1 post • joined 9 Nov 2009
He's not the messiah
Let's fix a few misconceptions up-
At the time of the Microsoft agreement there were 9 lawsuits underway between Apple and M$. Apple found some evidence that would have sunk at least one case and cost M$ shedloads. So instead of settling out of court in the normal way, Steve did something very smart- he got Microsoft to invest $150m (non voting shares), and commit to another 5 years of Office for Mac development. I could complain that he didn't get Bill to come on stage and kiss his ring, but Bill appeared by video, and that was good enough. Look at what Microsoft got- this settled ALL of the outstanding lawsuits, they didn't lose and get pilloried for stealing (which they allegedly did). They also bought some shares that went up- waaaaay up.
What did Apple get? Bill committing to Office Mac, some cash, but most of all- the impression held by most of the world that Microsoft thought that Apple were a good bet, an absolutely incalculable benefit.
Never forget that even in the worst of times, Apple never had less than about $900m in cash and short term bonds. They never came close to running out of cash, this is a common misconception.
One of the other things people forget is that Gil Amelio is a very smart guy. Steve is credited with tidying up the product line, cutting the confusing Performa bundles etc, but not many remember that it was Gil Amelio who said (paraphrasing)
'we have way too many product lines. We now have 19 different motherboard designs and xx different skus. This is going to change. In months, we will have 5 different motherboard designs' Cue sharp intake of breath.... in a few months he was gone, and Steve got the credit. Granted he went much further, and with hindsight it was necessary.
<here comes the rant> You know, I made a lot of money out of Apple, and they made shedloads from me. But one thing that strikes me right now is that rather than find a way to help resellers (buy them out?) or have them go quietly into the night, he intends to simply send them broke. I was one of those who stayed with Apple during the bad times, and rather than help my business, they appointed 5 other stores in my area, and 9 for ipods. That sent us broke, then they chased me into bankruptcy even when they knew there was no more money to be had. Now there are no resellers in my area, all the others went titsup or moved. </rant>
Steve deserves CEO of the decade. But we sell things to each other ultimately so we can get more complex things, work at our specialisation and have a better life. Thus (in my mind) there is a social responsibility component to business. Steve (and thus the rest of Apple) fail miserably at that.