In the mid-90's when Apple was on the verge of bankruptcy, then CEO Gil Amileo, chose Steve Jobs’ NeXT, Inc., and the NeXTSTEP operating system over former Apple fellow Jean-Louis Gassée’s BeOS. Jobs joined Apple’s Board of Directors, and with the NeXTSTEP operating system set as the foundation of what would become OS X he went to work on hardware along with regaining his CEO status. Gil Amileo was sent packing within a month of Jobs return, branding himself as Apple's iCEO, and soon thereafter the introduction of the first iMac.
The iMac was a “wow” box. Nothing like it existed. A small, colorful computer that looked like a nice piece of furniture instead of bland boring beige techno-box. As Jeff Goldblum famously said in an Apple commercial, “Have the people who’ve made computers before done nothing but beige? That’s nuts... that’s nuts!” Apple bragged that the iMac made it simple to get connected to the internet (something that was quite difficult back in the day). What’s more, the iMac bought Jobs time to develop OS X. It also was the first of several big inventions that started the turn around of Apple, Inc.
Now, nearly some 20 years later Apple is in a very different marketing and financial position. With tens of billions of dollars in cash reserves, with profit margins competitors can only dream about, it is Tim Cook’s turn to do something amazing. Cook has done a very good job of managing Apple and ensuring a timely flow of product and OS updates. He has done a nice job of enhancing the culture inside Apple as well as taking the stock to new heights.
However, what made Apple Apple is new and cool things none of us thought were possible. If you were around in the mid-90's no-one was thinking of a bondi-blue computer that looked like an egg shell. In the early 2000’s no one thought it was possible to put 1,000 songs on an MP3 player, or to easily burn your own CDs. In 2007 no one thought of anything like the iOS interface, with simple buttons and no file/folder structure. So now in 2014, what have we not thought of that Apple will amaze us with?
This is Tim Cook’s time for making history. If he waits another year or two the polish on the Apple is going to diminish and no product “update” will save him. Apple is known for creating the unthinkable, and then when they do, everyone wants it. Can Cook pull this off like Jobs did? The fall is the season of Apple Special Events and so we will soon see whether Apple is Apple, or if Apple is morphing into just another well managed company.
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