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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 xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @11:16AM (#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 psergiu (67614) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @11:16AM (#44553793)

    Yeah, Larry Ellison's advice ...

    Bringing you such commercial successes as The Network Computer.

  • by ZorinLynx (31751) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @11:17AM (#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 MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @11:22AM (#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 Karlt1 (231423) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @11:29AM (#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 Guspaz (556486) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @11:34AM (#44554083)

    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 @11:39AM (#44554139) Homepage Journal

    So why hasn't Microsoft collapsed? (and for people saying it has....yeh uhm ok).

    Microsoft aren't ever going to be the company that rolled out Windows XP and was threatened with anti-trust around the world ever again. Someone else, perhaps Google will end up in that boat, but Microsoft have their own future to sort out now that they are a follower, again.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @11:45AM (#44554241)

    Not that AC, but there's fair amount of music software for iOS that isn't on Android. Android has never solved their terrible latency issues, either -- though I see a press release by a third party puts claims their own software has gotten it reduced to about 4x that of iOS, which is still pretty bad and generally considered acceptable by musicians.
     
    So, yeah, playing/recording/performing music would be one use case.

  • by xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @11:45AM (#44554243)

    >> assessing the company on what your kids think is of limited value. Android products are usually more 'affordable' and are being aimed at older (30-something) kids with money to burn.

    Well...that perception among multiple demographics that "the Android is the best value for us" is the big reason why I think Apple is in trouble. Kids want it because it does everything they want and it fits their budget. So do teens. College students. Fresh graduates. Family men. Except for boomers riding out this crappy economy, Android has quietly become the preferred solution for most people buying devices today, because most people would agree that they don't have money to burn, and that hurts Apple, who depends on people overpaying for functionality to sustain high profits.

  • by azav (469988) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @11:47AM (#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.

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

    by msobkow (48369) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @11:55AM (#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?

  • by xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @11:59AM (#44554485)

    >> 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."

  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @12:36PM (#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 Qbertino (265505) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @12:39PM (#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 @12:55PM (#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 jemenake (595948) on Tuesday August 13, 2013 @12:57PM (#44555397)

    ...which brings up another point: Steve Jobs rejoined Apple in 1997. The iPhone didn't come out until 2007. Way to pass over a decade of history

    Well, during that time, he did pull Apple back from the cliff. He rolled out those candy-colored, all-in-one iMacs and simplified the product line.

    And then he got super, super lucky. Because he's a design zealot, he insisted that the iPod have headphones which match the device: white. What he didn't foresee was that this would be the only thing visible on an iPod user (who was, at the start, a Mac user... which meant they were a young, hip, fashion-conscious millenial). So, imaging you're at a street corner, waiting to cross, and you look over and there's some really cool cat, grooving to his music, and dressed cooler than you ever could. And their earbuds are a color you hardly ever see: white. In fact, just about every time you see white earbuds, they're on some cool-looking person. What piece of musical awesomeness are they hiding in their coat?

    Apple quickly figured this out, however, and told people the answer with those iconic commercials showing only silhouettes and white earbuds. Apple was saying "THIS is what's on the other end of those earbuds on the cool kids". It's a classic example of drawing attention to (or creating) a distinguishing trait to highlight "social proof". (Another great example is Toyota's Prius. The first Prius looked like any other sedan, so nobody thought that anybody drove hybrids. It wasn't until they came out with that iconic flat-back shape when people started noticing just how many hybrids there are out there, so people didn't feel like they'd be the risky early-adopters).

    Without the gobs of money they made on iPods, they wouldn't have had the money to do the iPhone. So, in my book, the entirety of Apple's dominance, today, is due to Jobs' obsession (for aesthetic reasons at the time) with the white earbuds.

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