Jay Yarow at Business Insider ... said it best with respect to iOS:
Everyone considers Jobs to be a genius who understood design. Now, Apple is not only abandoning his design style, but it's also openly mocking it.
Witness a classic case of the children rebelling against an abusive father after he's long gone. It's sick. Steve Jobs wasn't always nice to Apple executives. Now it's payback time. And it will kill the company. Not only doing the opposite of so much of what Jobs did to make Apple great, but doing it while spitting on his legacy.Cramer delivered an equally as solid -- and related -- take on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street."
"Apple is an angry and defensive company, and that's a shame. Speak softly and carry a big smartphone"- @ jimcramer, on Shiller. $AAPL— Carl Quintanilla (@carlquintanilla) June 11, 2013Yes. A shame. It's sad to see what Tim Cook and others from Apple's ( AAPL) management team have done in the absence of Steve Jobs. It's not about doing things exactly the way Steve Jobs would have done them. Contrary to what the most ardent Apple fanboys claim, I -- and others critical of the post-Jobs Apple -- do not advocate for something that is, without doubt, impossible. It's about swallowing your pride, checking your ego at the door and recognizing that the Jobsian way got Apple to where it is now. Don't consciously and brazenly stray from what worked simply to assert your manhood. All of us, particularly Cook, Phil Schiller and other Apple executives, should have learned a lesson from Ron Johnson. The entire world labeled him the "architect" of Apple retail. We prematurely assigned talent to Johnson he clearly did not possess. It's not simply that he failed in the uphill climb of making JCPenney ( JCP) relevant again. That would have been forgivable. The guy went out in a blaze of incompetence the best slapstick comedy couldn't even parody. He had no business being in charge. As the guy who sets the tone, drives strategy and makes final decisions. That was Steve Jobs's role at Apple. And, make no mistake about it, Johnson "succeeded" at Apple because he rode shotgun with Jobs. He took orders. He carried out the tasks Jobs assigned. Jobs had the vision. Johnson did some implementing. The stuff Jobs did not have time for and/or had no reason to deal with. We're seeing the same dynamic with the supply chain genius Cook, the suddenly outspoken SVP of Marketing Schiller and the universally anointed design genius -- the recipient of more Apple fanboy ass kissing than anybody -- Sir Jony Ive. But Jobs is gone now. As such, these guys are free to make their own choices. Steve Jobs no longer has the final call. He can no longer berate people in front of their peers in conference rooms. He is no longer the guy who says "no" a whole a bunch of times before saying 'yes.'
To argue that Tim Cook "put his stamp" on Apple by going with the dividend and buy back is patently absurd. This is hardly original. Cook put everybody's mark but his own on the company with this move. It's even more frightening to think that Cook might actually agree with the crowd that he followed. Not surprisingly, Lashinky provides the one analysis that actually understands this line of thinking:
... no matter how many times I asked smart money types and careful Apple watchers what they thought Apple would do, nobody seemed to have any creative ideas ...
So instead, Apple announced the most usual of financial behaviors Monday morning, before the sun had come up in California ... Apple "listened" to what shareholders wanted, (CFO Peter) Oppenheimer said ...
Apple under Steve Jobs was so good at so many things. Listening wasn't one of them, and Jobs wore that trait as a badge of honor. He knew what was best -- even if he didn't -- and that's the way it was. A normal company listens, of course. March 19, 2012, marks the day we saw a tiny example of an Apple that is normal.Now, you might think I'm a hack. A pseudo-journalist out for nothing but vitriol and the attendant page views. That's fine. I'm a big boy. I know who I am and where I stand. My personal feelings of self-worth and accomplishment aside, you absolutely cannot make that assessment with respect to a guy like Lashinsky. Apple has been making "the most usual" decisions ever since Jobs left the picture. It stopped being Apple. It ceased to be great. It remains dominant only by default. One event after another -- from the dividend/buyback decision to the most recent underwhelmer," iTunes Radio -- provides writing on the wall, yet so many refuse to listen. They can't stand to see the dream die. But, rebuking Jobs is no way to keep it alive. It's antithetical. For the record and FWIW, AAPL stock is off 27% since I wrote that March 2012 article. Maybe it had to be this way. No question about it. Maybe human psychology and the actions of men would not allow Apple to respect Steve Jobs's legacy and carefully adhere to a if it ain't broke, don't fix it mentality. I get that. However, reality doesn't erase tragedy. Apple died long before WWDC. It died with Steve Jobs. That embarrassing dog and pony show from Monday -- something Jobs never would have signed off on (and he choreographed these events word for word) -- will ultimately stack with the other signposts of history. Critics will point to it when they tell the story of Apple's fall from greatness to just something good -- something normal -- acting as if they saw it coming all along. Follow @rocco_thestreet -- Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.