Print 14 comment(s) - last by coondini.. on Mar 27 at 3:06 PM

Clearly he doesn't think Tim Cook is that person

Microsoft's former chief operating officer believes that Apple may be losing its way because it no longer has the visionary leadership it once possessed with former CEO Steve Jobs

Ex-Microsoft COO Bob Herbold contributed an article to Forbes on how Apple's stock is a clear sign that the company lacks a few core characteristics that once made it great. 

"The stock wizards have been absolutely baffled by Apple’s drop from its lofty peak of $700 a share," said Herbold. "In fact, on the day the Dow passed its 2007 high and Apple continued its free fall, stock analysts were still positive on buying Apple. Of the analysts who follow Apple, 29 were 'strong buys,' four were 'buys', and six recommended a hold."

According to Herbold, Apple needs a visionary leader to rise from the shadow of its former self, and this visionary leader needs to possess three traits: deep personal involvement in the company and its products, the guts to lead successfully and true leadership skills (not simply administration skills).

Herbold said a true visionary leader is confident, has nerves of steel, understands the customer (and worries day and night over whether the customer is receiving what they need with the company's products) and becomes nearly obsessively involved in the company's projects. 

"Steve Jobs personally led the conceptualization and development of the easy-to-use leading-edge products that enabled him to be so massively successful," said Herbold.

Apparently Herbold doesn't see Apple's current CEO Tim Cook as the right man for the job. Cook became Apple CEO in August 2011 after Jobs stepped down due to health problems. Jobs died nearly two months later from pancreatic cancer. 

Apple's stock hit a high of $700 last September, but has now dropped to the $450 mark (it hit a 52-week low of $419 on March 4, 2013). 

"Apple could surprise us in the next six to nine months by emerging with yet another big new idea," said Herbold. "On the other hand, I think the stock market is telling us that the public is beginning to believe that Apple really doesn’t have strong visionary leadership. Apple will be a solid technology company but the Apple era may be on its way out."

Apple does have a few tricks up its sleeve, such as an upcoming smart watch that could be released as soon as this year. Hopefully this will help Apple out, but other companies like Google are right in its face to keep the competition sharp. For instance, Google Glass (augmented-reality glasses) are now being released to early adopters for $1,500 and Samsung is in the process of making a smart watch as well. 

It's kind of ironic that this advice is coming from a former Microsoft employee, considering Microsoft could use some help itself. The company released Windows 8 last year and had plenty of complaints about the new user interface. Sales have been dismal and its first homemade tablet -- the Surface -- has largely been a bust. The company has been working hard to defend its latest products (not to mention its own leader -- Steve Ballmer -- is a pretty scary individual).

Source: Forbes

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Scratching my head
By Brandon Hill on 3/26/2013 11:12:47 AM , Rating: 5
If this isn't a CLEAR case of "Pot Meet Kettle", then I don't know what is...

RE: Scratching my head
By Flunk on 3/26/2013 11:35:23 AM , Rating: 4
I think that would have to be a quote from Ballmer, not a prior COO.

RE: Scratching my head
By cfaalm on 3/26/2013 1:52:48 PM , Rating: 2
Also, it doesn't take a (former) big shot from another tech company to assume Apple misses someone with Steve Jobs qualities. For sure any company could benefit from such passionate leadership, though it is known he could be a total ass too.

By ppardee on 3/26/2013 1:48:39 PM , Rating: 5
The stock wizards have been absolutely baffled by Apple’s drop from its lofty peak of $700 a share

They aren't very wizardly if they didn't understand that it was Apple's cult following of (false) tech messiah Steve Jobs that drove sales. Apple's products aren't any different than the rest on the market. Without Jobs working the sheeple into a frenzy, they won't purchase the overpriced junk.

Smart investors know this, so they've bailed before the Apple watch comes out.

RE: Really?
By timothyd97402 on 3/26/13, Rating: -1
RE: Really?
By hiscross on 3/26/2013 7:54:57 PM , Rating: 1
Nice post. Let's see the reaction from the DT faithful.

RE: Really?
By maugrimtr on 3/27/2013 11:54:20 AM , Rating: 2
The smart investors saw $700 per share and sold. Then they switched to shorting. Now they are rolling in cash as Apple's hyper inflated price collapses to something more realistic.

Apple's high share price was basically a bet by the buying market that Apple could show unending explosive growth. That ignored the lack of product development (no new mobile niches to conquer), the continuing strength of competition (Google & Samsung), and the finite population of Planet Earth with the means to purchase smartphones.

The stock analysts are still somewhat correct. You should hold the stock (selling it would crystalise your loses) and even buying it at a 1 year low is possibly okay if you know something the rest of us don't about a turnaround in Apple's fortunes. It's still performing great - just not at the spectacular out-of-this-world level $700 assumed.

RE: Really?
By Mint on 3/27/2013 1:28:42 PM , Rating: 2
Then they switched to shorting
I'm so pissed because I was waiting for $750. I figured it would hit that easily with so many predicting $1000. I even posted my AAPL shorting intentions here on DT.

Oh well. Live and learn...

stating the obvious?
By zephyrprime on 3/26/2013 11:54:28 AM , Rating: 2
Isn't this true for every company?

RE: stating the obvious?
By retrospooty on 3/26/2013 12:13:31 PM , Rating: 4
Yup... Especially true for Microsoft. Talk about wasted potential.

One small step.
By drycrust3 on 3/26/2013 11:57:08 AM , Rating: 2
Apparently Herbold doesn't see Apple's current CEO Tim Cook as the right man for the job.

It could be Herbold wants Cook's job too.
Herbold misunderstands innovation. Most innovation isn't a huge leap in technology, it is a small simple step.
If you look carefully at the video of the iPhone launch, you will notice that what Job's thought about the iPhone wasn't what made it great. He thought of an iPhone as an iPad with phone capability that also had the means to connect a computer to the internet when you weren't in the office. The iPhone didn't have an application library as we now consider it, with hundreds of thousands of apps in it, some of which people are actually prepared to pay money for (and which can easily lock you into the Apple brand). Legend has it that Job's needed to be convinced that apps were the way to go, but once he was he never looked back.
The important innovation wasn't the mp3 player - phone - internet connection capability, that was bound to happen (and probably was already on the market by other brands), no, it was the unnamed Apple employees that saw the real value of apps and how Jobs was prepared to take a risk and try them out.
So what made Jobs great? He listened, and if he liked what he heard he tried out. Most innovative ideas are failures, but some aren't.

RE: One small step.
By fteoath64 on 3/27/2013 4:12:33 AM , Rating: 2
Good points and very valid!. Thanks. However, for the size of Apple, they needed many many "small evolutions" to fit within their products. They have a limited portfolio of products to date and could do with expanding this range. iWatch is a bad idea and so is Glass.

The sure markets are the NAS market which Apple would do very well and yet, choose not to participate in. Puzzling. In fact, they can evolve a NAS server as the Home-server that never really materialize in the PC industry. One that server apps and runs server based apps with displays on the tablets. It would give them better synergy to their Mac range of products. Recent Nvidia VCX is an eye opener, now if the MacPRO could morph into a home VCX, that would be something ...

He is right
By Ammohunt on 3/26/2013 11:54:29 AM , Rating: 2
I am currently available.

A visionary leader...
By coondini on 3/27/2013 3:06:54 PM , Rating: 2
I nominate Tony Swash. He'd fit right in there with all of the rest of the nutcases.

Boy, wouldn't THAT be fun to watch...

"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch

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