You may say – some terrible decisions by Apple. Or, some terrible decisions by the CEO himself – Tim Cook in the past few months. As a long time Apple follower and fan; simply put, this is quite hurting. And most disturbing of all – not sure Steve Jobs would have permitted any of these. Let’s look at the top 5 *worst decisions* of Apple in 2012:

1. Hiring John Browett – One of the first hiring decisions after Tim came to office. Why on earth would you hire a Dixons retail executive as the head of Retail for Apple – which boasts of one of the most enigmatic and supreme retail experiences in the whole wide world? Dixons? Are you kidding? Its like hiring a toilet cleaner for the Chief Operations Office position for a company. What did he do? John thought of a botched plan to cut staffing at Apple’s retail stores – which led to a lot of employee dissatisfaction and finally, when fired, John walked away cool with shares worth $3 million for his work for 6 months. Will definitely go down as one of the *worst* hiring decisions by Apple, ever. An excellent article – Why Did They Hire Him in the First Place?

2. Firing Scott Forstall – Either Tim was smoking too much w**d, or don’t know what to say, but firing the ‘most innovative’ inventor in Apple’s history, removing his bio from the Management page onsite, and redistributing the ownership of iOS to other Senior management members – too much to read here. If reports are to be believed, Scott was the ‘divisive’ and ‘corruptive’ influence at Apple; thus, most other Senior management members – Mansfield & Ive didn’t like him much – in fact, didn’t have meetings in the same room, unless Tim was around. Also, Apple looks to create a more simpler interface in future versions of iOS and Mac OS X, and closer (correct word is “tighter”) integration of the software-hardware ecosystem with most likely a hybrid A6 micro-processor (from the current mobile platform) replacing the currently used Intel CPUs on Macs; thus, Scott was forced out. Personally, I FEEL this decision will hurt Apple the most. “He’s one of, if not the most prolific inventors at Apple,” says Erin-Michael Gill, Managing Director and Chief Intellectual Property Office at MDB. “If this guy is who the data seems to imply he is, letting him leave is a huge deal.”

3. The iPad Mini – Did Apple really need it? As the sales numbers show – this instead of putting pressure on Google & Amazon & Samsung – has put pressure on Apple itself – with more and more users/families opting to choose the iPad Mini instead of the usual bigger ‘iPad HD’? This product / segment cannibalization should have had been expected by Apple long time ago.

Apple’s full-sized iPad is now a $40 billion business.  It seems unlikely that normal Apple users are likely to buy BOTH a full-sized iPad AND an iPad Mini. Rather, they’ll likely choose one of the two. And based on the initial reaction, the choice for most is likely to be the iPad Mini. iPad Minis will likely have an average price-point that is about $200 less than the full-sized iPad. So, on a per unit basis, Apple’s revenue will take a hit.

But this loss of revenue on a unit basis will likely be at least partially offset by some additional sales–especially next year, if Apple releases an upgraded version of the Mini and the current version gets cheaper. This could help increase the velocity of iPad sales, even though revenue per-unit decreases. (source: http://www.businessinsider.com/steve-jobs-was-wrong-about-tablets-2012-11)

4. Release of Apple Maps – a botched up software. Did Apple really need to release it? Apparently NO. Instead they did – didn’t work – and then Tim Cook had to issue a public apology. Could have all this been avoided? Definitely yes, by giving the software more time – and testing and releasing it later. A botched up software app led to the downfall of Scott – who was just made the ScapeGoat.

With the release of the latest version of its mobile operating system, iOS 6, Apple ditched Google Maps for its own mapping system.

The result has been a half-baked app that produces less accurate results than Google Maps. After its release, the new Maps elicited such a strong backlash that Apple apologized and offered a list of alternatives for users to download from its App Store. (source: http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/feat/archives/2012/11/07/2003547070)

5. Promoting Bob Mansfield as Head of “Technologies – He retired in June, then came back to work on contract for Apple, and then with Scott Forstall’s departure, he’s now the head of Technology at Apple. What non-sense is that? A guy retires, is brought back on contract, and then gets a full-time offer and gets promoted? Only God almighty knows whats happening at Apple. Anyways, overall, its a bad move – since Bob has 2 more years at Apple – then what? Again God almighty knows. Looks like Tim Cook has no clue of what succession role planning in Senior management is all about.

There are both – positives and negatives to every decision. In fact, a very wise man recently told me – “There is no right or wrong decision. Take a decision, and prove it right”.
On similar lines – hope Apple can prove these mistakes “wrong” and prove the decisions “right”.

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About sghoshoxon

Born in India, educated in Moscow, worked in the UK; Subhasish speaks English, Russian, Hindi & Bengali. Marketing // Strategy // Consulting, Active Blogger, Social Media Evangelist, Apple fan; Thanks to all for reading my blog posts, with 'FewRandomRantings.Wordpress.com' reaching 74,000+ visits since inception. Follow me @nerdometer.

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