Is Apple the next Nokia?

I understand if you think that I am insane: How can I dare to put such questions up to a company that earns $7 billion a year, and which broke all records by selling 32.2 million iPhones in the June quarter in 2013?

It’s just worth remembering that the way we look at Apple today, was exactly the same way we looked at Nokia in 2007, six months before the iPhone was launched.

I am aware that Apple accounts for more than 50% of the profits in the smartphone market today and still is the greatest, but Nokia was too. And the Titanic for that matter.

I am also aware that some of the world’s best and most talented product engineers and designers are employed at Apple, but how long will they continue to be as long as the company continues to only to make cosmetic and incremental improvements to existing products instead of inventing groundbreaking new ones?

Whether Apple is going to be the next Nokia is of course pure speculation on my part. However, my point with questioning Apple is first and foremost, that even the best can be infiltrated by complacency, and often they do not even realize it because the consequences of complacency are blurred by the momentum that past results have created.

T.S. Eliot famously wrote in The Hollow Men: »The world ends not with a bang but a whimper.« The same say is true for complacency. Big companies die slowly. They die from the decisions that were not taken and from the questions that were never being asked, because it was easier not to.

Posted on 18th Dec 2013 by Rasmus Ankersen

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