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Apple Co-founder Thinks Apple Is Now Too Big a Company To Come Up With the Next Big Thing (9to5mac.com) 211

When it comes to the next great tech breakthroughs, Steve Wozniak isn't betting on the company he founded. Instead, he believes Tesla is at the forefront of anticipating the world to come. From a report: Interviewed by Bloomberg on what are likely to be the biggest tech breakthroughs in the coming years, and which companies are likely to make them, Woz didn't list Apple as a contender. He said, "look at the companies like Google and Facebook and Apple and Microsoft that changed the world -- and Tesla included. They usually came from young people. They didn't spring out of big businesses." Small businesses, he argued, take bigger risks -- and their founders create the products they really want, without the dilution that occurs with multiple decision-makers. "I think Tesla is on the best direction right now. They've put an awful lot of effort into very risky things. I'm going to bet on Tesla," he added.
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Apple Co-founder Thinks Apple Is Now Too Big a Company To Come Up With the Next Big Thing

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  • How is this news? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hsmith ( 818216 ) on Monday May 29, 2017 @02:03PM (#54506333)
    Most large companies aren't blazing the innovation trail. That is why they gobble up smaller companies doing the innovative things - to get the talent and the ideas. This has been going on forever. Congrats to Woz for just realizing this.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by drinkypoo ( 153816 )

      Not just that, but Apple hasn't innovated since what, the Newton? Everything else has been a safe, comfortable iteration of what has come before. The only "controversial" things they have done for ages have been to solder things and to remove ports, which while repugnant are trends which are present in the larger market and not something Apple invented either.

      • > Not just that, but Apple hasn't innovated since what, the Newton?

        What? The Amstrad PenPad was there before the Newton IIRC, Apple invented nothing.

      • The car is just an improvement over the wheel. We owe Benz nothing.

        What are you fucking stupid? We don't need you fools who clearly haven't invented or improved on anything deciding what is an invention and what isn't.

        Invent something, only then state your opinion on how stupid other people's inventions are.

        • What are you fucking stupid? We don't need you fools who clearly haven't invented or improved on anything deciding what is an invention and what isn't.

          And yet clearly we need your commentary on my commentary, because that is making the world a better place? You didn't think that comment through before posting, did you?

      • How were the iPods or iPhones any iteration of what came before? Granted, w/ the iPod, Apple wasn't taking a big risk, but just introduced a new music player that looked sleeker than anything else, and then took off. They added phone features to it, and the phone market has not been the same since. What was either luck or genius on their part was targeting the elite/upscale part of the population and making their phone look like the Gucci or Prada of electronic devices and pricing them accordingly, and

        • Re:How is this news? (Score:5, Informative)

          by LynnwoodRooster ( 966895 ) on Monday May 29, 2017 @09:38PM (#54508241) Journal
          Apple paying Creative hundreds of millions of dollars for ripping off their UI kind of says the iPod was nothing more than a prettier Creative media player... oh, but with one important difference: it locked everything down via iTunes rather than as a simple 'drag and drop' music player.
          • Apple paying Creative hundreds of millions of dollars for ripping off their UI kind of says the iPod was nothing more than a prettier Creative media player... oh, but with one important difference: it locked everything down via iTunes rather than as a simple 'drag and drop' music player.

            I used to love my creative zen's. I wish they'd make a decent phone/music player these days.

          • Apple paying Creative hundreds of millions of dollars for ripping off their UI kind of says the iPod was nothing more than a prettier Creative media player

            It also used a smaller form factor hard disk. The Creative models used 2.5" disks, the iPod used 1.8" ones. This was important because the first iPod was right at the upper end of being convenient to carry around. The second / third generation were thinner. Second, they used Firewire for syncing (later USB 2, when it became available). The Creative ones used USB 1.1, which meant that a full sync took well over an hour, compared to 10-20 minutes for the iPod. Finally, the use of iTunes meant that the i

          • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

            Apple just waits for technology to mature and then markets the hell out of their version. The iPod was far from the first or the best portable music player, but those white earphones and colourful ads...

            The iPhone was not the first smart phone with large touch screen, and Android was already nearing release when it was announced. And remember how limited the first version was - didn't even have apps! But it sure looked slick, with the OS not even supporting multi-tasking or desktop wallpaper because all ava

          • Apple paying Creative hundreds of millions of dollars for ripping off their UI kind of says the iPod was nothing more than a prettier Creative media player...

            You keep claiming that, and every time I have to prove you wrong because you don't like facts.

            They payed $100 million (not "hundreds of millions of dollars") for violating a patent for "Automatic hierarchical categorization of music by metadata " (IOW sorting songs by interpret), not for "ripping off their UI". Creatives UI was the cruddy "cursor keys to select a menu item" shit from the 80s.

            BTW this patent was also the resason why Apple started to patent every little shit, because evry little shit like yo

        • How were the iPods or iPhones any iteration of what came before?

          Oh please, The iPhone is an iteration of the iPod and as you say the iPod was just another music player that looked slick and did mp3.

        • How were the iPods or iPhones any iteration of what came before? Granted, w/ the iPod, Apple wasn't taking a big risk, but just introduced a new music player that looked sleeker than anything else, and then took off.

          Well, you just told everyone how. Don't be disingenuous.

          They added phone features to it, and the phone market has not been the same since.

          They weren't the first to make a phone which had that form factor and basic UI scheme. They were the first to make it not suck. I don't want to take that away from them, but it's still not innovation. It's just iteration. They did obvious things and sold them better than others did and that's what got them the money.

          There is something to be said for a platform which in the US at least is the first choice of app developers

          Windows was the choice of developers right up through Windows 7. That didn't change because Apple got better, it happened because Microsof

      • Apple innovation often isn't in purely technical terms. They're rarely first to market. But what they tend to do is to merge technology and design in a way that few other companies seemed to be able to do.

        Do you remember how complex and messed up a simple MP3 player used to be, trying to get it to work, patching firmware, crappy and unintuitive user interface obviously designed by engineers, etc? There were a dozen brands on the market, but Apple didn't release a product like that. Here's a case study b [medium.com]

    • Apple is a one-trick pony.

      They have charged WAY too much for their products and have more cash than God.

      The next logical step is to buy up bad ideas far removed from their core competency because they have saturated the market with their version of the wheel.

      Their only innovative approach is to make the wheel rounder.

    • When the company changes these innovation teams (usually making them too big), they fail.

      Changing the process will change the results...

    • by Jahoda ( 2715225 )
      Congrats to Woz for just realizing this.

      Sometimes the generally shittiness of the nerd superiority/inferiority complex really does get tiresome. Nah bro, you're right. Steve Wozniak, a man whose demonstrated brilliance should require no citations, is only just now "realizing this". It's never occurred to him in his life, which is why you should be moderated insightful based on a Bloomberg puff piece. But not you though. You're the guy-too-cool-for-school who just "gets" these things better than anyone e
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I understand "apple cofounder" when used for the benefit of the general population, but this is Slashdot. "Woz says" would be enough clickbait already.

    • Especially when he's the only surviving co-founder, so anybody who wants opinions on Apple can either go to him, or to guys like John Sculley, Michael Presner, or Gil Amelio.
  • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Monday May 29, 2017 @02:04PM (#54506345) Journal
    Steve Jobs would say they're not too big, but the people there (especially the executives) lack vision. That is the problem. A lot of the good people quit in the aftermath of the iphone.

    If he were honest he might also say that the ideas don't need to be invented at Apple, they just need to be implemented there.
  • Well, Woz has been too big for 3 decades to come up with anything new...
  • but since then Apple has basically refined existing things so they didn't suck.

    the ipod was a good mp3 player that they ruined with itunes. of course the point was to sell you music and not a music player, so it made perfect sense that they would shove itunes down your throat.

    they they made a cell phone that didn't suck as much as the rest of them. and it's still in that category. android phones are fucking awful since they are google spyware, thanks google.

    we need a truly open source mobile phone OS.

    that's

  • Maybe it's time for Apple to reduce their product lines to four product categories and focus on those for a while.
  • Of course Apple is too big to come up with the next big thing. Great ideas start in basements and garages, just like Apple when they first started. https://www.retireat21.com/blo... [retireat21.com]
    • All three of them originated from Apple when it was already a big company.

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Monday May 29, 2017 @02:44PM (#54506553)

    I have a lot of respect for Woz. But ever since he left the company it seems like he's been overly down on Apple - from downplaying the iPhone through multiple iterations, to now claiming Apple cannot possibly do anything new or big.

    He says Tesla is ahead and in a sense that is sort of true - I also think they are at the forefront of self-driving cars. But a large part of that is because they are way ahead in collecting real world data.

    Well in a similar fashion, Apple is way ahead of most other companies in terms of knowing how people use mobile devices. Yes Google is also right there in that space, but Apple has a health data collection edge..

    The next big things to arrive will unfold naturally from the combination of large data sets and powerful neural network style pattern recognition (I hesitate to label it as AI). Apple is well positioned to come up with something impressive organically out of the mix of what they have and what they are doing.

    It's very true that large companies have trouble producing innovation. But the way Apple is structured I think it may still be possible, and Woz is simply being overly negative because that is the way he is wired (and probably why he makes a such a great engineer).

    • by beckett ( 27524 )

      I have a lot of respect for Woz. But ever since he left the company it seems like he's been overly down on Apple - from downplaying the iPhone through multiple iterations, to now claiming Apple cannot possibly do anything new or big.

      That sums up the fundamental problems with apple: they're into iterative change to hold hegemony over their phone.

      10 years ago, apple computers were some of the most thoughtful designs and easy to upgrade and replace parts. today, they're glued together and the ram is soldered on the logic board. What do you expect the OG Hacker to think about the direction apple is taking?

      when Apple developed the music store, it was one of the first business models to reach detente with the music industry and sell d

      • "Iterative change ain't nuthin'!"

        Yet without Jobs, they foundered. With him, they excelled. Without him again, they go back to foundering. Microsoft is foundering as they turned from innovation to market retention, playing a game of "me, too!" and using cash hemorrhages to copy what other companies did that worked.

        Saying some little guy did something, never made much of it, then another company brought it big time is vastly different then waiting around for others to hit the big time then playing catch u

    • The fact is, Woz comes from the breed of "garage engineers / tinkerers" which help make startup businesses famous .... not mega-corps who care about style over substance and who make as much money reselling entertainment created by other artists as building the tools that help artists make original content.

      Many of the great computer companies were formed because of engineering-minded innovators. HP, for example -- where both founders were focused on scientific test equipment and computers as useful analytic

    • But he was also the guy that openly admitted he was waiting over night in the queue in front of an "Apple Shop" to buy one of the first iPads.

    • He says Tesla is ahead and in a sense that is sort of true - I also think they are at the forefront of self-driving cars. But a large part of that is because they are way ahead in collecting real world data.

      Why do people believe Tesla is ahead in self-driving cars? Musk's empty promises? From all accounts their AP2 isn't as capable as their older Mobileyed-based AP1. And how is Tesla ahead of Waymo or MobileEye for collecting real-world data? Heck, most of Tesla's data is collected in California. There are entire countries with large road networks with nary a Tesla around. Musk is full of hot air and I'm a little disappointed the Woz doesn't see through it. Oh well, it will all come to light as Tesla has no ho

    • to now claiming Apple cannot possibly do anything new

      Exactly. The iPhone still has a port on the bottom and still works as a phone. There's plenty of functionality and holes left to remove in the name of new.

  • by BoRegardless ( 721219 ) on Monday May 29, 2017 @02:56PM (#54506625)

    "Why can't we xxxxxxxx?

    VPs tend to shut down these sorts of quesitons with stock answers, because they want their position to be stable until they jump ship.

  • Sour Grapes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pubwvj ( 1045960 ) on Monday May 29, 2017 @03:28PM (#54506805)

    Oddly, whenever I hear Woz he sounds like the fox with sour grapes just out of his reach.

    • Oddly, whenever I hear Woz he sounds like the fox with sour grapes just out of his reach.

      I always wonder if that is because it's what he is always saying, or that is what publications tend to quote.

  • by DougReed ( 102865 ) on Monday May 29, 2017 @03:42PM (#54506895)

    Their computer strategy is one example. Idiots have decided the computer market is dying. ... um.. no it's just saturated. It's a replacement market, not an expanding market. There is still HUGE money to be made, just not on an ever expanding scale. ... and Apple have virtually abandoned the computer market. They let Jony destroy their computer line and essentially handed the market to companies like RedHat on a platter. Their Laptops are underpowered with no ports. The iMac has gotten worse with every revision as Jony removed features and expandability. Their server is an underpowered trash can that won't fit into a rack.

    Microsoft has made a mess of the data center. They created a huge security nightmare defined by forced outages because every time you touch a Windows box you have to reboot it. Something that was considered a cardinal sin before M$ came alone. Linux has become the server platform of choice for any data center where the CTO isn't an idiot. Why? because Apple wasn't there to pick up the pieces when they should have been. Big companies trust big companies. OSX was just BSD UNIX with a usable GUI. Reliability was right up there with UNIX and Linux... and as companies started getting hacked and Windows boxes became a huge support nightmare, companies started looking for alternatives. Apple being a big company known for 'it just works' would have been the obvious choice... but there is no Apple server. There is no Apple RDP client for Windows->OSX. Instead Steve Jobs died, and Tim Cook made Jony Ive god and they flushed the server business completely. This allowed the Linux guys to finally say "we're here, and we're ready for you!" Companies would not have looked at them except they were backed into a corner and a few tech guys convinced management to put their toe in the open source water and now Apple hasn't a prayer to take it back. Linux IS the server of choice for companies with a clue.

    As a consultant, I have recently seen old-school Windows-everywhere companies nuke Windows all over the place in favor of Linux. And don't think M$ didn't notice. MS-SQL on Linux? YUP! Visual Studio on Linux? YUP! Even a Linux subsystem on Windows! YUP! I am betting there will be an Office for Linux next. now that the compiler works, someone in the back room is trying to get the compile errors cleaned up as we speak. As long as Windows dominates the desktop, you won't see it. But the FIRST hint of a Linux desktop migration, and poof! Office for Linux will pop out of the woodwork in about 10 seconds.

    Where does this leave Apple?

    • This is the sort of brilliant forward-thinking analysis I come to /. for.

    • by King_TJ ( 85913 )

      Apple has DEFINITELY made some serious mistakes lately. But honestly, I'm interested to see what unfolds with them over the next couple years, more than anything else.

      As I've pointed out on here before -- one "card up the sleeve" at Apple is this huge, new "spaceship" campus that's not up and running just yet. There's probably a whole lot of attention being directed at micro-managing all the aspects of setting that up - since among other things? It's considered Steve Jobs' last big project, and surely had a

      • by swell ( 195815 ) <jabberwock@@@poetic...com> on Tuesday May 30, 2017 @12:57AM (#54508817)

        Yes, Apple has been slow to incorporate the latest chips from suppliers. But there's more to the story.

        I just bought a 2 yr old iMac 27" retina 5K model with 3TB Fusion drive and fast GPU with 4GB RAM and a year remaining on the extended warranty. I could have bought 5 new Linux machines or 3 average Windows machines for the price. I'm not a gamer- this will last me for many years. My newest other Mac is 5 years old, my previous primary Mac is ten, and my emergency standby Mac is 15 years old and they perform adequately with Office, Adobe, Final Cut Pro and Filemaker. When we talk about Macs being outdated, we're talking about them not having the latest processor, the fastest speed, the latest GPU ...

        but nobody mentions the OS. Macs are pretty solid. Not just resisting malware, but resisting most glitches. Macs are easy to use for ordinary people who just want to get something done. Because of the OS, I would prefer a five year old Mac to a new Windows or Linux computer regardless of its 'state of the art' chip technology. It may cost me 500 milliseconds with every task, but it won't crash and cost me hours or days.

    • by swell ( 195815 )

      "Apple have virtually abandoned the computer market. They let Jony destroy their computer line and essentially handed the market to companies like RedHat"

      Oh, you think Apple users are flocking to RedHat? Have you any statistics about that? You seem to think that the world revolves around servers. And it does. But humans don't use servers any more than humans use electric utility distribution centers. Humans use laptops, iPads, iPhones, iMacs and maybe a few iPods and iPhones. And even Windows and Android. H

      • I did not say USERS were switching to Linux... I said they pretty much missed a huge opportunity with the server market. Sit in any airport or Starbucks and there are often more Macs than Windoze boxes... I am a heavy mac user, but I simply said they have made some serious mistakes, and now that you mention it... Jony Ive is making a mess out of their User market too. Safari gets worse HTML5TEST scores than M$ Edge! The Mag-safe power adapter was genius, so naturally Jony killed it and replaced it with

        • by swell ( 195815 )

          Hi Doug. Servers are appliances, commodity items like pork bellies. Difficult to distinguish one from another in a remote lonely server farm. Apple isn't interested in that. Apple is interested in consumer friendly items with style. Fashion is important to them. And don't tell me your $4K iMac crashes after I just bought one! My 10 year old iMac ran continuously all that time with reboots 2-3 times a year to install updates. My TiBook is neglected but it still works. One of my Newton MessagePads, however, s

  • by globaljustin ( 574257 ) on Monday May 29, 2017 @04:15PM (#54507061) Journal

    Many people here are saying things like "Apple/Woz hasn't innovated since [insert really old Apple product]" and it is not true.

    Part of "innovation" is closing the loop and making it happen.

    That's what I think Woz has in mind when he said this:

    their founders create the products they really want, without the dilution that occurs with multiple decision-makers

    Good ideas die in meetings ('to thunderous applause') in other words. Big companies are difficult to make things happen in. It's practically by design. The whole point of a publicly held company is that it will generate reliable returns and/or keep a stable, growing stock price.

    Woz sees that happening at Tesla. I'm not sure if I completely agree with him there (they do have cool robot factories), but I can see why he'd say that.

  • How is the view from the sidelines, Woz? I mean, the guy did some amazing things and he is a great advocate and philanthropist, I won't deny any of that. But it's real easy to be critical of a company that you have no part in, outside of your stock holdings and a yearly stipend. It just feels like sour grapes to me. What's your next big thing, Woz?
  • Apple doesn't need to come up with the next big thing. They just need everybody to think they've come up with the next big thing. Which, by the way, they are very very good at. And they've got 300 billion in the bank to prove it. Apple has, in public perception, made the perfect transition from technology company to Fashion Brand without anybody really noticing.
    As one expert put it a few weeks ago: There isnt a Market for smartwatches, there is a market for the apple watch. No other company could pull a stu

  • Companies run by founders tend to take more risks and often come up with disruptive technology products.

    Cases in point were Apple, Hewlett-Packard, Cray, Tesla, Microsoft, Tandem Computers, Amazon, Oracle, eBay, etc.

    Once they go public and the founders retire, quit, die or get terminated, the companies tend to be run by MBAs that don't have the ability to invent. In theory, they should delegate the tasks to those who do know but it's been my observation that the MBAs just tend to acquire companies, run the

  • Any other employee would probably be fired, or at least admonished, for such spontaneous PR.
  • they're not too big. they're washed up and void of innovation. amazon keeps coming up with crazy stuff. changing direction every few years to invent the next big thing. they started as selling books. then they became the largest online retailer, and now they sell infrastructure/cloud space?

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