Outspoken venture capitalist Roger McNamee was on Bloomberg yesterday talking about the tech industry.
His comments on Apple were entertaining, and typically bombastic. He says, “Apple is the most amazing thing I’ve seen in 30 years of covering the tech industry,” and, “there’s nothing competitive with them at all today.”
However, he’s worried because, “they’re already doing the things you would expect a dumb monopolist to do.”
Like what? Well, he thinks the iPhone 5 is nice, but it’s not it’s not “blow-away” cool like the iPhone 4. He doesn’t appear to have had any hands-on time with the iPhone 5, though. And just about everyone who uses the iPhone 5 seems to be blown away.
What else? The other “dumb” thing Apple did, according to McNamee, was firing “a ton” of its retail employees. We’re not sure if that’s exactly accurate. Apple cut back on employees’ working hours, but didn’t fire a ton of people. And after a backlash, it Apple restored the normal schedule.
While we think McNamee’s specific examples are wrong, there is a broader point about Apple that he’s alluding to here. Apple is the lead dog. It is the most valuable company in the world. But nothing lasts forever.
In five years, it’s possible Apple could cease to be the most valuable company in the world. If it were to lose its edge it would be due to a lack of mind-blowing innovation and silly penny-pinching moves. The iPhone 5 and the employee cut backs could either be big warning signs, or just blips on a radar. If Apple does crumble then we’ll look back at these warning signs.
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