The Harvard Business School Web site this week published an interview with Harvard professor David Yoffie regarding
the future of Apple. The impetus for the interview was an Apple case study Yoffie and research associate Debbie Freier recently posted (available
in a protected PDF format for $6.50 from the Business School).
Yoffie generally has interesting things to say about Apple, its place in the world, and the mystique and power of Steve Jobs. In true academic fashion, he tends not to say, “Apple needs to do this,” but instead says, “Apple can do this … or that … or this other thing,” but he’s very clear in his belief that the future of Apple isn’t really in the Mac.
He makes sense in a few places, especially when he talks about the BMW/Mercedes analogy that
to dismiss market share critics. But I did a double-take when I hit that part where Yoffie says that Apple has to build a successor to Mac OS X right after Microsoft ships Longhorn (some time in this decade). He somehow believes that OS X is already moving rapidly towards the dustbin.
Professor Yoffie definitely appears to be well-qualified to offer a case study of Apple, especially in the classroom, but I think it should at least be mentioned that he is on
Intel’s board of directors. He’s an independent director, to be sure, but the Intel connection should be mentioned, especially in an instance where a critic of Apple seems to conclude that there’s absolutely no way for Apple to succeed as a “vertical, turnkey hardware integrated software provider.”
Or maybe that’s just me.