While Apple is enjoying their greatest period of success ever, Electronics Arts founder Trip Hawkins “brilliantly” claims that Apple is quickly heading towards a decline.
While it’s obvious that no company, not even Apple, can maintain such a strong and dominant position forever, Hawkins’ claim about Apple’s impending downfall just seems terribly misguided to me.
In essence, Hawkins is arguing that Steve Jobs is such a visionary leader that, without him at the helm, Apple will be facing the beginning of the end. Hawkins sees this happening rather soon, saying “The thing is, it may take another year or two before it starts to decline, but it has to – everything does.” Hawkins also notable uttered:
“Everything revolves so much around Steve, and no matter how good his lieutenants are, they’re not Steve. None of us is going to live forever, though I hope he lives for a really long time.”
Hawkins goes on to express his wishes for Apple to become more open, and embrace every open standard that ever comes along. He then proceeds to complain about Apple’s lack of support for Adobe Flash, and the closed system under which the company operates, right before making an absurd analogy about how Apple is like the Roman Empire. Right…
Hawkins’ must not have been paying attention for the past 6 months, when, despite the ever-lessening role that Steve Jobs is playing at Apple, the company is nevertheless experiencing record gains and growth.
Apple will be just fine without Steve Jobs. Sure, Steve was a visionary, and an incredible leader, but he’s also picked an amazing team of successors to run Apple in his absence, and has trained them to be able to successfully drive Apple in his place.
Further, despite Hawkins’ claims, Apple is far from reaching their peak – their iPhone, iPad, and Mac numbers continue to grow at record rates, OS X Lion may have been the most successful software launch in history, and Apple is just now possibly beginning to investigate new industries, such as television and digital media streaming.