Apple's New Organizational Structure Could Help It Move Faster

Bonkers WorldThis cartoon has been floating around the Internet for a few years.

It’s supposed to be a humorous take on how all the biggest tech companies are organised.

It might have to be updated to account for changes at Apple.

When Steve Jobs was in charge, everything flowed through him. Now that he’s dead, the company is taking on a more collaborative approach, according to various reports.

The latest, from Adam Satarino at Bloomberg, says Jony Ive is encouraging Apple’s software and hardware teams to collaborate, something that never happened under Jobs.

Ive was given control over Apple’s software look and feel in November. Previously, he was only in charge of the look of the hardware.

This new collaborative approach is causing Apple to be more deliberate than in the past, says Satarino. This could lead to delays, he says.

Because this is Ive’s first crack at Apple’s software, it’s understandable that there are going to be delays. He’s spent six months on a project that normally takes a year.

In the long run it will be interesting to see how this collaborative approach works. As the org chart above demonstrates, Apple was always a company with one guy making all the calls. This made product decisions easier. But it also made them slower at times.

We heard from a source that Apple often faced bottlenecks because everything had to flow through Jobs. And Jobs was the kind of person who would get intensely focused on one thing, leading to him ignoring other products at the company.

Former Apple employee David Sobotta told us, “If we saw Steve Jobs come into a briefing, he couldn’t talk about anything else, other than the thing he was working on … He came into an enterprise sales briefing, and at the time he was working on iMovie. So, we’d be talking about home movies in the enterprise briefing.”

In theory, the new organizational structure should help certain divisions make decisions more quickly.

But, collaboration has its downside. If everyone is trying to reach consensus on a decision it could lead to big delays.

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