Recurring Revenue Authors: Mauro Carniel, Elizabeth White, Stackify Blog, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz

Blog Feed Post

Vendors Survival: Will Apple Survive until 2021?

The answer yes seems as an obvious answer to the question in the title of this post.   
Apple, formerly Apple Computers, is very successful company. The following articles are glances about how successful it is: 

Apple Is Now Worth More Than Intel And Microsoft Combined


Apple unseats Microsoft as world’s biggest tech company

Apple now 4th largest phone maker worldwide

Even by reading only the articles' titles you will be impressed. 

It is the mindshare leader in the growing markets of Smart Phones and Tablets, as well as the Music devices market. 

Anyone's ten years predictions could be totally wrong. I am not an exception. 
However, I already asked similar question about companies such as Microsoft, Google, SUN, HP, Software AG and EMC .

Yes was not my answer to this question for any of the companies cited above.
For some of them the answer was Probably Yes.
However, my prediction about Sun's acquisition by another company was correct.

If you will read my post about Microsoft's survival, you could read about a Mega Vendor named DEC which did not survive.   

Will Apple survive until 2021?
My answer is that the probability that it will not survive is higher than the probability that the other vendors (not including Software AG and obviously not including SUN) I discussed will not survive. 

An Apple or a Mountain Train?
Look at the two images in the beginning of this post. Which of them is more associated with Apple?

When I am looking at these images, I see no apples and no oranges. The Mountains Train is the image which is strongly associated in my mind with Apple.
There where lot of Ups and Downs in Apple's history,
which resemble a Mountains Train' s movement: going up and down, up again and down again.

As you can understand by reading the articles which are pointed by hyperlinks in the previous section, Apple is now up or even in a summit. But will it be in similar position or will it be in its worst position ever, i.e. will not survive at all, in few years?

Apple's History in the context of Survival
Apple Computers was founded in 1976. Steve Jobs was one of the founders. Steve Jobs was (and is) the most dominant and influencing founder.  

The Macintosh was its major product of the first half of the 1980th.
It was a Personal Computer (PC) with a dedicated Operating System.

The competing PCs vendors were Microsoft, IBM and Apple.
Technically Apple's PC was the best and Microsoft's Windows Operating System with Intel based PCs was the worst. 

The worst Operating System won.
Microsoft won because of better sells and marketing strategy, by supporting Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) applications and by providing cheaper products.

Apple's platform was not supported by many ISVs, so most users who need these applications preferred Windows Operating System. Apple chose a wrong strategy, which does not compel ISVs and therefore Macintosh became a Niche Product.

The appointment of Pepsi Cola's John Sculley as a CEO in 1983 was an attempt to improve Apple's marketing and sells and to reduce Steve Jobs' high R&D expenditures. 

As opposed to the Macintosh positioning, nowadays Apple's I-Phone is the preferred Smart Phone platform for ISVs' applications.

On 1985, Apple's Board of Directors removed Steve Jobs from his managerial duties and he resigned and founded Next.  

The Macintosh Portable and the Powerbook were Apple's successful Laptops of the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s. 
Unfortunately, almost every new Apple's Consumer devices failed. 

Apple's of 1994-1997 was an unsuccessful company trying to reinvent itself
The following list includes some of the failed initiatives:

  • AIM - Apple together with IBM and Motorola founded an alliance based on IBM's Power Processors.
  •  Porting Microsoft Office to the Macintosh platform.  Porting Office to other platforms was important to Microsoft, not because the technical merits of the Office implementation on other platforms. Microsoft's strategy was still based on binding Operating Systems and Applications, but it attempted to build a non-monopoly image by availability of Office versions on other platforms.

It is not surprising that Apple's CEO Michael Splinder, who replaced John Sculley, was replaced in 1996 by 
 Gil Amelio

According to Wikipedia, Gil Amelio described Apple as follows: 
"Apple is like a ship with a hole in the bottom, leaking water, and my job is to get the ship pointed in the right direction"

Gil Amelio acquired Next and Jobs returned to Apple.
Gil Amelio did not predict the future: Jobs will replace him on 1997.      

iMac (1998) computers were successful as well as Mac OS X Operating System (based on Next's Operating System API and BSD UNIX) which was released on 2001. 
These successful products signals a better period for Apple. 

However, Transition to Intel chips based iMac begun on 2005 and ended in 2007.  
Apple introduced Boot Camp which helped user to use Windows Operating System on iMac together with Mac OS X.

No need to describe Apple's successful Post PC period after 2007, which was cited in a previous section.

What may Risk Apple's Future Survival? 

Less Innovation
I recently read an economic article about Finland. 
Naturally, Nokia was mentioned by local people who were interviewed. The people interviewed attributed Nokia's losing its position as the leader of the Cellular Phones market to changing to a less innovative company.  

Apple is currently an Innovative company. 
iPhone, iCloud, iPad and Appstore are examples of innovative products and innovative services. 

Who can guarantee that Apple will not become less innovative company in the future? 

Do not forget that its competitors learn from Apple, as well as from their own experience and R&D and are capable of producing products not so different from the innovative products produced by Apple. 
The Apple-Samsung Lawsuit is just an example.

Steve Jobs
Read the section titled "Apple's History in the context of Survival" or any other article on Apple's history and you will find the name Steve Jobs again and again (for 35 years) as the key person behind most of Apple's successful ideas and products. Yes, you can also find him as the creator of some of Apple's failing products.

Apple without Steve Jobs is totally different company.

Apple replaced its CEO very frequently, during the period Steve Jobs was working for Next

Apple without Steve Jobs was already described by one of its CEOs it the past as "a ship with a hole in the bottom, leaking water". 

Unfortunately, Jobs is not young and is not healthy.
Could Apple survive or even evolve after his retirement? 

It should be noticed that the risk factors cited above are not independent. Specifically, Steve Jobs is the source or the driving of many Apple's Innovative products, services and ideas.

Complexity of Sales and Support model 
As far as Cell Phones are concerned Apple is currently more successful than Nokia.
Apple has only few telephone models and only one distributor.

Nokia has a large number of phone models and many distributors.

Clearly, Support, Sales and Marketing are more effective and a lot easier with a simple model (Apple) than in a complex model (Nokia).   

However, Simplicity of products offering is usually a characteristic of a new vendor. 

For example, Microsoft's portfolio of products in its early days included Office and Windows only.
Now the portfolio includes myriad of products, even if different versions or editions of the same product are not counted as different products (e.g. Windows 7, Windows XP, Windows Vista, multiple of Windows Server versions. For each of the Desktop Operating Systems you may find different editions such as Home, Home Premium, Professional etc.)   

It is reasonable to predict that Apple too will have to support more products and more configurations or editions of the same product.   
In that case will Apple be in troubles same as Nokia today or will it adapt to the new role of a Long Term Agile Market Leader?

Apple limits de-facto application development for its consumer devices to its Desktop Hardware and Operating Systems. 
It is not a formal limitation, but only a practical limitation. 

The future need for a Desktop Operating System as we know it is questionable.

This observation relates to End Users. Apple is trying to bind to its Desktop solution a community of application developers for its consumer devices. 
It may succeed, but it could also fail if developers could prefer free selection of Desktop Operating System. In the later case they will develop apps for Apple's competitors e.g. Google Android.  

What may enable Apple to survive until 2021?

So far I analyzed Risk Factors, now it is time to analyze factors supporting Apple's Survival. 

Agility and Adaptation 
A company whose history is paved with so many failures which is still one of the major players, must be a company which is able to adapt to new circumstances and challenges.

The company is more than able to adapt. Adaptation is one of its strengths.
Apple changed its products, services and Business Lines. Apple changed its Infrastructure and alliances. It even changed its name from Apple Computers to Apple to reflect its new focus on Consumer Devices. 

Apple is an Agile company So why will it fail to adapt in the future? 

Innovative Company
Apple was an innovative company through its history.
It may succeed to continue Innovations in the future and be a viable company in the next ten years as well.
    Customers Loyalty
    The Macintosh community is well known as a loyal community.
    Will the younger I-phone or I-Pad community will be as loyal as well?
    I doubt because the new generation is accustomed to frequent changes.
    I may be wrong.

    Concluding Remarks
    As already mentioned any ten years prediction could be wrong, therefore I described Apple's history, Risk  Factors and Strengths.
    Notice that there are factors described both as Strengths and as Challenges or Risk Factors.
    Today's Strength could become tomorrow's Risk Factor.    

    Read the original blog entry...

    More Stories By Avi Rosenthal

    Ari has over 30 years of experience in IT across a wide variety of technology platforms, including application development, technology selection, application and infrastructure strategies, system design, middleware and transaction management technologies and security.

    Positions held include CTO for one of the largest software houses in Israel as well as the CTO position for one of the largest ministries of the Israeli government.

    @ThingsExpo Stories
    DX World EXPO, LLC, a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
    "Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
    SYS-CON Events announced today that Conference Guru has been named “Media Sponsor” of the 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. A valuable conference experience generates new contacts, sales leads, potential strategic partners and potential investors; helps gather competitive intelligence and even provides inspiration for new products and services. Conference Guru works with conference organizers to pass great deals to gre...
    The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develop...
    In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
    "Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
    To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
    Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
    Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
    "Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
    "IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
    In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
    22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
    "Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
    Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
    "MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
    Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
    "There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
    SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
    SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.