What Would Steve Jobs Do to Save Apple?
Will Apple get a second chance? What would Steve Jobs tell its executives? If they would listen to Jobs’ wisdom (SJ), here are five ways Apple can get its mojo back:
1) iVision: Share Apple’s vision with stakeholders and shareholders. Show that Apple does “Think Different” and give a sneak peak into the future to re-engage and excite Apple fans, investors and customers. If Apple executives sought to benchmark others, they would humble themselves and study how Samsung communicates its 2020 Vision “Inspire the World, Create the Future.” SJ: “Over the course of the next several months we’re gonna roll out some awesome stuff.”
2) iLife: Expand into home entertainment, accessories and business. Apple’s #2 global brand ranking allows it to leverage more partnerships and acquisitions that would diversify its products to outpace Samsung. Transform the hobby of Apple TV into an iTV with a user interface that will re-invent all three screens (iPhone, iPad and iTV). New accessories such as an iWatch would enhance each mobile user’s lifestyle. Additionally, launching an iBusiness line (like the announcement of the 128GB iPad today) would help entrench its place among corporate users. SJ: “‘I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use. It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud. It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.’”
3) iWorld: Create new products for the emerging market. Apple doesn’t have to develop a $50 product, yet even a $200 product would dramatically expand the potential buyers for iPhones in emerging markets (current iPhone price in China is about $800). China and India comprise nearly 36% of the world population with a growing middle class that will seek brand-leading gadgets. SJ: "We don't know how to make a great smartphone for $50. We're not smart enough to figure that one out yet, but believe me, I'll let you know when we do."
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4) iCommit: Commit to increasing value for shareholders and consumers. Apple’s $137B of cash can be better used in three ways: 1) Increase its dividend yield (2.4%) to be more on par with either Verizon (4.75%) or AT&T (5.4%). 2) Require executives to retain significant stock ownership. There is a new shareholder proposal that would require Apple executives to retain significant stock (to have skin in the game). 3) Invest more in R&D expenditures. Its annual R&D budget (~2%) is significantly less than Samsung (~6%) and Google (~14%). Apple can use crowdsourcing from global users and critics by creating a user-driven idea site to reward the ideas. Samsung will be launching its Global Innovation Vision on Feb. 4. SJ: “The cure for Apple is not cost-cutting. The cure for Apple is to innovate its way out of its current predicament….Good artists copy, great artists steal."