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Larry Ellison Believes Apple Is Doomed 692

Posted by timothy
from the in-the-long-run-we're-all-doomed dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "Oracle CEO Larry Ellison thinks that Apple will collapse without Steve Jobs at the helm. In a televised interview with CBS News, scheduled to air August 13, Ellison called the deceased Jobs 'brilliant' and compared him to iconic creators such as Thomas Edison and Pablo Picasso. When asked about Apple's future now that Jobs is dead, Ellison didn't hold back: 'We already know, we saw — we conducted the experiment, it's been done.' Raising his hand above his head, presumably to indicate the rise of Apple's fortunes during Jobs' initial reign, Ellison said: 'We saw Apple with Steve Jobs.' Then he lowered his hand: "We saw Apple without Steve Jobs." In other words, the period following Jobs' ouster, when the company's revenues declined and it launched whole portfolios of consumer products that failed. 'We saw Apple with Steve Jobs,' Ellison continued, raising his hand above his head again — this time, to suggest that incandescent period following Jobs' return to the company, when it released the iPod, iPhone, iPad, and a variety of bestselling PCs. 'And now, we're going to see Apple without Steve Jobs,' he finished, and his hand fell."
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Larry Ellison Believes Apple Is Doomed

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  • by iggymanz (596061) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @12:13PM (#44553757)

    later, a bear eats fish and takes a dump in the woods. Story at 10

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @12:26PM (#44553935)

      If only a bear would eat Ellison, but unfortunately bears have too good a taste to eat sacks of shit.

    • by swschrad (312009) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @01:23PM (#44554827) Homepage Journal

      resentment over the sky-high support fees, snaky sales pitches, bait-and-switch product lineup, and failure to patch Java holes has never been (climbs on ladder, out window, up fire escape, stands on chimney, raises hand) higher...

    • by MiniMike (234881)

      later, a bear eats fish and takes a dump in the woods. Story at 10

      What kind of bear? What kind of fish? How was the fish caught? How big was the dump and what are the coords (for geocachers)? 10 PM or AM? Which timezone?

      Come on manz, this is Slashdot and we expect details!

    • by Anubis IV (1279820) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @02:50PM (#44556229)

      Competitor? Nah. Ellison and Jobs were actually close friends, based on comments both of them made over the years. If anything, this is a case of one person thinking that their friend's life work simply can't exist without the friend. And, despite being an Apple fanboy, I have to admit that he's likely right.

      I'm not with the doom-and-gloom naysayers thinking it'll happen immediately, but I do think that, as many other companies before them (e.g. Sony), Apple has had its day and will generally be going down from here (whether they've already peaked or are nearing it, I don't know, since they're expected to have some big announcements this autumn), and it's only a question of how steep the descent will be and when/if it will stabilize eventually (quick note: I'm not talking about the stock market when I talk about descent, so much as the distinguishing characteristics that separate Apple from an average company). I think that Jobs did a good job of getting the right people into leadership and inculcating a culture of excellence in the company that he left behind, so that should ensure that the descent will be a gradual one, rather than a rapid one, but eventually they'll start hiring bozos (to borrow Jobs' term) who will drag the company down.

      When Tim Cook hired Browett as their Senior VP for retail, a lot of us assumed that Apple had already begun that process, since the guy looked like he was completely the wrong fit for the company, even though he may have managed to do decently well at the place where he was before. Kudos to them for canning him a few months later after he engaged in a series of highly-publicized screw-ups, but the fact that they hired him in the first place is actually one of the most worrying developments to comes out of the post-Jobs Apple, since their die-hard fans read it as an indication that the soul of the company is fragile and in danger of disappearing sooner than expected.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @12:15PM (#44553777)

    When Jobs was ousted they went from a $1 billion a year revenue company to a $10 billion a year company a few years later. It was Sculley's ouster that doomed Apple ;)

    • by TWiTfan (2887093) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @12:27PM (#44553957)

      Hush, you fool! The hipsters might hear you!

      • by ron_ivi (607351)
        I can out-hipster that.

        I stopped buying Apple products when Wozniak left.

        My Apple ][+ was awesome, though. Damn closed/locked-down macintosh.

    • by Guspaz (556486) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @12:34PM (#44554083) Homepage

      Sculley, who bet the farm on the Newton, which bombed? Sculley, who fractured the Mac lineup into a large number of similar and confusing models? Sculley, who had Apple branch out into every random consumer electronic category he could think of, including digital cameras, videogame consoles, CD players, speakers, television STBs, and even television/computer hybrids, every single one of which flopped?

      Things didn't necessarily get much better after he was fired, but his lack of vision and direction are part of the reason that Apple was 90 days from bankruptcy when Jobs took over and got the investment from Microsoft.

      Say what you will about Jobs, he was very good at simplifying the product lineup and focusing on a vision. Still, I think that Apple ousting Steve jobs was the best thing that ever happened to both Jobs and Apple. For Jobs, particularly, the experience of the NeXT disaster was extremely educational.

      • by ackthpt (218170) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @12:58PM (#44554451) Homepage Journal

        Sculley, who bet the farm on the Newton, which bombed? Sculley, who fractured the Mac lineup into a large number of similar and confusing models? Sculley, who had Apple branch out into every random consumer electronic category he could think of, including digital cameras, videogame consoles, CD players, speakers, television STBs, and even television/computer hybrids, every single one of which flopped?

        Things didn't necessarily get much better after he was fired, but his lack of vision and direction are part of the reason that Apple was 90 days from bankruptcy when Jobs took over and got the investment from Microsoft.

        Say what you will about Jobs, he was very good at simplifying the product lineup and focusing on a vision. Still, I think that Apple ousting Steve jobs was the best thing that ever happened to both Jobs and Apple. For Jobs, particularly, the experience of the NeXT disaster was extremely educational.

        Steve knew something everyone else never quite got - there are people who will spend a lot of money on an image product. His first Macs were nothing special, performance-wise, but set a new style benchmark. PC clones were ugly, beige, cumbersome and suddenly there was this Bang & Olufsen sort of style which looked great on a desktop. Every product since was about materials and style.

        • by alen (225700)

          there was some demand at the time for stylish PC's. Alienware started in the 90's and some computer makers did release nice looking computers.

          apple was able to sell a bundled computer/monitor/software where people were willing to buy it where a lot of computer makers would leave money on the table allowing people to buy another branded monitor

        • by aristotle-dude (626586) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @01:16PM (#44554719)

          Steve knew something everyone else never quite got - there are people who will spend a lot of money on an image product. His first Macs were nothing special, performance-wise, but set a new style benchmark. PC clones were ugly, beige, cumbersome and suddenly there was this Bang & Olufsen sort of style which looked great on a desktop. Every product since was about materials and style.

          Performance benchmarks are for nerds to masturbate to, being able to get stuff done is what normal people care about. If you were to compare the speed at which you could take one of those colorful CRT iMacs out of the box and be on the internet compared with unboxing a PC and connecting to the internet, the iMac would win by hours.

          You can talk about how you think image was the only reason why people bought them but in reality regular people just wanted a machine that worked and let them get on the internet without having to consult a nerd. The CRT iMac was that machine which is why it put Apple back into the black again.

          Getting on the internet on those iMac

          Step 1: remove iMac, keyboard, mouse and power cable from the box.
          Step 2: plug in power cable into back of iMac and wall socket.
          Step 3. plug in keyboard and mouse.
          Step 4. plug phone cord into phone socket in back of iMac and wall.
          Step 5. Turn on iMac
          Step 6. Launch AOL.

        • Steve knew something else that no one else ever seemed to get: Clever little business strategies aren't a substitute for making products that people want. I think understanding that was a big component of what made Jobs successful. Yes, he had showmanship. He had a design sense. He had a knack for finding and hiring talented people. He had other talents and virtues, I'm sure. But a big part of his success, I think, is that he didn't act like a stereotypical 'businessman' out to make money from whateve

  • by xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @12:16PM (#44553789)

    He's right - Android is eating iOS's lunch. I can see it in my own family. My oldest boy remembers when having an Apple product was cool. My next son could care less - he picked up his first tablet for under $100 and hasn't thought about Apple since. My elementary-age daughter calls her tablet an "iPad", but it too is an Android device. All my family's phones are now Android phones. If I was ever going to buy another laptop, it would be a Chrome book. Etc, etc, etc.

    • by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @12:22PM (#44553895) Journal

      I like my iPhone well enough, but I find the way it stores data, sandboxed into each app, absolutely painful, and having to use that hideous iTunes app is an even greater agony. I love my Nexus 7. I have Dropbox, Google Docs or a USB cable and can move files back and forth with ease. So while there are aspects of iOS I like (I like the calendar/scheduling app in iOS, just feels more complete), when I give my old iPhone to my kid, I'm looking at getting an unlocked Android phone.

      • by MightyYar (622222) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @12:30PM (#44554013)

        I'm the opposite... almost every time I have to open "ES Explorer", I die a little inside. I'm too cheap to buy an iPhone, though. I bought two on eBay just to use for a while, but currently I have a cheap Android. Both OSes have their strengths - I'd say that iOS is a bit more pain-free and Android is more fun to geek out with. My kids use my old iPhones as iPods, and we have a Kindle tablet - the iPad Mini was not out at the time and the full-sized iPad is way to rich for my blood.

      • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @01:36PM (#44555039)

        ...and having to use that hideous iTunes app is an even greater agony.

        and there you have it. iTunes is one of the most horrendous applications I've ever used. When I got my wife to switch to android she said "But how do I put music on it?!?!" so I clicked on the device and said "See that folder called music? Put it in there." all she said was "wow"

        • by teg (97890) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @02:01PM (#44555469) Homepage

          ...and having to use that hideous iTunes app is an even greater agony.

          and there you have it. iTunes is one of the most horrendous applications I've ever used. When I got my wife to switch to android she said "But how do I put music on it?!?!" so I clicked on the device and said "See that folder called music? Put it in there." all she said was "wow"

          "See that folder music? Put it in there" is an absolutely horrible way to deal with music, unless all you have is one album. The overview and management of a tool like iTunes is indispensable when you have a large music library... I have 24 k items, mostly lossless audio, after all of my non-SACDs discs have been moved into the basement. Folders just don't cut it, and "put it in the music folder" don't scale at all.

          The good thing about a folder interface is that someone else can recreate their vision of iTunes and use that to achieve the same thing. Not that you can do it yourself, that's masochism.

          As a side note, spotify and others of that ilk are making this less and less necessary.

      • by maccodemonkey (1438585) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @02:23PM (#44555821)

        I like my iPhone well enough, but I find the way it stores data, sandboxed into each app, absolutely painful, and having to use that hideous iTunes app is an even greater agony. I love my Nexus 7. I have Dropbox, Google Docs or a USB cable and can move files back and forth with ease. So while there are aspects of iOS I like (I like the calendar/scheduling app in iOS, just feels more complete), when I give my old iPhone to my kid, I'm looking at getting an unlocked Android phone.

        The lack of an accessible file system is mostly due to Apple's priorities and focus (I know this may not please the Slashdot crowd) on moving files to the cloud.

        iCloud's premise is that your local files and your cloud files co-exist in one big bucket transparently, and iOS's implementation is the realization of this. Whatever iOS device you get on, your files are there. You don't have to copy them to a USB key or find them on the file system or manage different versions. Each file has a "truth" version in the cloud. Having access to the file system as a end user function breaks this illusion. You're back to worrying about what's on disk, what folder everything is in, etc etc... And while that's more of a design choice, it also wouldn't surprise me if Apple starts really messing with iOS's file system on a technical data to make it even less friendly to traditional file browsing. I could see them going for a totally metadata based file system in the future.

        OS X is a legacy OS, so it is much more of a reflection of the mess of having two user facing buckets. The iCloud implementation on OS X is just hands down awful compared to iOS. Separate file browsers, bad user experience, ugh... OS X Mavericks moves towards fixing this a bit by adding file browsing based on metadata based instead of file paths. Because both local and iCloud files can have metadata they're all back to living in the same bucket, and the user experience is much better.

        So Apple's lack of a file browser isn't necessarily because they are paranoid and want to lock down the device, or because Steve Jobs didn't like it, it's because they're likely considering at some point totally abandoning a traditional file system, and they don't want to get users attached to a function they're probably going to take away.

    • by timeOday (582209) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @12:26PM (#44553945)
      Apple's success now is not based on the iMac or iPod still being cool. If they are successful in the future, it will not be based on the iPhone or iPad still being cool. It would have to be "something else." Figuring out what that would be is the hard part.
      • Coolness has been less of a factor for a while. The iPad was far and away an excellent piece of hardware. It was the first time I started to think we could really use the "third device", instead of thinking that the three-device paradigm was a corporate marketing scheme. There is a lot to be said for well executed tables for content consumption (different than those for productivity). The iPad was fantastic, and its hardware and OS excellence is what opened the consumer market. Advertising and coolness
    • by Jerslan (1088525) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @12:52PM (#44554347)
      And yet most Android manufacturers are taking a loss right now... so having a larger market share isn't working out too well for them... The one exception seems to be Samsung, but only because they borrowed a page from Apple's Marketing department and started making fun of the competition (from a conceptual point-of-view the Samsung ad's making fun of the lines for the latest iDevice aren't that different from the Mac vs PC ads). Samsung is even starting to follow Apple's device announcement/release schedule.

      People keep saying Android is eating Apple's lunch, yet Apple had revenues of $35.6 Billion of which $6.9 Billion was profit... And that was during a down quarter when they had no new devices released and sales started to drop off as people wait for the next iDevice. $6.9 Billion... with a 'B'.... That's a lot of money. They're hardly in any financial pain over Android's growth.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by xxxJonBoyxxx (565205)

        >> most Android manufacturers are taking a loss

        To be expected. Remember how there were once thousands of PC manufacturers churning out hardware at low margins while Microsoft profited? Same model, different company; you need to compare Google to Apple if you want to, er, do an "apples to apples."

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Android is for people who don't care and just need something cheap. It'll be easily replaced overnight. That's why Android has low customer loyalty. Apple doesn't actually Apple isn't shrinking. They're just not growing as fast. That hasn't stopped them from out performing thesmelves compared to the previous quater despite the iphone 5 not really being anything terribly special.

      Everything about Android is so broken people are just waiting for another cheap alternative to come along. Google should count t
  • by psergiu (67614) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @12:16PM (#44553793)

    Yeah, Larry Ellison's advice ...

    Bringing you such commercial successes as The Network Computer.

    • by melonman (608440)

      Exactly. (For younger readers, Ellison was all over the media 20 years ago announcing that Network Computers would be the nemesis of Microsoft in the very near future. I don't think waiting for the Chromebook was part of the game plan at the time.)

    • I wonder what Larry Ellison thinks will happen to Oracle when he steps down?

      His probable opinion: Oracle will tank without his brilliant leadership.

      Most likely actual outcome: Oracle shares will skyrocket once the company is rid of his ego.

  • by ZorinLynx (31751) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @12:17PM (#44553805) Homepage

    It feels like Apple has lost direction since Jobs passed. For example, look at iOS 7: It's a mishmash of awkward design language, with inconsistencies and a flat, boring look that likely never would have been approved by Steve. All that lovely texture that iOS had is gone. People are already complaining about it and I'm sure there will be an even bigger uproar once it goes public. They took inspiration from MICROSOFT for crying out loud!

    Look at the rumored (but very likely) "low cost iPhone". It's made of cheap plastic, which Apple had been trying to get away from for years with Jobs at the helm. Steve would have likely insisted that they find a way to build the iPhone out of its current materials but less expensively, and I'm sure the engineers would have lived up to the challenge.

    He was a perfectionist, and while I didn't agree with all his decisions, his absolute refusal to compromise and insist that everything be exactly right is what led to Apple becoming what it is. I already see things going downhill and it's not going to be pretty moving forward.

    • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @12:29PM (#44554001)

      For example, look at iOS 7: It's a mishmash of awkward design language, with inconsistencies and a flat, boring look that likely never would have been approved by Steve. All that lovely texture that iOS had is gone. People are already complaining about it and I'm sure there will be an even bigger uproar once it goes public.

      People complaining loudly about how Apple's next version of iOS or OS X is going to suck is not exactly a new thing. I've been a Mac user since 2003, and I have been watching this theater since... 2003.

    • by Karlt1 (231423) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @12:29PM (#44554007)

      Look at the rumored (but very likely) "low cost iPhone". It's made of cheap plastic, which Apple had been trying to get away from for years with Jobs at the helm. Steve would have likely insisted that they find a way to build the iPhone out of its current materials but less expensively, and I'm sure the engineers would have lived up to the challenge.

      You're right if only the guy who led the design of the iPhone and the logistics guy who made sure the components were well sourced hadn't left Apple when SJ died.,,,,

      Oh wait, the design guy is a VP and the logistics guy is the CEO, never mind.

    • by pr0nbot (313417)

      I've generally loved Apple's hardware design, but I've never been convinced they had beautiful, consistent UIs since the transition to OS X. For example, they went brushed metal for iTunes, for no apparent reason. This started long before Jobs croaked.

    • by rilister (316428)

      I think people are quick to fit the evidence to the theory, although I agree that some of the iOs 7 design is surprising. Personally, I like surprising, but I'm curious to see how well it works in practice.

      On the more general point, the back of the iPhone 3G was plastic. The original iPod is made of plastic (for, like, a decade). As is the MacBook. and the original iMac was too, which essentially defined Jobs/Ive's design first approach. Jobs never had a problem with a plastic, properly applied. He had a pr

    • by Woogiemonger (628172) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @01:43PM (#44555183)

      Steve would have likely insisted that they find a way to build the iPhone out of its current materials but less expensively, and I'm sure the engineers would have lived up to the challenge.

      He was a perfectionist, and while I didn't agree with all his decisions, his absolute refusal to compromise and insist that everything be exactly right is what led to Apple becoming what it is. I already see things going downhill and it's not going to be pretty moving forward.

      I agree that Jobs has been responsible for a lot of good things, but he was accepting of imperfect products. If you thought otherwise, then you are an example of Steve's most valuable talent. His cult-like brainwashing of consumers has largely kept the demands of shareholders at bay. Going to follow that attack up with quick example other than Antennagate:

      Remember when Macbook Airs lost their backlit keyboard? ... surely they didn't think this was something users wanted. Not even the most versatile touch typers are going to avoid looking at the keyboard SOMEtimes, at the very least to adjust their screen brightness. They put it back in a later model, but that decision just reeked of taking a beautiful product and trimming down the expenses, counting on reputation to facilitate user acceptance.

      Back when Dell first came out, they were churning out beautiful products. When you opened up a Dell machine, you saw high-end. Let's talk keyboard again. Dell sold a $100 keyboard that was quiet, with keys firmly held in place. The letters were nicely printed on each key, beneath a smooth surface. It was getting old, so I looked forward to my next Dell, with a new keyboard. The new Dell arrived, and the keyboard was priced $50. The keys were shaky and slightly noisier. You could feel the printed letters on each key. It seemed so cheap that I frantically called Dell, asking if I could buy the previous model. They no longer sold it, thinking users were okay with a cheaper product, since they now just bought Dell based on its high-quality reputation. I think this strategy worked, but their reputation for quality is long gone. Michael Dell buying back Dell makes complete sense, because the company needs a major overhaul that shareholders are unlikely to be accepting of. I see Apple, without the brainwashing icon that is Steve Jobs, falling slowly but surely down the same path.

  • by chill (34294) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @12:18PM (#44553811) Journal

    More to the point, Larry thinks the NSA program of collecting everything is "excellent" and "necessary".

    Larry also is whining about Google adhering to the Sun Java license as it was written and intended. Larry would prefer they send him large amounts of money instead.

    Larry can go to his private Hawaiian island fuck himself.

  • Edison = Jobs (Score:5, Informative)

    by Major Ralph (2711189) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @12:21PM (#44553865)
    Edison was a dick who took credit for work that his underlings did. Jobs is of the same cut.
    • Edison was a dick who took credit for work that his underlings did. Jobs is of the same cut.

      CEOs like NFL quarterbacks always get too much credit when things go well and too much blame when they go badly. It's the nature of the position. Jobs didn't usually take personal credit for much of what happened while he was in charge. His speeches seldom revolved around his own contributions. Rather he got credit for it from outsiders whether he deserved it or not. Apple has a LOT of very talented people working there and while Steve Jobs clearly was a very effective CEO, he could not possibly have b

    • Re:Edison = Jobs (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MightyYar (622222) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @12:51PM (#44554333)

      The world needs dicks like Jobs and Edison. They get things done. Woz is definitely the more brilliant mind among the two, yet what grand mark did he leave us with after the Apple II? With Jobs you can point to the Mac (the first one and the reborn NeXT one), the iPod, the iPad, and the iPhone (not to mention some really nice animated movies). You have to give him some credit towards legal, affordable, mainstream music downloads - eventually DRM free, no less. Sure, he was a colossal dick, and by all accounts a weird, picky, self-centered dude. But the man knew what he wanted, and he knew how to get it. Things got done, and he changed several markets that he decided to enter into.

      Edison is the same way. Yeah, he gambled and lost on DC power. Yeah, Tesla was by far the more brilliant man. But the world needs managers, too - and Edison was a master at managing large teams toward a goal... or at least he was far better at it than most other people at the time. The result? Tesla did a bunch of cool things, but his biggest contributions came when he was working for someone else. Edison, on the other hand, get's credited for a staggering number of inventions that his team cranked out - and which shaped the world of the time. Phonograph, carbon microphone, practical lightbulb, alkaline battery, and numerous electricity-related innovations...

      I LIKE Woz better, and I think he's a better role model. Tesla is way cooler. But I'm glad Edison existed and I'm glad Jobs knew better than Xerox what the world would buy.

  • The key difference (Score:5, Informative)

    by CharlyFoxtrot (1607527) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @12:21PM (#44553875)

    The main difference between Apple without Jobs the first time 'round and now is that The Apple Jobs left the first time wasn't shaped by him but by the people who ousted him. This Apple however has Jobs stamp all over it, it has the people he picked, he trusted and he trained. If you think Jobs was a genius, which Ellison does, then that has to count for something.

    • by SEE (7681)

      It doesn't matter. The Jobs-picked team doesn't have the Jobs aura.

      That's the big problem. Apple did plenty of bombs under Jobs; the Cube, the early forms of Apple TV, et cetera. Before the iPod, Mac unit sales and Apple revenue had a surge-and-retreat structure under Jobs. But Jobs has the clout to prevent any board revolts that might have stampeded Apple into a stupid direction.

      Tim Cook doesn't have that. Every failed product (and if you're trying new things, some will fail), every temporary ebb, eve

  • by kruach aum (1934852) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @12:21PM (#44553881)
    it sounds kind of hand wave-y to me.
  • by skaralic (676433) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @12:21PM (#44553883)
    At Tanagra.
    Wow, that is as dramatic of a story summary as I have ever seen on Slashdot. Made me tingle all over...
  • by digitalderbs (718388) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @12:22PM (#44553891)
    No one would argue that Steve Jobs made important contributions to modern computing. However, it's hardly surprising that a CEO, such as Ellison, would have an inflated perception of the importance of one individual (i.e. the CEO) to the success of a company. If he didn't believe that, then it would be hard to justify the millions he pays himself every year.
    • by LodCrappo (705968)

      "No one would argue that Steve Jobs made important contributions to modern computing"

      I certainly wouldn't, though I think you meant the opposite? Lots of people do seem think that S. Jobs made some sort of contribution to computing, although I've never heard a convincing reason why.

  • by MarkvW (1037596) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @12:26PM (#44553943)

    CEO's get paid obscene amounts of money. It's reasonable to expect them to justify such a lavish outlay by telling the public how "unique," "indispensable," and "valuable they are.
    News at 11.

  • by sandbagger (654585) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @12:33PM (#44554073)

    Apple, and the computing industry, was different in 1993. Apple wasn't making smartphones and iPods; Microsoft could kill small companies merely by issuing a press release implying that the features being developed by these small companies would be included in a new version of Windows NT ... 'soon'; Google didn't exist, on-line digital media didn't exist apart from binary groups on a certain use-able net that we're not allowed to mention.

    Time for this fellow to update his examples.

  • by ErichTheRed (39327) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @12:37PM (#44554113)

    One of the issues with all the "media marketplaces" like iTunes, Google Play and yes, the MS Store, is that they're not going to disappear anytime soon. I'm not sure how many people are going to abandon an entire app platform once they've sunk a lot of money into it. Before the smartphone era, changing phone carriers meant that you would have to rebuy a few ringtones and other carrier specific stuff, but an Apple to Android or reverse switch means you have to rebuy a lot more. I've specifically avoided buying tons and tons of apps on any platform for that simple reason...it becomes much more expensive to switch later on. So even if the music is sort of DRM-free, either inertia or a very large collection of purchased software is going to keep a lot of people on one platform or another for a while. Since Apple charges premiums for new hardware to access this stuff, they're in good shape for a while.

    With the new online store model, the store owner is guaranteed a very good chance of long term survival even if their market share drops over time. Microsoft and Adobe are taking it one step further and introducing stuff like Office 365 and Creative Cloud. Previously only large businesses signed month-to-month rental agreements with software companies, and now consumers are being dragged in as well. Guaranteed revenue stream vs. one-time perpetual license.

  • Sounds legit... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gestalt_n_pepper (991155) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @12:40PM (#44554167)

    Because Ellison is so credible.

  • by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @12:42PM (#44554199)

    "...wealth isn't the same thing as intelligence." -Larry Ellison

    I don't "do" Apple but hearing Larry Ellison postulate about the future is laughable. The guy got all his money through vendor lock-in and insane licensing models. If he was that bright, he'd be more innovative.

  • by azav (469988) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @12:47PM (#44554271) Homepage Journal

    Here's why.

    Disclosure: I've been using the Mac as my preferred platform wince 1985.

    The recent releases of the Mac OS (post Snow Leopard) have been weird and much less useful. Everything is animated, you can't turn the animations off and often, you are forced to wait for the animations to finish.

    This causes the UI to get in the way of productivity.

    Many times the animations are distracting. Small, darty animations distract many and make them uneasy, since these are the same motions of a mouse or roach. These reactions are felt way before the human mind has a thought formed on what they have seen. It's a more innate reaction. The more you use the system, the more uncomfortable you get with it. And you can't turn them off.

    Also, there has been this push to push UI metaphors from iOS on to the desktop. THIS IS TERRIBLE. On my 17" Macbook, in Lion, my scroll bars became the width of a quarter. How is this better than the previous OS? It isn't. Also, auto termination of apps, where the app isn't really auto terminated, but just the UI is? All to save 5 MB of RAM? I don't know about you, but I actually use my File: Open menu to open docs and when I can't tab to an app because it quit behind my back without my permission, I hate this.

    iOS 7. OMG. Where to start? Simply by looking at the publicly released images, the design inspires "weak and feeble", with overly saturated (painful) colors against too much white. The functional gears Settings icon of the past has been replaced with a weak looking non functional design that can't work. It doesn't do anything. It's not connected to anything. It's thin and weak.

    On this front, the initial releases looked terrible and were panned by many. Even the creator of the font that they used (Helvetica Neue) stated so. One terrible thing is that many elements that were buttons or tappable, used to have a button treatment that made the UI instantly more understandable since a button LOOKED like a button. Now, text is simply blue. Unless it's in another application and then it might be purple, or yellow. This is bad. This is a step back. This forces the user to guess more as to what is a clickable/tappable element and makes the elements harder to see. This isn't helping make an easier to use UI.

    Sandboxing. This is the WRONG way to do security. I don't know what the right way is, but this is a royal PITA.

    Devices. Gluing the contents to the case? So you can't even update your own machine? Even with the 2011 models, it's not rosy. Simply to replace the keyboard on my 17" MacBook will cost me 500 dollars. 500 damn dollars on a two year old Machine. Sweet mother of suck.

    iTunes 11 shipped with a really easy to find data loss bug that cost me 6000 archived podcasts.

    There may be some great engineering going on under the hood, but all I've seen coming out of Apple since Snow Leopard have been substandard OS releases that are slower than Snow Leopard, with questionable features that do not make the Mac easier to use. Even the look of the new software is not what it once was. Look at iTunes 11 (fugly) vs. iTunes 10 (crisp).

    And no more 17" MBP? Look. We're all getting older and cramming more pixels into a smaller space isn't going to make the screen easier to read.

    Airdrop? Who cares! Give me a FAST UI that doesn't burn my eyeballs off.

    I'm really upset with the direction Apple's taking. Snow Leopard was the last release that I could use to get work done and from the publicly released photos of iOS 7, I'm sadly counting my days as a Mac user.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Actaully, cramming more pixels into a smaller display DOES make it easier to read, that's the whole point.

      The difference was a huge jump in density was needed so that system-wide ui scaling was feasible while still looking crisp.

      With the density on the new retina MacBook Pro's, this is very evident... You run at "scaled" resolutions of 1440x900 or 1920x1200 etc, and the result is a much much much crisper looking display then a native 1440x900 or 1920x1200 display.

      Now having moved to one of these displays my

  • Apple *is* dying (Score:4, Interesting)

    by msobkow (48369) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @12:55PM (#44554403) Homepage Journal

    Apple is dying, but not because Steve Jobs left the helm. It's because of greed and poorly designed devices.

    As a recent example, my friend's iPad battery recently went belly up. She *loves* her iPad. But they want $289 to replace the battery, so she bought a $700 touch-screen all-in-one computer from Sony and is pleased as punch.

    How can you expect to retain market share when replacing a freaking BATTERY costs half the price of a device?

    And how many *entire* Android devices can be had for $300?

    • As a recent example, my friend's iPad battery recently went belly up. She *loves* her iPad. But they want $289 to replace the battery, so she bought a $700 touch-screen all-in-one computer from Sony and is pleased as punch.

      Fascinating, but you may want to check your facts. Oh sorry, Apple haters rarely do.

      ----------
      Out-of-Warranty Service
      If you own an iPad that is ineligible for warranty service but is eligible for Out-of-Warranty (OOW) Service, Apple will replace your iPad with an iPad that is new or equivalent to new in both performance and reliability for the Out-of-Warranty Service fee listed below.

      iPad model Out-of-Warranty Service Fee
      iPad mini $219
      iPad 3rd, 4th generation $299
      iPad 2, iPad $249
      --------

      That's

  • by jonyen (2633919) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @01:01PM (#44554507)
    Don't know why people are bashing on Larry Ellison so much. Larry Ellison & Steve Jobs were close friends (Steve was even the photographer at Larry Ellison's wedding). So of course Ellison knows what he's talking about when he says that Apple is doomed without Steve Jobs.
  • Doomed (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rossdee (243626) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @01:02PM (#44554527)

    We are all doomed.
    In a billion years or so the Andromeda galaxy will collide with our galaxy.
    A few billion after that the sun will run out of Hydrogen and Helium and turn into a red giant.
    Theres also a risk of a major meteor impact wiping out 90% of all life on this planet.
    And global warming etc.

  • by SnappyTech (2809279) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @01:15PM (#44554707)
    Larry's comment parallels those that rant that Microsoft is doomed because Apple will eat its lunch. Or those that laugh at Apple and Microsoft saying they are both doomed because cheap Android devices will be their end. Those are extreme comments. Apple, Google, and Microsoft will both continue making record profits that will just increase. For a company, profit is the only true measure of success. They're all adapting. I think the only true change that has come about is that now coders like myself have to be knowledgeable of cross-platform methods so they can hit all the markets, both present and future. Peace out.
  • by Tmann72 (2473512) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @01:27PM (#44554875)
    I'm starting to get tired of this Thomas Edison comparison that I read from time to time. Thomas Edison's inventions inventions fundamentally changed the human condition. Specifically the light bulb. Suddenly the entire human race can get a lot done inside larger indoor spaces and at night where previously limited lighting prevented many activities. The iPhone did not in anyway change the human condition on these scales. Combined with Edison's other inventions Jobs looks even less important. He made a few good devices using existing technology. He did not reinvent the light bulb.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Edison didn't invent the light bulb, but he did improve it.

      http://www.uh.edu/engines/epi1330.htm

  • by Qbertino (265505) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @01:39PM (#44555091)

    Apple is about fashion. iPhones are still selling like hot cakes, and people don't give a damn wether some Android device is more powerful. iStuff is hip, looks flashy, has a ton of accessories available and never will stop being hip, cool and well designed. It's like the Zippo Lighter or the Vespa Scooter.

    To detail the Vespa example and why it comes to my mind: I just went looking at Scooters these days - Piaggios Vespa sells at least 700 Euros more expensive than the rest of the lot ... and that's with bargain deals. There are Scooters of simular quality from the far east, yet at my dealer of choice, of all 50ccm Scooters on display 25% of them were Vespas. Not Piaggio, but the actuall Vespa, in all colors and variants. They even got a new luxury model that sells for 7500$(!!), the Vespa 946 [vespa.com]. A friggin' 50ccm Scooter for 7500+$!!

    And I tell you what: if I had the money, I'd probably buy one. You know why? I don't want to think about Scooters. I want mine to look cool and timeless and be fun to ride. Most people are like that when it comes to Smartphones and computing devices - I'm not, but then again, I'm an expert. With Scooters I'm not. I'm like "Oh, this one looks cool, rides nice and also comes in black & chrome and real metal. And you can get flashy jackets and gear with the same logo. I'm sold." There was a mechanical engineer there today with her 9 year old son. She didn't even look at the quality Taiwan models. It had to be a brown metallic touring Vespa with original Vespa topcase, 3500 Euros vs. 2000 Euros be damned. And I bet she has an iPhone for the same reason. It's like Levis vs. cheapo, Coka Cola vs. no-name Coke. People by the "original", no matter the price.

    No, Apple isn't doomed by a long shot.

    Apple has turned owning an iDevice into a fashion statement - an advantage that Oracle, MS and quite a few other companies would kill for. Unless Apple really screws up and breaks their *very* sophisticated product development pipeline - which I don't see happening - Apple will to just fine. Especially with gross margins still well north of 30%. Margins and mindshare even Oracle probably can only dream of, btw.

    My 2 cents.

  • by FellowConspirator (882908) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @01:55PM (#44555367)

    ... Johnny Ive and the rest of the folks working for him did. Jobs did three things: he specifically insisted on being a premium brand and quality to justify it, he hired people that could execute on that, and as the voice of the company he sold the brand and it's products very well.

    The same people are there and I don't suspect that they are being asked to do much different. I think that a lower-cost iPhone is not a bad idea -- BUT, it better adhere to the overall quality mantra and still be a premium device in the price-point or that will be deleterious to Apple.

    However, Tim Cook, bright as he may be, seems utterly dispassionate about Apple and Apple products. When he gives a keynote address, it's as though he's selling the proverbial widget; he doesn't communicate that he's devoted to the product or that he is earnestly striving towards some grand vision. When Cook talks, you know he's there to sell you widgets - no vision, no excitement, just a product that he feigns a vague interest in so that he can sell them. Cook needs to be replaced - if not as CEO, then as the public face of Apple.

    Apple's got a pretty nice tech stack going for it. There's a lot of possibilities there, and while the future of Apple is still in play, it's on pretty good footing. What it really needs to do, though, is pick up the pace on development of it's products. Jobs had a habit of making sure that there was always something new to keep the press coming back to report on the latest and greatest from Cupertino. Whether intentionally or not, Cook is not following that pattern. Jobs would rather suffice for a small but important upgrade than wait unknown periods of time for a show-stopper, and he'd always have product lined up to go when it was announced (again, Cook is behaving more like HP/Dell/Microsoft/Sony in not keeping with that tradition).

  • by jcr (53032) <jcr@@@mac...com> on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @02:01PM (#44555467) Journal

    What we saw before was Apple being run by Sculley, Spindler and Amelio, none of whom can hold a candle to Tim Cook. What Apple has today is an executive team who were pretty much all hand-picked by Steve. Sculley was Steve's great recruitment screw-up, and he was far more careful after that.

    -jcr

  • by gwstuff (2067112) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @02:09PM (#44555591)
    I generally sympathize with predictions of gloom for Apple's long-term outlook. But they are based on changes in the market that Apple has been unsuccessful in adapting to. And to some extent, this difficulty started when Jobs was still around. Specifically: - Android eating into their market share on Tablets and handhelds - Changing business models. Less and less people are buying paid apps, making advertising the main source of revenue for app developers. Admob (Google) controls 90% of the market. What this boils down to is that Google gets a significant cut of revenue on the Apple App Store. This fraction is increasing and Apple's attempts at competing in the space (iAd) have failed dramatically. Having admitted a negative outlook, it is impressive to see that the current leadership is trying to define their own vision, rather than trying to guess "what Steve would have done." Making iOS 7 non-skeumorphic, i.e., not using physical analogies in the user interface was a complete departure from Jobs' vision of a "beautiful, immersive user interface that you already know how to use." Apple's leadership is trying to redefine Apple as a company and trying to evolve its ideas to the world today. I disagree with some of the comments that the iOS 7 UI sucks. The home screen is kind of ugly when you look at the 80's style icons, but I've been using it for a few months I significantly prefer it to the old interface. You have to use it for a while to feel the difference. When you look at a 3d beveled button with a shadow, you subject your brain to a lot more information than you do when you look at a simple rounded rectangle. Your brain has to exert itself just a tiny little bit more. It's hard to explain because it happens at the subconscious level. This bit of saving adds up over time, making the interface easier and more pleasant to use. The decision to ditch arguably one of the iPhone's biggest assets - its skeumorphic interface - and start from scratch must have taken a humongous amount of courage, especially for a company Apple's size. With the way things are headed (Android, Ads, competition from Amazon, Google) it's clear that they cannot do without this kind of courage and determination. I wonder, though, if it would have been possible at all under Steve's reign....
  • by Dcnjoe60 (682885) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @02:18PM (#44555761)

    Somebody should check whether or not he short sold Apple stock prior to the interview. Not a bad strategy, sell stock at today's price, bad mouth Apple, predict the end is near, when the price falls, purchase the shares to settle the sales. Works great, unless you get caught, that is.

    Seriously, though, of course Apple is doomed. Every company that is at the top is dislodged eventually. In the tech world, at one time it was IBM, then they were doomed, then it was Microsoft, then they were dislodged. Then Apple seized the crown and eventually they will be dislodged, too. Whether that is today or down the road, only time will tell, but it is inevitable.

    What is important is what you do after you are dislodged. People forget that back in the late 70s and early 80s Apple was at the top of the heap and was knocked off of it. They had the education market locked up. It wasn't IBM and the PC that dislodged them, it was Microsoft and Windows. Now whether it was because Jobs had left or because of Microsoft making a number of key alliances with business partners, people can argue all day long.

    The important thing is that Apple, like many before them, was knocked off the top of the heap, and reinvented themself with a new product line and a new OS and a bunch of new consumer goods that just worked. When Apple switched to OS X, the pundits all cried out what a terrible mistake it was. They were wrong. Just like Larry Ellison is wrong. Apple isn't doomed. They are destined to be replaced as the number one tech company, nobody can hold that position indefinitely. But, as their shareholders laugh all the way to the bank, not being number one is a far cry from being doomed.

    Then again, maybe we should listen to Mr. Ellison, he seems to have first hand experience on how to run a company that was top in its field straight into the ground.

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