Apple is known as a company that makes great products, but there is more to a company than great products and having a vast amount of money in the bank. We hear stories of employee issues and top developers leaving the company, while software releases are often buggy and not thoroughly tested. What’s going on?
According to an article on FT.com, “more than a dozen employees past and present say Apple’s HR team puts the company’s reputation ahead of worker welfare. Welcome to corporate America, where the corporation’s health is always first.
I have to admit I am an Apple person. I have an iMac, iPad, iPhone, and Apple laptop, but over the years, I’ve started having more problems with the software. Often they are little problems, but they are the type of problems you don’t expect from Apple. In the meantime, Apple remains the world’s most valuable brand, making tons of money with every new product release. But is that what Apple is really about?
In reading books about Steve Jobs, you get the feeling that he could care less about “apple the corporation,” and he was more interested in Apple products and their affect on all of us. When iCloud first launched with all the bugs, he called the iCloud team into a meeting and let them have it with both barrels. I feel he would not have stood for some of the latest software screwups.
In 2011, Apple lost more than Steve Jobs. They lost their unique, rebellious nature. With Steve in charge, they had a win-at-all-costs attitude, that went against business norms and the expectations of their investors and board. Similar to the Detroit Pistons Bad Boys in the late 80s, who were notorious for getting in fights during games but winning championships, Steve was set on changing the world and he didn’t care how it would get done. With Tim Cook at the helm, we’ve seen Apple transform into a luxurious IoT jewelry store, essentially offering the world nice jewelry that connects to the internet. Tim is an operations and execution type guy. Obviously, he isn’t running Apple into the ground any time soon, being that they are the most profitable company in the US, but he doesn’t have the same rebellious attitude as Steve.
Now Apple’s employees are revolting against an atmosphere of secrecy and putting Apple first above all else. It’s gotten so bad that some of Apple’s top developers are leaving the company. At best, software updates for OS X have been evolutionary, not revolutionary. In the meantime, Microsoft’s Windows has made giant leaps and bounds.
Tim Cook’s compensation is obscene. Cook received nearly $100 million in 2021 based on sales in relation to the company’s stock. Every year a new iPhone with minor improvements is introduced, but the latest indications are that people are not willing to pay $700 plus for a new iPhone with only minor updates.
Corporations are designed to make money to reward shareholders but what happens when making money means leaving your audience disappointed? One could argue that since Mr. Jobs’s passing, Apple has not been an innovative company. The M1 and M2 chips are not innovative but cut Apple’s reliance on outside vendors. Now Apple is transitioning from a hardware/software company to a “services” company.
There are rumors that Apple is going to bid on Direct TVs Sunday Ticket to enhance the viability of Apple TV. Apple is investing in Mr. Spielberg and Hank’s new series on World War II called the “Mighty Eighth,” and Apple continues to pour money into Apple Music. This may be a logical transformation, but will it continue to deprive innovation?
It’s hard to manage growth with company philosophy. I’m not sure Steve would have allocated so many resources to services or let some top developers go, but then I remember waiting till midnight to download new software updates or the feeling I had when I first downloaded OS X Tiger with a new interface.
I guess in the end, making money trumps innovation.