Will Google and Apple Excellence Continue?
He also disagrees that Google, which is still the runaway leader in search, and whose Android platform is the leader in mobile smartphone market share, and has been padding its revenues every quarter, is in solid position. "Android is buried in litigation still, they just torpedoed their licensing model by buying Motorola, and just shuttered a recent $200M acquisition (Slide)," Enderle said. ""Once Ballmer took over day to day and Bill really stepped out last decade you saw the emergence of Ballmer's Microsoft and you realized what was missing was the focus on product detail and a loss of vision. Cook and Jobs were a team each making up for the weaknesses of the other. Jobs was the face, the captain, Cook the chief mechanic. Scotty, if you will to Jobs' Captain Kirk. It took both." Enderle said the mere belief that Apple isn't strong enough without Jobs, whose management style is as aggressive as Cook's is calm, could make the company vulnerable to competition. "When you talk to the leaders of firms that compete with Apple it was Jobs, not Cook, that they feared," Enderle said. "He was the general they didn't want to go all out on because they felt he was unbeatable. With him gone Apple looks beatable and there is a drive in CEOs to be at the top." "That is the bigger exposure for Apple. The same thing happened to Microsoft when they lost the DOJ case and Gates clearly started leaving, suddenly the unbeatable company looked beatable and it got beat. Ironically, Apple was the leading company that beat them. " Who is the company that can beat Apple? Is it Google under Page? Amazon, with its forthcoming Kindle Tablet and aggressive content distribution, or some entity we haven't considered? How about Google? Will Apple sue Android, and therefore the search engine's seething mobile ad business to a halt? And will Amazon emerge to eat Google's lunch in digital content? These questions remain open an unanswered in that rarefied air of Silicon Valley.
That's not to say Enderle is gung-ho about Apple's prospects; he is decidedly less confident in Apple's future without Jobs leading the way. He believes that while Jobs never strayed far from Cook, this new situation may set up a scenario that is, with no dearth of irony, similar to the one Microsoft found itself after Founder Bill Gates gave the CEO role to Steve Ballmer in 2000.