of a trillion dollars.

If I had a chance to have a coffee today with Tim Cook and he still had $250 billion (with access to much more zero interest cash through debt which he’s only used to date for funding the capital return plan), I would suggest he do five things before Monday morning:

Buy Tesla (TSLA) for $45 billion (representing a 50% premium over yesterday’s closing price) – and before he complained that that’s too much money, I’d point out that if he’d listened to me on February 20th and bought Tesla, it would have been 16% less that what he has to pay now.

Buy Twitter (TWTR) for $39 billion (representing a 50% premium over yesterday’s closing price) – unfortunately that’s 4x what it would have cost Apple to buy Twitter back in April 2012 when I suggested to just after Facebook (FB) had bought Instagram for $1 billion.

Buy Pinterest for $15 billion (a 50% premium over what the private company is rumored to now be worth, although it might be more now).

Spend $10 billion on better batteries through R&D. To be fair, you’d get some of this already through the Tesla acquisition. But is there anything more frustrating to current iPhone users than poor battery life?

Spend another $10 billion on other materials or features which are going to corner the market on some features that consumers will love yet will be difficult for Android makers to copy. How about $10 billion just to make iCloud work properly?

Altogether, this M&A and R&D spree would cost Apple $119 billion. Their cash levels would be $136 billion today instead of $155 billion. They wouldn’t have much revenue to show for that $119 billion but how much higher would Apple’s market cap be than the $700 billion it is today? If Apple owned Tesla, Twitter and Pinterest? That would be worth at least another $50 – 100 billion in stock value.

It seems like many on Wall Street believe the capital return program is the reason for the renewed vigor in Apple’s stock price which is up 48% this year alone. They say that new kinds of institutional investors plus widow and orphan type retail investors have been attracted to now own Apple stock because of the dividend yield they receive.

However, recall that the capital return program was announced in the Spring of 2012. Apple’s stock price initially dropped in the first few weeks afterwards. It then rushed up through September 2012 to all-time highs before losing half its value. The stock price bottomed out in mid-2013 and only really started taking off this year after a very bullish April earnings report.

Correlation is not causation. It’s not the Apple capital return program that made people want to buy (or sell) the stock. Rather, it’s Apple’s product cycle, margins, and top-line revenue growth.

Two years ago, people worried that Apple was a “hits-based” business relying on new phones each year. It seemed like margins had peaked and Cassandras were shouting that no consumer electronics company – certainly not one without Steve Jobs any more – could keep competitors from eating away at that margin. Samsung seemed ready to ascend to Apple’s throne. Tim Cook seemed to be a care-taker.

Sentiment about Apple the stock didn’t change because they started paying a dividend in my view. Sentiment turned around when Apple kept crushing earnings, people realized that the Apple ecosystem was a lot stickier than first thought, and Eddy Cue said in May that Apple had a product roadmap which was the best he’d seen in the last 25 years.

It’s always been the product which has driven Apple’s stock and always will be.

The day Apple decided to get on the treadmill of paying out money to investors forever through dividends and buybacks is that day they admitted to the world that they can’t walk and chew gum at the same time. A lot of potential innovation inside Apple died that day.

John Gruber – whom I respect immensely, and who humorously referred to me as “Action Jackson” for imploring Apple to “do something” with their cash – defended Cook’s decision to do the capital allocation because (A) he thought it was smart for Apple to adhere to a policy of focus over willy-nilly acquisitions and (B) he believed it would be marginally positive for the stock which helps with employee retention. (I’m going by memory from a Twitter exchange I had with Gruber 9 months ago, but I’m pretty sure that was his reasoning.)

Here’s why I think John Gruber is wrong on this issue. Anti-M&A Apple enthusiasts always say that, because Apple has never done big acquisitions, and Apple has been successful, Apple therefore shouldn’t do acquisitions. This is mixing correlation with causation again though in my view.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with acquisitions. They have to be value-enhancing and help extend the business in a direction it wants to go. If done right, they can be very value-enhancing. Don’t forget: Apple itself wouldn’t exist in its present form had it not been for an acquisition – the 1996 acquisition of NeXT Software for $400 million, returning Steve Jobs to Apple. I’d say that was a good use of $400 million versus if they’d simply paid it out in a dividend.

Even Apple seems to acknowledge this logic of the benefit of big acquisitions with its recent $3 billion buy of Beats to supplement its iTunes business.

In terms of the focus argument, Apple has about 45,000 non-retail employees today which is about the same number as Google (GOOG). If Apple bought Tesla, Twitter, and Pinterest, they’d gain 9,000 additional employees (although surely there’d be some redundancies here – 5800 for Tesla, 3000 for Twitter, 200 for Pinterest). That’s about a 20% increase in headcount. I think a company like Apple can surely handle that and keep its focus. I just don’t think things are so sacrosanct at Apple that they can’t manage these additional people.

Oh and I’m not alone in pushing for Apple to buy Tesla (which would represent 5,800 of the new 6,100 employees Apple would gain through the 3 acquisitions I’m advocating). Chamath is – I think — the guy who originally argued for this deal. John Gruber agreed with my idea of buying Tesla. Jay Yarow of Business Insider also recently extended my original argument. So, we’re all in agreement that this would be a brilliant – and frankly breath-taking – acquisition Cook should make. In some ways, it would very much resemble the NeXT deal and how important Musk could be inside Apple the way Jobs was.

Now, I’ve argued that Apple should make other acquisitions in the past. Some will say here goes “Action Jackson” again. But let’s review what I said.

I argued in the past that Apple should buy Yahoo (YHOO) for $23 billion back when Yahoo’s market cap was $18 billion. Now Yahoo’s market cap is $50 billion. I believed that deal would have helped given Apple some real web services which it still is lacking, plus a great partner in China through owning (what at that time would have been) 40% of Alibaba (BABA).

I also argued that Apple should have bought Facebook for $100 billion back in 2011 when it was being privately valued at $50 billion and critics were screaming that was way too expensive.

Would all of these deals shown a lack of focus?

Apple’s still doing something – who knows what? – with iAd. They’re putting some focus there. If you’re going to do that, why not have just bought Facebook for $100 billion and let Mark Zuckerberg continue to run it (if he would have accepted Cook’s offer). You don’t have to worrying about losing your focus. You’re paying Zuck $100 billion to have focus for you over that asset. (And wouldn’t Google have just hated Apple had they had the moxie to do this?)

Apple’s still focusing on web services and messing around with that area – not impressively. If they’re going to devote some focus there, why not just own Yahoo and have Marissa Mayer run that area for them? Oh and they would have acquired a 40% interest in Alibaba which is today worth $112 billion (pre-tax).

And, while it wasn’t something I argued for at the time, you can understand now what the value to Apple would have been if they’d bought Dropbox for “nine figures” (which is less than $1 billion for those math-challenged) back in 2009. Why did Steve Jobs stubbornly push back from the table and say Dropbox’s price was too high? Every time I interact with iCloud, I curse the day Jobs got cheap and thought Apple was better off staying focused and not buying Dropbox.

So, please don’t lecture me about focus when I criticize the folly of Apple for being too “stand pat.” Apple – and only Apple due to its size and cash balances at the time – could have spent $124 billion on Facebook, Dropbox and Yahoo and today control assets worth $338 billion (just for Facebook’s equity value, Dropbox’s estimated $10 billion in value, and the 40% stake in Alibaba). That means Apple would already be a trillion dollar company today easy.

Apple’s still focusing on iAd and web services today and they’ve still blown $100 billion on dividends and buybacks but they don’t have anything to show for it. Let’s not try and defend these lack of decisions as Tim Cook being focused or a thousand no’s for every yes.

Apple could have a quarter of a trillion dollars today in cash to put to work today. They could become the overnight leader in smart cars by buying Tesla. They could – more importantly – acquire our generation’s single greatest technological leader in Elon Musk and give him carte blanche to paint his canvas. (Somehow, I think Musk could find a better use of $100 billion than handing it over to shareholders.) They could acquire the single most unique and intriguing asset in the social networking world today in Twitter which, despite the recent management criticisms, is only going to be more important to our culture moving forward. They could acquire the single greatest threat to Google search in the last 15 years by buying Pinterest.

Tim Cook could make all this happen before we return to work from Thanksgiving next Monday. He could make Apple – a fundamentally great company – into a remarkably exciting company unlike any other in the world.

He should do this, but I doubt he will.

I doubt he will because he’s married a fickle lover in Wall Street. He’s paid Wall Street $100 billion to date and promised countless more billions in the future. This doesn’t make Apple a better company or promise a brighter future. And it doesn’t raise the stock any higher than it would rise anyway on the hopes of the latest round of new products.

There are times I agree companies should pay out cash to shareholders in dividends or buybacks instead of doing pointless M&A. I’d rather see Yahoo do that right now than spend billions more on another Tumblr and 3 dozen nameless acqui-hire companies.

But Apple can do much better for itself now with its billions rather than continue wasting them on nameless, faceless Wall Street mutual fund managers. No one else can put $100 billion to use on M&A and R&D other than Apple to transform itself for the better.

Only Apple can spend $100 billion wisely.

It’s time for Tim Cook to think different.

Update [11/29]: Comments and tweets are running about 99 to 1 anti-Eric’s argument above. I basically have Jay Yarow (partially) in my corner and some random guy on Twitter and that’s it.

However, I want to add to the argument above based on the reaction so far.

1. I would rather have seen Apple keep $100 billion over the last 2.5 years instead of paying it out to shareholders. Either you agree with me or you shrug your shoulders and say “what’s the big deal?” I think it is a big deal. It’s $100 billion! That’s nothing to shrug your shoulders at. It took Apple as a company a lifetime to be in the fortunate position to have generated that much capital and I think they should have kept it than paid it out. At the least, they should stop this capital return plan and keep everything from here.

I don’t think Apple’s stock price would be any different today with our without the capital payout program. I can’t prove that obviously but, guess what? Neither can those saying it is perfectly correlated to the recent rise in Apple’s stock price.

Apple’s stock initially dropped after they announced their plan in 2012. Wall Street never perfectly prices in what it perhaps it economically should. That’s why – for years – Wall Street didn’t seem to give any credit for the cash Apple was accumulating.

There are lots of companies who do buybacks and dividends and it seems to benefit those companies. But they’re generally not innovative ones. They’re generally at the top of their S-curved growth.

I believe the most important determinant of Apple’s stock price – two years ago and now – is how investors perceive the coming cycle of new Apple products. In my view, that’s what caused the 50% drop in Apple’s price two years ago (on a negative perception of that coming cycle) and it’s what’s caused the recent ramp up this year in the stock (on a positive perception). The dividends and buybacks are correlated with the stock’s rise recently but not the cause – in my view.

2. I think there are many tech-minded people who believe that the day your company starts paying a dividend is the day you say “I can’t think of anything creative to do with the money myself so I’m going to give it back to the shareholders.” Again, it suggests you’re at the top of the S-curve and you’re simply going to milk your profits from here on out.

There are lots of ways Apple could still grow. I think few who argue against that. I’d rather see Apple keep all its cash ready to attack those problems through R&D or M&A.

3. The Focus thing. For me to mention buying Tesla, Twitter, Pinterest, Yahoo, Dropbox, and Facebook in the post, I think it came across that I was arguing to do all those acquisitions and more big ones in the future at the drop of a hat. Any of those deals would have made financial sense but I recognize that cultural fit is important.

Apple might have looked at buying Yahoo 2 years ago. They might have believed it was attractive to own 40% of Alibaba years before folks were talking about it here and the potential ways Alibaba could help them in China, but they still might have decided against buying Yahoo because of the potential headache digesting 13,000 Yahoo employees who had been running on auto-pilot for years.

So, yes, cultural fit is important. And, yes, none of those companies might not have agreed to sell – like Zuckerberg. But Apple is still doing stuff in ads. They are focusing there. Either get in or get out of the pool. Do ads or not. And, if you’re going to do ads, you probably need some help. So acquire someone (else, because they’ve done some alread). You’ve got ample cash unlike any other company in the world so go for it. If you’re going to play around with Ping, go all the way with it.

Of all the potential acquisitions I suggested, I think the most interesting by far is Tesla. If I was Cook, that’s the first one I’d do. If it was the only one he did, I’d be happy.

I still think Twitter and Pinterest could also be huge assets in the future for Apple so I’d also grab them now at lower prices than what they’ll be in 5 years and I’d get to work on integrating them now rather than waiting and having more of an integration issue later.

4. Why did Cook choose to do the dividend and payout? I think that’s worth thinking about. Sure he was getting pressure from David Einhorn and Carl Icahn to do it but I don’t think either of those guys (who I respect) forced Tim to do it. I believe Cook thought Apple had way too much money than it could spend and this was a way to increase the stock price. He seemed to go out of his way when the stock dropped in 2013 to buy more stock to aid the stock price. I think he probably worried that a low stock price would hurt employee morale and retention. So, I think it came from a “it can’t hurt, only help” place for Cook. And, by the way, I think Cook’s a great leader and any one who’s read my stuff for years knows I defended him when others – who really knew nothing – were calling for his head.

However, despite this all coming from a good place, I think Cook simply misjudged what drives Apple’s stock price. It’s the product cycle, period. So, this $100 billion has been wasted and I think it could have been better spent.

5. Apple shouldn’t be doing big acquisitions every year. But they should be thinking “what’s the NeXT acquisition we could do today which would propel our company into a totally new and exciting vector that makes sense?” I think Tesla is it for reasons I’ve argued before.

6. People talk about Apple’s patience, its focus, its culture as things that have led to its success. They worry that doing a big acquisition might hurt Apple’s specialness.

I think it’s obvious Apple has a dominant bias to build vs. buy. That’s fine, but I think those biases – which have made it a very special company – can also sow the seeds of future mistakes. The concern I have with Apple is that it is missing a big transformational acquisition – Tesla for example – because it defaults back to these biases (that’s too big, we don’t do that, a thousand no’s for every yes) and misses a huge opportunity.

7. Maybe Apple’s worried about falling into an anti-trust trap with the government like has happened to Microsoft and Google. Maybe that’s the real reason they’re avoiding big acquisitions today. That’s fair. But I can’t see how a Tesla acquisition would concern antitrust regulators.


http://www.forbes.com/sites/ericjackson/2014/11/27/apples-100-billion-waste-tim-cooks-single-biggest-mistake-as-ceo/2/

O θάνατος του Steve Jobs ήταν η ευκαιρία της Samsung για να επιτεθεί στο iPhone!




Κατά τη διάρκεια της δίκης μεταξύ Apple και Samsung που βρίσκεται αυτή τη στιγμή σε εξέλιξη στις ΗΠΑ στελέχη της κορεάτικης εταιρείας απεκάλυψαν ότι ο θάνατος του Steve Jobs στις 5 Οκτωβρίου του 2011 μία μέρα μετά την παρουσίαση του iPhone 4S ήταν μια «ευκαιρία» για να επιτεθούν στο iPhone.

«Δυστυχώς ο θάνατος του Steve Jobs έχει δημιουργήσει ένα τεράστιο κύμα κάλυψης στον Τύπο για την ανωτερότητα της Apple και του iPhone», ανέφερε ο τότε αντιπρόεδρος πωλήσεων της Samsung Telecommunications America, Michael Pennington. «Αυτή είναι η καλύτερη ευκαιρία για να επιτεθούμε στο iPhone».

Η επιχειρηματολογία της Samsung έχει να κάνει με την αντίληψη που έχει ένας καταναλωτής για ένα προϊόν που έχει δημιουργηθεί από έναν “καινοτόμο”, “τελειομανή”, “παθιασμένο”, “οραματιστή”, κτλπ. «Ποιος καταναλωτής δεν θα ένιωθε υπέροχα αγοράζοντας μια συσκευή που έχει δημιουργηθεί από έναν τέτοιο άνθρωπο», υπογράμμισε ο Pennington. «Ξέρω ότι αυτή είναι η καλύτερη ευκαιρία για να επιτεθούμε στο iPhone».

Υπάρχει ένα ενδιαφέρον στο ότι μέχρι εκείνο το σημείο η Samsung ήταν διστακτική στο να επιτεθεί απευθείας κατά της Apple και του iPhone γιατί η Apple ήταν πολύ σημαντικός και μεγάλος πελάτης. Μάλιστα, η Samsung ήθελε να αφήσει την Google να κάνει τη «βρόμικη» δουλειά.

Με την προτροπή του Pennington, ωστόσο, δόθηκε το πράσινο φως για διάφορες διαφημιστικές καμπάνιες που κορόιδευαν τόσο το iPhone όσο και τους ίδιους τους καταναλωτές που το επέλεγαν.

Μπορείτε να διαβάσετε όλα τα e-mails που δημοσιοποιήθηκαν στο πλαίσιο της δίκης εδώ.

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Microsoft, Past and Future.




In broad strokes, here is my view of Microsoft’s history.

In the beginning, Bill Gates stated the company’s goal: “A computer on every desk and in every home.” That was crazy. The PC revolution was well underway, but the grand total of PCs sold when Gates stated that mantra was, by today’s standards, effectively zero. PCs were for hobbyists. Everyone involved knew they were on to something, but Gates realized, at the outset, that they were on to something huge. The industry was measuring sales in the thousands, but Gates was already thinking about billions. Here’s Gates, in an interview from 2010:

Paul Allen and I had used that phrase even before we wrote the BASIC for Microsoft.We actually talked about it in an article in — I think 1977 was the first time it appears in print — where we say, “a computer on every desk and in every home…” and actually we said, “…running Microsoft software.” If we were just talking about the vision, we’d leave those last three words out. If we were talking an internal company discussion, we’d put those words in. It’s very hard to recall how crazy and wild that was, you know, “on every desk and in every home.” At the time, you have people who are very smart saying, “Why would somebody need a computer?” Even Ken Olsen, who had run this company Digital Equipment, who made the computer I grew up with, and that we admired both him and his company immensely, was saying that this seemed kind of a silly idea that people would want to have a computer.



He was right. And not only did the first part of the phrase come true, the last three words — “… running Microsoft software” — did too. From the mid-’90s and for the next decade, there was, effectively, a computer on every desk and in every home running Microsoft software. At least 95 percent of them were running the Windows operating system, and among the rest, most were Macs running Internet Explorer and probably Microsoft Office too.

Windows was almost everywhere, and Microsoft was everywhere.

Peak Microsoft was unfathomably pervasive. They won so thoroughly that Steve Jobs conceded that they’d won, telling Wired in February 1996:

The desktop computer industry is dead. Innovation has virtually ceased. Microsoft dominates with very little innovation. That’s over. Apple lost. The desktop market has entered the dark ages, and it’s going to be in the dark ages for the next 10 years, or certainly for the rest of this decade.”



Steve Fucking Jobs said that. He was exactly right. And who knows where we’d be today if Jobs and NeXT had not been reunified with Apple the next year.

“A computer on every desk and in every home” was incredible foresight for 1977. It carried Microsoft for 25 years of growth. But once that goal was achieved, I don’t think they knew where to go. They were like the dog that caught the car. They spent a lot of time and energy on TV. Not just with Xbox, which is alive and well today (albeit not a significant source of income), but with other ideas that did not pan out, like “media center PCs” and the joint ownership of “MSNBC”, which was originally imagined as a sort of cable news network, website, dessert topping, and floor wax rolled into one.

What they missed was the next step from every desk and home: a computer in every pocket. It’s worse than that, though. They saw it coming, and they tried. Pocket PC, Windows CE, Windows Mobile — swings and misses at the next big thing. They weren’t even close, and damningly, Steve Ballmer didn’t even seem to realize it. That’s what’s so damning about that video of him laughing at the original iPhone. Whenever I dredge up that video, a handful of defenders will write and tell me it’s unfair to mock him for his reaction, that he was actually right — that the original iPhone was too expensive. But what should have scared Microsoft wasn’t what the iPhone was in 2007, it was what the iPhone clearly was going to be in 2008, 2009, 2010. Prices come down, chips get faster. Software evolves. Apple had unveiled to the world a personal computer that fit in your pocket. That was amazing. That the original iPhone left much room for improvement is simply the way revolutionary products always get their start.

Microsoft’s institutional lack of taste had finally come to bite them in their ass. While Ballmer laughed at the iPhone and presumably walked around with a Windows Mobile piece of junk in his pocket, Larry Page and Sergei Brin carried iPhones. Google never laughed at the iPhone; it made money from it by providing web search and maps. Google quickly became, and remains to this day, a leading developer of iOS apps. And it was Google that was fast to follow the iPhone with Android, slurping up the commodity-market crumbs that Apple, focused as ever on the quality-minded high end of the market, eschewed. I don’t think it was ever within Microsoft’s DNA to produce the iPhone, but what Android became — the successful fast follower — could have been theirs if they’d recognized the opportunity faster. The Microsoft of 1984, a decade away from industry dominance, wrote software for the original Mac, and learned from it. When Bill Gates first saw a Mac, he didn’t laugh — he wanted to know how it worked, right down to specific details, like the smooth animation of its mouse cursor.

No company today has reach or influence anything like what Microsoft had during the golden era of the PC. Not Apple, not Google, and not Microsoft itself. I don’t think Ballmer ever came to grips with that. Ballmer’s view of the company solidified when it dominated the entire industry, and he never adjusted.

Hence Windows 8. One OS for all PCs, traditional and tablet alike, because that’s the only way for Windows to run almost all of them, and Windows running almost all PCs is the way things ought to be. Rather than accept a world where Windows persisted as merely one of several massively popular personal computing platforms, and focus on making Windows as it was better for people who want to use desktop and notebook PCs, Microsoft forged ahead with a design that displeased traditional PC users and did little to gain itself a foothold in the burgeoning tablet market. It was easy to see. Windows 8’s design wasn’t what was best for any particular device, but instead what seemed best for Ballmer’s “Windows everywhere” vision of the industry and Microsoft’s rightful place atop it.

Horace Dediu captures the change in the industry wrought by iOS and Android in this succinct (and, as usual, well-illustrated) piece from a few months ago, writing:

If we include all iOS and Android devices the “computing” market in Q3 2008 was 92 million units of which Windows was 90%, whereas in Q3 2013 it was 269 million units of which Windows was 32%.



That’s a startling change, and Ballmer never seemed to accept it. Windows 8 wasn’t designed to adjust to the new world; it was designed to turn back the clock to the old one.

I think it’s a very good sign that Satya Nadella comes from Microsoft’s server group. As my colleague Brent Simmons wrote today:

Creating services for iOS apps doesn’t sound at all like the Microsoft I used to know. Using Node.js and JavaScript doesn’t sound like that Microsoft. The old Microsoft would create services for their OSes only and you’d have to use Visual Studio.There’s still a lot of the old Microsoft there, the Windows, Office, Exchange, and Sharepoint (WOES) company. It’s most of the company by far, surely. (I just made up the acronym WOES. It fits.)But in the Azure group, at least, there’s recognition that Microsoft can’t survive on lock-in, that those days are in the past.Even if you don’t choose to use Microsoft’s cloud services, I hope you can agree on two things: that competition is good, and that Azure’s support-everything policy is the best direction for the future of the company.



In short, Nadella’s Server division is the one part of Microsoft that seems designed for, and part of, the post-iOS, post-Android state of the industry. A division pushing toward the future, not the past.

Successful companies tend to be true to themselves. The old Microsoft’s Windows and Office everywhere, on every device strategy was insanely ambitious, but also true to their culture. Apple has grown to eclipse Microsoft in financial size, but never set its sights on Microsoft-ian market share. Google is unfocused at the edges, but it’s never tried to act like any company other than Google. Google makes operating systems and office applications, but in a decidedly Google-y way. The last thing Microsoft should do is attempt to be like Apple or Google.

Cloud computing is one potential path forward. The cloud is nascent, like the PC industry of 1980. In 30 years we’ll look back at our networked infrastructure of today and laugh, wondering how we got a damn thing done. The world is in need of high-quality, reliable, developer-friendly, trustworthy, privacy-guarding cloud computing platforms. Apple and Google each have glaring (and glaringly different) holes among that list of adjectives.

Satya Nadella needs to find Microsoft’s new “a computer on every desk and in every home running Microsoft software”. Here’s my stab at it: Microsoft services, sending data to and from every networked device in the world. The next ubiquity isn’t running on every device, it’s talking to every device.


ΠΗΓΗ: http://daringfireball.net/2014/02/microsoft_past_and_future

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WikiLeaks releases 140.000 emails from Steve Jobs!




STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN — Enjoying the occasional Steve Jobs email that trickles onto the Internet? Prepare for the deluge.

Undaunted by their current travails, WikiLeaks has released 140,000 emails written by Apple’s enigmatic leader. While Scoopertino is only beginning to dig into this treasure trove, a richer picture of Steve Jobs is already beginning to emerge.

Overall, the emails reinforce the image of Steve as a man of few words. A cursory review of this massive email dump reveals that 88% of his messages contain three or fewer words, with 84% of those offering only one: “No.”

He did get a bit wordier in an exchange with North Korean bad boy Kim Jong Il. Kim, aching to get a pre-release iPod touch for his son back in August, wrote to Steve requesting “a favor from one dictator to another.” In this case, Steve doubled the syllable count with a quick “Hell no.”

Interestingly, Steve’s most verbose message seems to have been directed to his old partner, Steve Wozniak. With the Woz preparing for his third appearance on Dancing With The Stars, Steve sent an eight-word tome offering his own personal merengue tips: ”Stand proud. Hips loose. Mouthwash five minutes before.”

Most surprising, Steve’s emails show that he’s developed a “holy father/son” relationship with Pope Benedict XVI — a bond that formed when Steve sweet-talked the pontiff into appearing in the Pope Rock iPod commercial earlier this year. “Benny,” as Steve often addresses him, has been trying to get Apple to sponsor his next world tour. Steve emailed back that he’s happy to consider, “if you can just tone down the religion thing a little.”

Apple declined to make an official comment on this story, but leaves open the possibility that they will leak one later.

Στη δημοσιότητα οι φάκελοι του FBI για τον Στιβ Τζομπς!




Στη δημοσιότητα δόθηκαν οι φάκελοι του FBI για τον Στιβ Τζομπς. Οι φάκελοι περιγράφουν τον ιδρυτή της Apple ως έναν άνθρωπο που έχρηζε σεβασμού για την πρωτοπορία του, ωστόσο αμφισβητούν την ειλικρίνεια και την ηθική του.

Διαβάστε εδώ τα έγγραφα.

«Αρκετά άτομα αμφισβήτησαν την ειλικρίνεια του Στ.Τζομπς, λέγοντας ότι ο κ. Τζομπς θα διαστρεβλώσει την αλήθεια και θα αλλάξει την πραγματικότητα, προκειμένου να επιτύχει τους στόχους του» αναφέρει η περίληψη της έρευνας του FBI.

Πρώην συνεργάτης του Τζομπς, που κατηγορούσε τον ιδρυτή της Apple, επειδή δεν έλαβε μετοχές που πίστευε ότι άξιζε, χαρακτήρισε τον Τζομπς ως «ειλικρινή και άξιο εμπιστοσύνης. Ωστόσο, ο ηθικός χαρακτήρας του είναι αμφισβητούμενος».

Ορισμένοι από τους συνεντευξιαζόμενους δήλωσαν ότι ο Στ.Τζομπς ήταν δύσκολος συνεργάτης, κάτι που έχει ξαναειπωθεί και μάλιστα αναφέρεται και σε βιογραφία που κυκλοφόρησε πέρυσι. Ο Στιβ Τζομπς πέθανε τον Οκτώβριο του 2011, μετά από μακροχρόνια μάχη με τον καρκίνο.

Τα έγγραφα αποκαλύπτουν ότι ο Στιβ Τζομπς είχε πέσει θύμα μιας εκβιαστικής απειλής για βόμβα το 1985.

Αναφέρονται, επίσης, στην επιλογή του να στραφεί στον Βουδισμό και στην παραδοχή του για χρήση ναρκωτικών ουσιών.

Ο φάκελος συστάθηκε το 1991, όταν η τότε κυβέρνηση Μπους σκεφτόταν να του δώσει κυβερνητικό πόστο.

Παρά τα μη κολακευτικά σχόλια, ο ιδρυτής της Apple διορίστηκε αμισθί σε θέση συμβουλευτική του προέδρου για θέματα πολιτικής εξαγωγών.


Πηγή: http://news.in.gr/science-technology/article/?aid=1231149656

Τάδε έφη Steve Jobs!




"Μερικές φορές όταν πας να κάνεις μία καινοτομία, θα κάνεις λάθη. Είναι καλύτερο να τα αναγνωρίσεις και να τα παραδεχθείς γρήγορα, και να προχωρήσεις στην βελτίωση των άλλων καινοτομιών σου."

"Το να είσαι ο πλουσιότερος άνθρωπος στο νεκροταφείο δεν έχει σημασία για μένα... Το να πηγαίνεις για ύπνο το βράδυ λέγοντας ότι έχω κάνει κάτι υπέροχο... αυτό είναι που με νοιάζει."

“Να έχεις κριτήριο σου πάντα την ποιότητα. Μερικοί άνθρωποι δεν έχουν συνηθίσει να βρίσκονται σε ένα περιβάλλον όπου η τελειότητα είναι το αναμενόμενο."

"Άξιζα πάνω από 1.000.000 δολάρια, όταν ήμουν 23, και πάνω από 10.000.000 δολάρια, όταν ήμουν 24, και πάνω από 100.000.000 δολάρια, όταν ήμουν 25, και αυτό δεν ήταν κάτι το σημαντικό για μένα γιατί ποτέ δεν το έκανα για τα χρήματα."

"Δυστυχώς, οι άνθρωποι δεν επαναστατούν εναντίον της Microsoft. Δεν ξέρουν κάτι καλύτερο."

"Ο Bill Gates θα ήταν πιο ανοιχτόμυαλος αν είχε πάρει ουσίες ή είχε πάει πάει σε ένα άσραμ όταν ήταν νεότερος."

"Το μόνο πρόβλημα με τη Microsoft είναι ότι δεν έχουν καθόλου γούστο. Ούτε καν λίγο. Δεν σκέφτονται πρωτότυπες ιδέες, και δεν βάζουν κουλτούρα στα προϊόντα τους."

"Η δουλειά μου δεν είναι εύκολη για τους ανθρώπους. Η δουλειά μου είναι να τους κάνω καλύτερους."

"Κάναμε τα κουμπιά πάνω στην οθόνη φαίνονται τόσο ομορφα που θα θελήσετε να τα γλείψετε."

"Click. Boom. Amazing!"

"Δεν μπορείτε να ρωτήσετε τους πελάτες τι θέλουν και στη συνέχεια να το φτιάξετε και να τους το δώσετε. Από τη στιγμή που θα γίνει αυτό, αμέσως θα θελήσουν κάτι νέο."

"Το Design δεν είναι μόνο το πως δείχνει ένα προϊόν. To Design είναι το πώς λειτουργεί."

"Γιατί να πας στο ναυτικό αν μπορείς να γίνεις πειρατής;"

"Πολλές εταιρείες έχουν επιλέξει να συρρικνωθούν, και ίσως αυτό να ήταν το σωστό για αυτές. Εμείς επιλέξαμε ένα διαφορετικό μονοπάτι. Η πεποίθησή μας είναι ότι, αν συνεχίσουμε να κυκλοφορούμε καλά προϊόντα τότε οι πελάτες, θα συνεχίσουν να ανοίγουν τα πορτοφόλια τους."

"Η καινοτομία ξεχωρίζει τον ηγέτη από τον οπαδό."

"Μερικοί άνθρωποι λένε, “Ω, Θεέ μου, αν o Steve Jobs πεθάνει τότε σίγουρα η Apple θα έχει πρόβλημα." Νομίζω πως αυτό δεν θα ήταν πρόβλημα γιατί η Apple έχει πραγματικά ικανούς ανθρώπους."

"Η δουλειά μου είναι να κάνω την εκτελεστική ομάδα της εταιρίας αρκετά καλή για να πετύχουν και μόνοι τους."

"Όταν έχω μια καλή ιδέα, μέρος της δουλειάς μου είναι να δω τι σκέφτονται οι άλλοι, να κάνω τους ανθρώπους να μιλούν για αυτή, να διαφωνήσω με αυτούς γι 'αυτή, να πάρω γνώμες από ένα σύνολο διαφορετικών ανθρώπων για να δω και άλλες απόψεις και οπτικές γωνίες - καλό θα είναι να εξερευνούμε τα πράγματα."

"Οι άνθρωποι πιστεύουν οτι το να εστιάζεις σε κάτι σημαίνει να λες ναι σε αυτό που έχεις επικεντρωθεί. Αλλά στην πραγματικότητα είναι να λες όχι σε όλες τις άλλες καλές ιδέες που υπάρχουν. Πρέπει να επιλέγεις πάντα προσεκτικά."

"Δεν έχουμε την ευκαιρία να κάνουμε τόσα πολλά πράγματα, και κάθε ένα από αυτά θα πρέπει να είναι πραγματικά εξαιρετικό. Επειδή αυτή είναι η ζωή μας."

"Η ζωή είναι σύντομη, και μετά πεθαίνεις, το ξέρεις; Και όλοι έχουμε επιλέξει να το κάνουμε αυτό με τη ζωή μας. Γι' αυτό καλύτερα να είναι πάρα πολύ καλό και να το αξίζει."

"Σχεδόν τα πάντα - όλες οι προσδοκίες, η περηφάνια, ο φόβο της αμηχανίας ή η της αποτυχίας - αυτά τα πράγματα απλά εξαφανίζονται μπροστά στην ιδέα του θανάτου, αφήνοντας μόνο ό, τι είναι πραγματικά σημαντικό. Το να θυμάσαι ότι μία μέρα θα πεθάνεις είναι ο καλύτερος τρόπος που ξέρω για να αποφύγεις την παγίδα της σκέψης οτι έχεις κάτι να χάσεις. Είσαι ήδη γυμνός. Δεν υπάρχει κανένας λόγος να μην ακολουθείς την καρδιά σου."

"Στην υγειά των τρελών, των ανταρτών, των ταραξιών, και όλων αυτών που που βλέπουν τα πράγματα διαφορετικά και δεν συμπαθούν τους κανόνες... Μπορείτε να αναφέρετε τα λόγια τους, να διαφωνείτε μαζί τους, να τους δοξάζετε ή να τους δυσφημείτε, αλλά το μόνο πράγμα που δεν μπορείτε να κάνετε είναι να τους αγνοήσετε γιατί αλλάζουν τα πράγματα... Πηγαίνουν τους ανθρώπους μπροστά και ενώ κάποιοι μπορεί να τους βλέπουν ως τρελούς, εμείς βλέπουμε την ιδιοφυΐα τους, γιατί αυτοί που είναι αρκετά τρελοί για να πιστεύουν ότι μπορούν να αλλάξουν τον κόσμο, είναι αυτοί που τελικά το κάνουν."

"Είμαι ο μόνος που ξέρω ότι έχει χάσει 250.000.000 δολάρια μέσα σε ένα χρόνο.... Είναι κάτι που σου φτιάχνει χαρακτήρα."

"Είμαι τόσο περήφανος για ό,τι δεν κάνουμε όπως είμαι και για ό,τι κάνουμε."

"Πάντα ήθελα να έχω και να ελέγχω την κύρια τεχνολογία σε ό, τι κάνουμε."

"Πρέπει να πεις όχι σε 1.000 πράγματα και ιδέες για να βεβαιωθείς ότι δεν παίρνεις το λάθος δρόμο.”

"Είναι πραγματικά δύσκολο σχεδιάζεις προϊόντα ρωτώντας Focus Groups Πολλές φορές, οι άνθρωποι δεν ξέρουν τι θέλουν μέχρι να τους το δείξεις."

"Είμαι πεπεισμένος ότι αυτό που ξεχωρίζει τους επιτυχημένους επιχειρηματίες από τους αποτυχημένους είναι η επιμονή."

"Είναι σπάνιο να βλέπεις έναν καλλιτέχνη στα 30 του ή στα 40 του να είναι σε θέση να κάνει κάτι πραγματικά σημαντικό."

"Αισθάνομαι σαν κάποιος να με χτύπησε στο στομάχι. Είμαι μόλις 30 χρονών και θέλω να μπορέσω να συνεχίσω να δημιουργώ πράγματα. Ξέρω ότι έχω τουλάχιστον ένα ακόμη μεγάλο υπολογιστή στο μυαλό μου και η Apple δεν πρόκειται να μου δώσει την ευκαιρία να το κάνω πραγματικότητα."

"Δεν το βλέπω στην αρχή όμως αποδείχθηκε ότι η απόλυσή μου από την Apple ήταν το καλύτερο πράγμα που θα μπορούσε να μου έχει συμβεί ποτέ. Η βαρύτητα της επιτυχίας αντικαταστάθηκε από την ελαφρότητα του να είσαι και πάλι αρχάριος, λιγότερο σίγουρος για οτιδήποτε. Ήταν μια από τις πιο δημιουργικές περιόδους της ζωής μου."

"Θες να περάσεις το υπόλοιπο της ζωής σου πουλώντας ζαχαρόνερο ή θέλεις μια ευκαιρία για να αλλάξεις τον κόσμο;"

"Το φάρμακο για την Apple δεν είναι μείωση του κόστους. Το φάρμακο για την Apple είναι να βγει από τη δύσκολη θέση καινοτομώντας."

Η Apple έχει εκπληκτικές δυνατότητες αλλά πιστεύω οτι, αν δεν προσέξουμε, η εταιρία μπορεί και να... να... - ψάχνω την λέξη -, να πεθάνει...!”

No, Apple Won’t Be the Same Without Steve Jobs.




The “CEO of the Decade” is no longer CEO.

After the initial shock, a general impulse seems to have seized commenters, which is to reassure everyone that everything will be OK.

“Apple will do amazingly well without Steve Jobs,” says Slate’s Farhad Manjoo.

PC World‘s Tony Bradley says we shouldn’t panic, because “Apple Is Still Apple.”

“Apple will continue to shine without Jobs at the helm,” says Seeking Alpha‘s Carl Howe.

Why? Because Apple “is more than Steve Jobs,” according to Christina Rexrode of the Associated Press.

All these headlines are technically true, but add up to wishful thinking that masks the larger truth. Yes, Apple is more than Steve Jobs.” But Apple without Steve Jobs is less than Apple with him. A lot less.


Why Steve Jobs was the Greatest CEO Ever

Some CEOs are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them.

In Jobs’ case, all three are true.

Jobs’ entire life was a “perfect storm” of elements for the man to lead Apple and make it the company it has become. Jobs was born at exactly the right time in exactly the right place with exactly the right personality to become the ultimate consumer electronics visionary.

Jobs was born with a personality containing equal parts perfectionism, narcissism, impatience and a quality you might call extremism.

Above all, Jobs was born with the DNA of a writer. (It’s not a coincidence that both his biological sister and daughter are successful writers.)

Writer DNA predisposes the victim to gravitate to the larger issue, whenever confronting particulars, to larger truths when confronting facts. For example, Jobs never viewed Apple as a company that makes computers and consumer electronics gadgets. To him, Apple makes culture accelerators. It manufactures human experience. Apple doesn’t “succeed in the marketplace.” It “changes the world.”

Critics always slam Jobs as “merely a salesman.” But that’s wrong. Jobs thinks like a writer, understanding and obsessing over larger truths and aspirations, and conveying them with piercing, emotive and unforgettable language. This is what great novelists do.

Jobs was born with qualities that made him the greatest CEO ever, but he also acquired greatness as a CEO. The hard way.

Throughout all his personal transitions, from wandering hippy to enfant terrible to pop-collar douchebag to hard-nosed businessman to the impossible-to-stereotype person that he is today, Jobs has been constantly confronted by challenge after challenge. And each one of them has made Jobs grow as a leader.

The kid who couldn’t be trusted by investors to lead the company as CEO in the 1970s had no idea what he was doing. The man who strode back into Apple in the 1990s as part of the NeXT acquisition was an unprecedented master of the art of running a technology company. During those two decades, Jobs experienced an education like no other. NeXT enabled him to take all he had learned at Apple, and apply it to a startup. Then he took all he had learned at the startup and applied it to Apple.

This perfect storm of DNA, experience and circumstance transformed Jobs into the CEO of the Decade. But what is it about Jobs as CEO that brought Apple from the brink of failure to the most valuable technology company in history?


How Jobs Ruled Apple

The trouble with dictatorship or absolute monarchy is that success or failure depend entirely upon the quality of the despot. That’s why they fail. And that’s why a democracy that limits the power of leaders is best — it still works, more or less, even when incompetent morons are in power.

But what about when the dictator is literally the single best person to lead? In those almost non-existently rare instances, despotism is by far the best form of government. Heaven, for example, is not a democracy.

In the case of Apple, it’s not just that Steve Jobs had become an amazing CEO, but that within Apple, he ruled unchallenged. Sure, he had a razor sharp vision for how things should be. But equally important: Nobody could over-rule Jobs. Not the owners of the company (the shareholders), not the board, not the desires of the users — literally nobody.

People outside the industry often fail to appreciate how powerful this is.

You will note, by the way, that all the most successful companies in technology are run by their visionary founders (Apple, Google, Oracle), and lose focus after those founders depart (Microsoft, HP).

The reason is that without the visionary despot, “groupthink” takes over. Everyone’s got their own agenda, and all these disparate visions tend to cancel each other out. Ultimately, the only criteria for deciding anything is either what’s best for shareholders (short-term thinking) or what users want (obsolete thinking).

At Apple, Jobs’ rule was so absolute that if Jobs wanted decision A, and most of the board, most of the executives, most of the user surveys and most of the shareholders wanted decision B, there was no question: We go with A.

I once heard an eye-opening talk by Palm Pilot creator Jeff Hawkins, who said that in bringing the Palm Pilot to market, he spent much of his time overcoming groupthink. The engineers made compelling arguments for why more buttons would be better, a faster processor would be better, more applications would be better. Ultimately, the original Pilot succeeded only because Hawkins was able to bat down all these disparate visions, which were all based on false assumptions like “more is better,” “more powerful is better,” and realize his own vision “simplicity is better.”

It didn’t take long after the Pilot’s initial success for Hawkins to lose control. The result was a company dominated by multiple agendas and classic groupthink ending ultimately with the announcement last week that the Palm line would be terminated.

Jobs’ power and influence within Apple did not come from his title. His vote was the only one that counted not because his business card said CEO, but because he’s fricken Steve Jobs, and this is fricken Apple. Who is going to over-rule him?

Apple isn’t just getting a new ruler. It’s getting a new form of government. Yesterday, Apple was a totalitarian dictatorship. Today, it’s a democratic oligarchy.

Unlike Jobs, Cook will have to balance the competing interests of various VPs and board members, taking into account the interests of shareholders and users on every decision.

Yes, Jobs is still Chairman, still Cook’s boss. But it was Jobs’ involvement in every little detail that made Apple what it is today. Google’s Vic Gundotra told the story yesterday of getting a call on Sunday from Steve Jobs over a color on an icon. It wasn’t the absolutely perfect shade of yellow, and therefore it was an urgent crisis that had to be resolved immediately. Every. Little. Detail.

Those days are gone.

Apple will continue to be a successful company. This is in part because Jobs has put such a great team in place. The governing criteria for all decisions for the time being will be: What would Steve do?

Over time, however, Apple will and must gravitate toward normalcy, toward average, toward mediocrity. In fact, the success of Apple as a company has always perfectly correlated to the degree of Jobs’ control.

Nobody wants to hear this. I don’t want to say it. But the truth is that Steve Jobs is perfectly irreplaceable. And it was his unprecedented, unrepeatable leadership that made Apple what it is today.

Tomorrow, it will become a different Apple, a lesser Apple.

Companies are only as great as the people who lead them. And today we’re forced to admit that it was, all along, Steve Jobs who made Apple think different.

Apple will continue to be a great company. But it was Steve Jobs who was insanely great.


Πηγή: http://www.cultofmac.com/110518/no-apple-wont-be-the-same-without-steve-jobs/

A celebration of Steve's life.



http://events.apple.com.edgesuite.net/10oiuhfvojb23/event/index.html

Steve Jobs' virtual DNA to be fostered in Apple University



To survive its late founder, Apple and Steve Jobs planned a training program in which company executives will be taught to think like him, in 'a forum to impart that DNA to future generations.' Key to this effort is Joel Podolny, former Yale Business School dean.

Reporting from San Francisco— Apple Inc. now has to get down to the business of surviving its founder.

It's something that Apple — and Steve Jobs himself — had been painstakingly planning for years.

Deep inside its sprawling Cupertino, Calif., campus, one of the world's most successful and secretive companies has had a team of experts hard at work on a closely guarded project.

But it isn't a cool new gadget. It's an executive training program called Apple University that Jobs considered vital to the company's future: Teaching Apple executives to think like him.

"Steve was looking to his legacy. The idea was to take what is unique about Apple and create a forum that can impart that DNA to future generations of Apple employees," said a former Apple executive who spoke on the condition of anonymity to preserve his relationship with the company. "No other company has a university charged with probing so deeply into the roots of what makes the company so successful."

Jobs oversaw the most remarkable corporate turnaround in Silicon Valley history after returning to Apple in 1997. For more than a decade, he was behind every crucial decision as Apple rolled out blockbuster hits from the iPod to the iPad, changing how people listen to music and watch entertainment, reshaping entire industries and making Apple the world's most valuable tech company.

The challenge of maintaining that momentum came into sharp focus Tuesday when Apple's newly minted chief executive Tim Cook took Jobs' place on stage to show off an updated version of the world's best-selling smart phone. Without its master pitchman, Apple didn't get the kind of adulation for the iPhone's new features to which it's accustomed.

Apple would not comment on Apple University. But people familiar with the project say Jobs personally recruited the dean of Yale's Business School in 2008 to run it. Joel Podolny's assignment: Help Apple internalize the thoughts of its visionary founder to prepare for the day when he's not around anymore.

"One of the things that Steve Jobs understood very well is that Apple is like no other company on the planet," said longtime Apple analyst Tim Bajarin. "It became pretty clear that Apple needed a set of educational materials so that Apple employees could learn to think and make decisions as if they were Steve Jobs."

Podolny tasked leading business professors including Harvard University's Richard Tedlow, who wrote a biography of former Intel chief Andy Grove with researching the company's major decisions and the top executives who make them. Those executives — including Cook — have used those case studies to teach courses that groom the company's next generation of leaders.

Analysts say Jobs drew inspiration for the university from Bill Hewlett and David Packard, whose greatest creation was not the pocket calculator or the minicomputer, but Hewlett-Packard itself. Hewlett and Packard famously set out their company's core values in "The HP Way."

With Apple University, Jobs was trying to achieve something similar, people familiar with the project say. He identified tenets that he believes unleash innovation and sustain success at Apple — accountability, attention to detail, perfectionism, simplicity, secrecy. And he oversaw the creation of university-caliber courses that demonstrate how those principles translate into business strategies and operating practices.

The idea of building an ivory tower on a corporate campus goes back decades with the best-known — and oldest — run by General Electric. Corporate universities fell out of favor in the 1990s, considered too expensive, bureaucratic and out of touch with the companies they were supposed to serve. Even Apple shut down its corporate university.

But Jobs' interest in a corporate university never wavered, former employees say. For years he pressed for a way to study the success of Apple's executive team as well as Apple's culture and history. His model was Pixar. The animation studio that Jobs sold to Disney for $7.5 billion in 2006 runs Pixar University, a professional development program that offers courses in fine arts and filmmaking as well as leadership and management to steep employees in the company's culture, history and values as well as its craft.

"He had the university concept at Pixar, and he believed in it," said a former Apple executive who also spoke on the condition of anonymity to preserve his relationship with the company.

What Jobs needed was someone to carry out his vision.

Apple began approaching Podolny and other academics about five years ago, according to people who were contacted. The project took on greater urgency in 2008 shortly before Jobs took his second medical leave from Apple.

Podolny, an accomplished scholar and administrator whose resume includes teaching at two of the nation's top business schools, Stanford and Harvard, is an economic sociologist who focuses on leadership and organizational behavior.

Podolny didn't just study leaders; he became one. In 2005, at the age of 39, he left Harvard for the Yale School of Management where he rethought how the faculty taught future MBAs to better prepare them for the business world. Yale scrapped its staid single-subject courses in marketing and accounting for more holistic, multidisciplinary programs that focused on "the employee," "the innovator" and "the state and society."

By all accounts, Podolny lifted the fortunes of the young business school. He was credited with helping applications rise 50% during his 3½-year tenure. He recruited top scholars, increasing the size of the faculty by 20%. And his prodigious efforts on the stump helped the school raise more than $170 million. He was also in the classroom more often than most deans and responded to every email, frequently by 4:30 a.m.

"I remember scratching my head and thinking, 'This guy is not going to last at this rate.' Sure enough, he left sooner than we had hoped," Yale business professor Doug Rae said.

In October 2008, Podolny was at the top of his academic game with many expecting he would go on to become a university president. He stunned colleagues by abruptly stepping down as dean in the middle of the term and officially joining Apple in early 2009.

"The timing surprised everyone. Deans are typically in these positions for significantly longer; a decade would not be an unusual term. He had gone to really put the Yale School of Management on a different trajectory and that takes time," said Garth Saloner, dean of Stanford's Business School.

But Podolny was someone who had flouted convention to work on the cutting edge of academia. "Joel is an innovator and very creative and he's always looking for new areas to apply that talent," Saloner said.

Like others Jobs has recruited over the years, observers say Podolny fell under Jobs' spell. Podolny said he decided to leave Yale for the chance to work with a modern-day Thomas Edison.

Podolny recalled writing his first computer program on an Apple II and pulling an all-nighter to watch his Laserwriter print his undergraduate thesis at the rate of seven minutes a page.

"While there are many great companies, I cannot think of one that has had as tremendous personal meaning for me as Apple," he wrote in a farewell note to Yale students.

The importance of his new position at Apple was apparent from the first day. Podolny moved into an office in between Jobs and Cook, he confided in former colleagues. And, in a testament to Jobs' faith in Podolny, he was later named vice president of human resources.

Columbia University social scientist Peter Bearman, who was Podolny's advisor for his thesis on the role of Juan Carlos I in helping Spain establish a parliamentary democracy, said Podolny pursued his career-long interest in leadership at Apple.

"The idea that he was helping to build a structure for Apple into the future probably appealed to him," Bearman said.

jessica.guynn@latimes.com

Πηγή: LA Times

Αντίο. Καλό ταξίδι. Θα ξανασυναντηθούμε...

Τι μέλλει γενέσθαι για την Apple μετά τον Steve Jobs;



Η Apple είναι βέβαια απρόθυμη να το συζητήσει δημόσια, σίγουρα όμως έχει έτοιμο ένα «σχέδιο διαδοχής» για τη μετά Στηβ Τζομπς εποχή. Όλοι όμως αναρωτιούνται αν αυτή η εποχή θα είναι ανθόσπαρτη όπως το πρόσφατο παρελθόν της εταιρείας.

Ο Τζομπς, εξάλλου, ήταν ο άνθρωπος που έσωσε μια σχεδόν χρεοκοπημένη Apple με την επιστροφή του στα ηνία της εταιρείας το 1996 (απουσίαζε για σχεδόν μια δεκαετία μετά την εκδίωξή του το 1985) και σε 15 χρόνια την κατέστησε τη μεγαλύτερη εταιρεία παγκοσμίως σε χρηματιστηριακή αξία.

Το σημαντικότερο όμως είναι ότι ο Τζομπς είχε την πρώτη και την τελευταία λέξη όσον αφορά το σχεδιασμό των συσκευών και την αίσθηση που δίνουν, πιστεύοντας ότι «η τεχνολογία από μόνη της δεν αρκεί».

«Είναι η τεχνολογία παντρεμένη με τις τέχνες και τις ανθρωπιστικές επιστήμες αυτό που δίνει αποτελέσματα που κάνουν την καρδιά μας να ξυπνά» είχε δηλώσει πρόσφατα.

Μένει να επιβεβαιωθεί αν οι άνθρωποι που αφήνει πίσω του έχουν εμπεδώσει αυτή τη νοοτροπία.


Mετά τον Στηβ Τζομπς, o Στηβ Τζομπς

Σε πρώτη φάση, ο Τζομπς θα παραμείνει κεντρικό πρόσωπο στην εταιρεία του: Παραιτήθηκε μεν από τη θέση του διευθύνοντος συμβούλου, ανέλαβε όμως τη θέση του προέδρου του ΔΣ, οπότε θα συνεχίσει να έχει λόγο στην κατεύθυνση που θα ακολουθήσει η Apple.

Σύμφωνα εξάλλου με το Bloomberg, ο Τζομπς εργαζόταν όλη μέρα στην Apple την Τετάρτη, παρόλο που τις προηγούμενες εβδομάδες παρέμενε κλεισμένος στο σπίτι. Και όπως αναφέρει η ίδια ανώνυμη πηγή, δεν υπάρχουν ενδείξεις ότι η κατάσταση της υγείας του έχει επιδεινωθεί το τελευταίο διάστημα.

Εντούτοις, η βρετανική Daily Mail δημοσιεύει μια φωτογραφία όπου ο Τζομπς εμφανίζεται εξαιρετικά αδυνατισμένος, περισσότερο από ποτέ, να προσπαθεί να σταθεί με βοήθεια.

To Bloomberg γράφει επίσης ότι ο Τζομπς θα παραμείνει στο ΔΣ της Disney, στην οποία είχε πουλήσει το επιτυχημένο κινηματογραφικό του στούντιο, την Pixar.


Τιμ Κουκ: νέος πρωταγωνιστής

Κάποια στιγμή, όμως, το εμβληματικό αφεντικό της Apple θα αποσυρθεί εντελώς από την αυτοκρατορία του. Η αγορά, όμως, έχει τα καλύτερα λόγια να πει για τον διάδοχό του, τον Τιμ Κουκ, που ήταν μέχρι σήμερα εκτελεστικός διευθυντής της Apple.

Ο Κουκ, σήμερα 50 ετών, είχε αντικαταστήσει προσωρινά τον Τζομπς όταν το μεγάλο αφεντικό έλειπε σε αναρρωτική άδεια ανά διαστήματα από το 2004 έως το 2011.

Και τα πήγε μια χαρά σε αυτό το διάστημα: ολοκλήρωσε την ανάπτυξη του iPad και έφερε εξαιρετικά οικονομικά αποτελέσματα, με τη μετοχή της εταιρείας να έχει ανέβει από τα 300 δολάρια στις αρχές του έτους στα 400 περίπου δολάρια σήμερα.

Ο Κουκ έχει εξάλλου στο πλευρό του μια ομάδα οκτώ αντιπροέδρων, ανάμεσά τους κορυφαία ονόματα στη βιομηχανία πληροφορικής, όπως ο Σκοτ Φόρστολ.

Με το iPhone 5 να ετοιμάζεται για λανσάρισμα το φθινόπωρο, και με ένα ακόμα iPad στα σκαριά για του χρόνου, κανένα απρόοπτο δεν προβλέπεται για το προσεχές διάστημα.

Όπως σχολιάζει το BBC, ο Κουκ είναι άριστος γνώστης της αλυσίδας προμηθευτών και της διαδικασίας παραγωγής, καθήκοντα που ακούγονται ανιαρά αλλά παίζουν σημαντικό ρόλό. Ο Κουκ φέρεται να είναι επίσης ο άνθρωπος που αύξησε τα περιθώρια κέρδους για το iPad και τo iPhone.

Σε email που απέστειλε στους εργαζόμενους, o ίδιος διαβεβαιώνει ότι «η Apple δεν πρόκειται να αλλάξει» και πως «τα καλύτερα χρόνια βρίσκονται μπροστά μας».

Σημαντικό ρόλο στην Apple παίζει ακόμα ο Βρετανός σχεδιαστής Τζόναθαν Άιβι, υπεύθυνος για το σχεδιασμό του iMac, του iPhone και του iPad, μεταξύ άλλων.

Σύμφωνα όμως με πρόσφατες φήμες, ο Άιβι εξετάζει το ενδεχόμενο να αποχωρήσει από την Apple για να επιστρέψει στην πατρίδα του. Σύμφωνα με τον Guardian, αυτό θα ήταν «ο χειρότερος εφιάλτης για την Apple».


Και κάτι ακόμα

Ένα από τα ερωτήματα που παραμένουν αναπάντητα είναι το ποιος θα αντικαταστήσει τον Στηβ Τζομπς στη σκηνή κατά τις παρουσιάσεις νέων προϊόντων.

Έχοντας ένα ιδιαίτερο επικοινωνιακό ταλέντο, και επιμένοντας να φορά μπλου τζιν και ένα μαύρο ζιβάγκο, ο Τζομπς είχε το ταλέντο να σαγηνεύει τα πλήθη με τη χαρακτηριστική ατάκα «Και κάτι ακόμα», λίγο πριν παρουσιάσει κάθε νέο, καινοτόμο προϊόν.

Δεν είναι καθόλου σίγουρο ότι ο Τιμ Κουκ, εξαιρετικά ήπιων τόνων, θα μπορεί να κρατά κι αυτός το κοινό με κομμένη την ανάσα.

Ακόμα κι αν πρόκειται μόνο για τη σκηνική παρουσία, σίγουρα κάτι θα λείπει πλέον από την Apple... ή μήπως όχι;


Τελικά, ποιος πουλάει, το προϊόν ή ο Τζομπς;

Κάποιοι υποστηρίζουν ότι η ανοδική πορεία της Apple οφείλεται στην ανωτερότητα των προϊόντων που επινοεί, σχεδιάζει, κατασκευάζει και προωθεί η εταιρεία παρά στο γεγονός ότι τα παρουσίαζε ο αδιαμφισβήτητα χαρισματικός Τζομπς. Αλλοι πάλι ότι, ο Τζομπς ως CEO είχε ένα χάρισμα: να πουλάει προϊόντα που όλοι ήθελαν αν και δεν τα χρειάζονταν.

Οι προκλήσεις που έχει να αντιμετωπίσει ο Τιμ Κουκ είναι πολλές, καθώς οι συγκρίσεις είναι αναπόφευκτες. Πάντως, τουλάχιστον η Apple θέλει να πιστεύουμε την άποψη που λέει ότι οι ηγέτες φροντίζουν πάντα να περιτριγυρίζονται από ομάδες ισχυρών ταλαντούχων ανθρώπων, που μπορούν να κάνουν τη δουλειά ακόμα και εν απουσία τους.

Από την άλλη, αυτό δεν σημαίνει ότι  αποχώρηση ενός ανθρώπου στον οποίο έχουν προσαφθεί τόσοι χαρακτηρισμοί -έως και για εκκλησία του Τζομπς έχει γίνει λόγος- είναι πάντοτε ομαλή. Για παράδειγμα, η αποχώρηση του Μπιλ Γκέιτς από τη Microsoft, αν και σχεδιάστηκε προσεκτικά και υλοποιήθηκε σταδιακά εντός δύο ολόκληρων χρόνων, τελικά δεν φαίνεται να άφησε πίσω της κάποια ομάδα που διατήρησε την αίγλη της εταιρείας στα επίπεδα που την άφησε ο ηγέτης της, αναγνωρίζοντας βέβαια ότι οι εποχές και οι προκλήσεις στην αγορά πληροφορικής αλλάζουν, αλλά αυτό συνέβαινε και επί Γκέιτς.


Πηγή: http://tech.in.gr/analysis/article/?aid=1231125636

Do not forget Steve Jobs's legacy. Think Different. Be Different.



"Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs and the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They are not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. But the only thing you can't do, is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do."

With Steve's letter of resignation hitting the internet today, we thought it would be nice to listen to Steve talk to graduates at Stanford. This is a great speech from 2005 that, to us, really gets to the heart of Steve Jobs.

Υποτροπίασε η κατάσταση της υγείας του Steve Jobs. Ευχόμεθα ότι καλύτερο γιά τον μεγάλο τεχνολογικό οραματιστή του 20ου αιώνος.



Apple CEO Steve Jobs today sent the following email to all Apple employees:


Team,

At my request, the board of directors has granted me a medical leave of absence so I can focus on my health. I will continue as CEO and be involved in major strategic decisions for the company.

I have asked Tim Cook to be responsible for all of Apple’s day to day operations. I have great confidence that Tim and the rest of the executive management team will do a terrific job executing the exciting plans we have in place for 2011.

I love Apple so much and hope to be back as soon as I can. In the meantime, my family and I would deeply appreciate respect for our privacy.

Steve


Πηγή: http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2011/01/17advisory.html

The life of Steve Jobs



http://joaocoliveira.com/the-life-of-steve-jobs-by-gizmodo?c=1