Raw documents: Apple’s fiscal Q2 2017 results


  1. John Kirk said:
    On Twitter yesterday, Benedict Evans suggested that Microsoft might be the next IBM, only on a faster timeline. And that’s not a good thing. I think Evans was suggesting that Microsoft will continue to make money — just as IBM did — long after they became irrelevant to the next big thing, which was PCs. Microsoft was the king of PCs, but they missed search and they missed mobile and now they’re trying to jump back on in AI and some other miscellaneous things. But while the Innovator’s Dilemma suggests that it’s hard to go from the incumbent of the current big thing to the creator of the next big thing, it’s also extremely difficult to have missed the current innovation train and then try to hop onto the “next-big-thing” train that follows.

    So what about Apple? Their business model almost failed them in the 80s and the 90s. Again, Evans has suggested that Apple’s business model has remained unchanged. But it was unsuccessful in the 90s and successful in the 2000s because the times had changed. Possible, but I’m not so sure. I think Apple had a lot to do with making the changes necessary for their business model to thrive.

    But enough with the past. What about the future? What normally happens is that the successful business model of yesterday makes it nearly impossible to compete with the new business model of today. In other words, Apple is the king of the Smartphone. Does the Innovator’s dilemma mean that they’ll be unable to compete for the next big thing?

    Well, I’m not sure. I’m a believer in the Innovator’s dilemma. I think culture matters and I think business models matter and I think the very thing that made you successful yesterday can make you uncompetitive today. But…and I’m speculating here…if there is any company built to beat the Innovator’s dilemma, it’s Apple. One of their core philosophies is to cannabalize themselves — to not make the mistake that Microsoft made which was to change from a company that wanted to put a computer on every desk to a company that wanted to put Windows on every computer. The former was a noble goal. The later was purely self-serving.

    First, I don’t think the day of the Smartphone is done, not by a long shot. Second, I don’t think Apple is married to the Smartphone. Apple is not looking for a way to preserve their smartphone hegemony. They’re looking for a way to use their core skillset to make the world better. If they continue to think along those lines, they’re not guaranteed to make the next big thing, but at least they have a fighting chance.

    May 3, 2017

Leave a Reply