Apple’s rise to become the world’s most valuable company came to fruition when Steve Jobs built the tech giant and former design director Jony Ive and current chief executive Tim Cook took them to the next level.
This according to New York Times tech reporter Tripp Mickle’s new book, “After Steve: How Apple Became a Trillion-Dollar Company and Lost its Soul,” which provides a behind-the-scenes look at Apple’s struggles after Jobs’ death while throughout his career. bows of his best lieutenants.
Mickle spoke with more than 200 current and former Apple executives and employees, as well as key figures in Apple’s history, such as Trump administration officials and cultural influencers, to illustrate how the company’s achievements cost dearly. The book raises the philosophical question of whether businesses should be places where art leads to commerce or where commerce dictates art.
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Mickle told FOX Business that one of the biggest lessons he learned while writing the book is how critical Steve Jobs was to the tech giant’s success.
“Apple had to find a whole new way to operate without Steve Jobs because he was literally at the intersection, like the spoke of the wheel, for everything they did, and they deserve credit for figuring it out that and to have excelled in the way they do it,” he said. “But in the same way, because Jobs was central to driving the product, no one else emerged for him. succeed. Jony Ive did this during the Apple Watch, and it begs the question of how long they can stick around on their existing product lines. and how do they deliver another revolutionary device?”
Since Jobs died in October 2011, Mickle says Apple has become a reflection of CEO Tim Cook, with an increased focus on concerns such as cost and operational efficiency over the past decade.
“Steve Jobs was guided by his guts and instincts and made decisions quickly and largely based on and formed by his own tastes, whether those tastes were his sensitivities around software or his kind of aesthetic sensitivities, which were heightened compared to others” , he notes. “Tim Cook is a person who is really comfortable with spreadsheets. He is really focused on numbers. He tends to analyze things and think deeply about them before making decisions. ‘a person who is an instinctive decision-maker to another who favors method over magic.’
As of Friday’s close, Apple had a market capitalization of $2.2 trillion. According to Dow Jones Markets Data, Apple stock has climbed 918.51% on a price return basis and 1,091.35% on a total return basis since Jobs died.
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Going forward, Mickle thinks Apple’s biggest challenge is its continued reliance on China.
“We have seen this outbreak time and time again over the past five years,” he points out. “We saw it happen when COVID started and factories were closed and Apple had to reduce its guidelines because it was not going to be able to manufacture the devices it needed because it is so dependent on the facilities of manufacturing in China to do that. And we’re seeing that again now.”
Like its competitors, Apple also faces continued supply chain disruptions and inflation near its highest level in 40 years. However, Mickle pointed out that Apple has beaten its peers when it comes to obtaining and negotiating favorable prices for the components needed to build its products.
“That’s been reflected in its ability to keep up with demand, like, for example, the Mac line of computers last year at a time when some of its peers were struggling to get chips to make laptops. “, he adds.
Apple is also facing a growing spurt of unionization among its retail employees. While Mickle acknowledged the challenges posed by the move, he said they were “somewhat mitigated” by Apple’s shift to digital sales and support for its products.
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Ultimately, Mickle hopes readers recognize the ongoing tension within Apple to balance the creative and financial aspects of the company as it continues to navigate its growth and deliver products consumers love.
“There is no right or easy answer to managing these tensions,” he stressed. “These are the two things that have to somehow work together to make the products that Apple has had over the years.”
“After Steve: How Apple Became a Trillion Dollar Company and Lost Its Soul” is on sale now.