The Apple Doomsday Cult, that collection of wacky souls dying to be the first ones to predict Apple’s imminent demise, has a new member. Yes, for his blog post saying that Apple’s got four years, tops, Forrester Research CEO George Colony has earned himself one of the Cult’s signature black blazers with a crest featuring a mushroom cloud over Cupertino.
MG Siegler and Josh Lowensohn both think Colony is just being a provocateur, saying something dramatic and contrarian to generate attention.
As Siegler says:
The upside (for him) is that if he’s right and can boast about it in the future (as I so often love to do). Maybe it helps his company (“Hey, that guy knows what he’s talking about—remember the Apple = Sony post?”). The downside is that if he’s wrong no one will remember a sub-500 word blog post about a topic a thousand others wrote first.
The sad thing is, he’s probably right. The world has an unfortunate tendency to reward those who stand at the end of the diving board yelling “Look at me, mom! Mom! Look at me! Look at what I can do! Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom! MOMMMMMMM!!!” Even if they then fall clumsily into the pool, arms flailing, and swear they just slipped and, hold on, they’re going to try again.
Forrester has some good analysts, but they cater to the enterprise IT crowd, which is not traditionally Apple-friendly anyway, so Colony probably just feels he’s playing to his audience.
There just doesn’t seem to be much point in responding to Colony’s “argument,” which is based on the idea that only a charismatic leader can run Apple, Tim Cook is not charismatic, Apple is doomed, QED, please buy some of our white papers on ROI for SAP implementations in global distributed network environments. So, sorry, Apple fans, but by 2016 the wheels come off and leave Cook comically stuck in a wheel-less car, sliding to a stop on De Anza Boulevard with sparks coming from under the chassis because, you see, the car has no wheels. Cook will then mug a pouty face to the camera, a sad trombone will play, aaand scene.
So, no matter how sound Apple’s fundamentals are, no matter how great a team it’s built or how well its operations are structured, it’s all over because of one guy. Got that?
PCWorld’s Jeff Bertolucci helpfully provides Colony some cover.
There’s little doubt Colony will be pilloried by the loony fringe of Apple’s user base for his heretical beliefs.
That’s ad hominemtastic!
Yes, the loony fringe. It’s so much easier to dismiss any counter-arguments as coming from crazy people. Just make up your Apple doomsday scenario and call it a day, safe in the knowledge that you are inured from any negative feedback by virtue of all those opposed to your brilliance being “loony.” The great thing about this is that it works both ways! If they take exception to it, you can claim you must have “touched a nerve,” and if they don’t you can, like Business Insider, say you must be right because “even the zealots have gone silent.”
It’s a win-win!
Bertolucci is probably still chapped about the pillorying he got for saying Apple needed to kill the iPhone 4 over Antennagate because it was “tainted in the consumer’s eyes.” It was a monstrous and richly-deserved chapping. A chapping like that will leave you walking funny.
OK, the Macalope doesn’t know how long Apple will continue to be successful. Maybe Colony’s timeframe will prove to be accurate. The Macalope doesn’t know if he’ll still be walking this beat in four years, but he’s set a reminder to check back in on Colony’s prediction.
But if Steve Jobs at the helm is the predictor of success, why weren’t we all using NeXT boxes in the ’90s?
[Editors’ Note: In addition to being a mythical beast, the Macalope is not an employee of Macworld. As a result, the Macalope is always free to criticize any media organization. Even ours.]