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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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...

"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997

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