Apple is built on uncompromising design choices. This is a foundational piece of their strategy and what makes them unique.
Last time Steve Jobs left the helm, Apple started compromising on its strategic position. While not immediately visible since short-term revenues went up, after a few years it was clear that Apple had lost its way.
When Steve Jobs came back, all compromises were cut and dumped – including entire product lines. He focused on what makes Apple Apple: Uncompromising design choices where every decision had to fit with every other decision still in effect, as a congruent whole.
From this core, he then added logistical, sales and marketing decisions, where again every decision fit with every other decision.
Apple was entirely about internally consistent choices, with its uncompromising design philosophy at the core. Because of this, nobody could do it like Apple. Either you had to copy the entire company, or accept unsolvable incongruency costs.
Today, it has only been a few years since Steve Jobs left the helm, and we are already starting to see the same type of design compromises as last time creep in.
Battery case add-ons, and an ugly and badly designed one at that. A keyboard on an iPad, it also badly designed and full of compromises. Other small design compromises forced by unnecessary features.
None of these compromises would have been accepted by the old Apple.
Michael Porter’s excellent article “What Is Strategy?” warns about exactly this type of straddling.
In doing this, Apple has started to erode its core strategy and unique position. If they continue like this, they will soon become like everybody else. It will be impossible to distinguish between a product made by Apple, Microsoft or Samsung. Financial results will follow.
Right now, Apple is at the top of the world. They are the most profitable company in history. But the straddling will soon prevent them from keeping this position.
That’s why I am selling all my Apple stock today. And I recommend you to do the same.