Yesterday, Google co-founder and CEO Larry Page let investors know that he wouldn't be able to attend every single earnings call as he has made a habit of in the past. Some speculated that it's because of an increasingly difficult medical condition that makes it hard for Page to speak. Regardless, none of this would normally make me raise an eyebrow until I saw this headline on Wired.
Note: The original title of the Wired article linked above was "Google Without Larry Page Would Still Thrive - Unlike Apple Without Steve Jobs" but it has since been changed (without explanation) to "Google Without Larry Page Would Not Be Like Apple Without Steve Jobs"
The premise of the article is that since Google's stock rose in the wake of Page's announcement, the company is better suited to life without its longtime CEO than Apple was (or "is," I suppose). The author assumes a lot here, using "likely" and "even if" to push his arguments into a fictional world where they're automatically correct.
My biggest issue with the article as a whole is the fact that we're comparing apples and oranges -- and that's just when it comes to Jobs and Page. If we add their corresponding companies, we're comparing caramel-covered apples and vodka-infused oranges. Jobs stepping down from his post as the most visible person in the company and then dying is not equal to Larry Page -- who, as the article notes, is more of a behind-the-scenes CEO -- telling investors he can't make every earnings call from now on. Acting as though the two events are even in the same ballpark in terms of relevancy is irresponsible.
Then there's the general tone that permeates the rest of the piece regarding Apple's supposed downfall, and in particular the insinuation in the title that Apple without Jobs is not thriving. Here's a quick list of things that have happened since Jobs left Apple for the last time:
- The third-gen iPad became the fastest-selling iPad
- The iPhone 5 became the fastest-selling iPhone
- The fourth-gen iPad and iPad mini combined to sell 3 million units in three days, another new record
- iTunes sold its 25 billionth song
- The 50 billionth app was downloaded from the App Store
- Apple has been named the most valuable brand in the world, dethroning Coca-Cola for the first time in 13 years
- The iPhone 5s and 5c combined to sell 9 million units in three days, another record
- The iPhone 5s took the title of the fastest-selling iPhone from the iPhone 5
But hey, Wall Street is wringing its hands over whether or not Tim Cook can run a successful company (which, at this point, isn't even a question), so of course Apple must be doomed.
What's that? You mean Apple's stock right now is higher than it ever was under Jobs? Huh. I guess some people have a different definition of "thriving" than the rest of us. We'll ignore the fact that investors have been wrong about Apple so many times, it's pointless even bringing them into the discussion, because that blows the original argument out of the water.
Wired's piece isn't an isolated incident, and there have been "Apple isn't what it used to be" opinion pieces popping up for the past two years now. I realize that taking the time to write this rebuttal probably won't change much (or, let's be honest, anything), but the beauty of all of this is that it doesn't matter. As I've said before, Apple's been "doomed" for a while, but that's never stopped them from selling their products in record numbers and embarrassing the competition at nearly every turn.
[Image credit: GDS-Productions]