Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle, and former friend of Steve Jobs spoke with Charlie Rose for CBS This Morning. Although the program is set to air on Tuesday, parts of the interview have been made available. Within it, Ellison hinted that he believes Apple is on the way out without its former leader, Steve Jobs.
As noted by AllThingsD, when asked about Apple without Jobs:
“Well, we already know,” Ellison told Rose. “We saw — we conducted the experiment. I mean, it’s been done. We saw Apple with Steve Jobs. We saw Apple without Steve Jobs. We saw Apple with Steve Jobs. Now, we’re gonna see Apple without Steve Jobs.”
It’s not the first time we’ve heard complaints about Apple’s seemingly dark future without the late, great co-founder. But I still maintain: That point of view is completely off-course.
Firstly, when Apple’s board booted Jobs out of his own company in the mid 80s, the guy left in charge was the former CEO of a soft-drink company. John Scully was your typical CEO with the dog-eat-dog mentality.
He wasn’t concerned with a product’s beauty, perfecting or honing anything. He wanted to create a business that did well on the stock market and pleased share holders more than customers.
So, they lost focus, and tried digging themselves out of a deep hole by filling it with everything they could. They failed and turned to Steve Jobs to save them before the turn of the new millennium.
In the time since he came back, Jobs sought to bring in and develop leaders within Apple who took on the Apple value system. Tim Cook was the COO and had a knack for getting logistics, and the supply chain running in the most efficient way possible.
Designer, Sir Jony Ive became untouchable, and no-one has more power than him. He was and still is the key to Apple’s success. His designs, his perfectionism and simplistic approach to industrial design are what have made Apple the company it is today. Sure, he had Jobs ‘focussing’ him, but Steve trusted him.
Late last year, Cupertino’s board decided to get rid of Scott Forstall. The only thorn in Apple’s side, who was abrasive, constantly caused friction with other executives, and was too in love with iOS’ skeuomorphic designs. If anything was going to “doom” Apple, it would have been his stubborn nature, and is effect on other senior vice presidents.
Ellison noted in an interview at D10 that Steve Jobs was obsessed with “building something beautiful”. That value, and that drive is still what’s keeping Apple moving today.
Just look at the latest iMac, iPhone 5, Mac Pro and Mac mini. Even something as simple as the remote control that comes with an Apple TV. Jobs’ passion was embedded in to the current executive team’s DNA, and remains Apple DNA.
For that reason alone, I cannot at all see how Apple now (without Steve) is anything like the shambles it was in the 1980s/90s.
Then there’s the evidence that everyone loves Apple products. 20-30 years ago, not many people were buying Macintosh computers. Windows-powered IBM desktops were the hype.
This time around, the two biggest successes of the last 10 years: iPad and iPhone are the most popular devices in their respective markets. In the 90s, Apple was almost bankrupt. Last month, Apple become the most valuable publicly traded company in the world.
Thankfully for us, when Steve Jobs was here, he didn’t just focus on the products. He used his influence to create a successful company that kept his values and held to the drives that made it as great a company as it is today.
He may not be here in person, but his influence remains. Adding that to Apple’s financial position and popularity is a recipe for long-term success.