haunted-empire-yukari-kaneFormer WSJ Apple reporter/scoopster Yukari Iwatani Kane is coming out with a new book called Haunted Empire: Apple After Steve Jobs ($12.74 Amazon/$14.99 iBookstore). 

We’re not sure how the book reads quite yet but this excerpt of her New Yorker piece via Fortune, doesn’t take on a very optimistic tone for the company where she once had some solid sources:

When Jobs was ousted in 1985, the impact of his absence on Apple’s business was not immediately obvious. After a slow start, Macintosh sales began rising. Two years after Jobs left, Apple’s annual sales had almost doubled compared to three years earlier, and its gross profit margin was an astonishing fifty-one per cent. Outside appearances suggested that Apple hadn’t missed a beat.

Inside Apple, employees knew differently. Something had changed. “I was let down when Steve left,” Steve Scheier, a marketing manager at Apple from 1982 to 1991, recalled. “The middle managers, the directors, and the vice presidents kept the spirit alive for a long time without his infusion, but eventually you start hiring people you shouldn’t hire. You start making mistakes you shouldn’t have made.” Scheier told me that he eventually grew tired and left. The company had “become more of a business and less of a crusade.”

So what about now? Apple’s supporters point to the company’s billions of dollars in quarterly profit and its tens of billions in revenue as proof that it continues to thrive. But Apple’s employees again know differently, despite the executive team’s best efforts to preserve Jobs’s legacy. People who shouldn’t be hired are being hired (like Apple’s former retail chief, John Browett, who tried to incorporate big-box-retailer sensibilities into Apple’s refined store experience). People who shouldn’t leave are leaving, or, in the case of the mobile-software executive Scott Forstall, being fired.

Mistakes, in turn, are being made: Apple Maps was a fiasco, and ads, like the company’s short-lived Genius ads and last summer’s self-absorbed manifesto ad, have been mediocre. Apple’s latest version of its mobile operating system, iOS 7, looks pretty but is full of bugs and flaws. As for innovation, the last time Apple created something that was truly great was the original iPad, when Jobs was still alive. Although the company’s C.E.O., Tim Cook, insists otherwise, Apple seems more eager to talk about the past than about the future. Even when it refers to the future, it is more intent on showing consumers how it hasn’t changed rather than how it is evolving. The thirtieth anniversary of the Macintosh—and the “1984″ ad—is not just commemorative. It is a reminder of what Apple has stopped being.

It is tough to replace the legend, but hopefully this is just the pessimistic take. We’ll have more from Kane and the book as it becomes available. It debuts March 18th from HarperCollins.

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26 Responses to “Former WSJ Apple reporter has a dreary take on life at Apple after Steve Jobs in this excerpt”

  1. Apple will be okay because I will eventually work there. I am the next in line. :) #love for #tech and #life Steve Jobs knows his family will thrive.

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  2. rogifan says:

    Nothing in that piece appeared to be based on inside information at Apple. Just more of the same Apple is DOOMED, this time to sell a book.

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    • Gary Dauphin says:

      The book’s author spent a dozen years getting to know people inside of Apple. She even quotes one insider in this very article. You should read the rest of the book before passing judgement.

      Now, as far as the Apple is Doomed crap….

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  3. Innovation is not producing new stuff. Innovation is recognising the next big thing and investing in creating a standard there. iPhone and iPad are standards. If there is a future in wearables, if that is the next big thing, Apple will invest there, it will set the standard and it will innovate by doing so.
    It’s not about being there first, it’s not about doing new things…

    Beyond this, Apple continually updates its product line with innovative new products (e.g. Mac Pro). I’m not worried about Apple’s future or its ability to innovate.

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  4. Ping? The non-button iPod shuffle? The antenna gate? All fiascos with Steve Jobs as the CEO of the company. As I read yesterday on the article about Apple bringing Mac OS to Vaio: “Ni company is too big or too successful to fail”. This kind of things happen in all companies and that doesn’t mean they’re going broke.

    People also ask Apple a lot for innovation. Did Apple innovate that frequently? There was an average of 3 years between every “innovation” (iTunes Store, App Store, iPod, iPhone, iPad) in the las decade, and it’s not 3 years exactly, for example, between the iTunes Store and the iPhone there were 4 years. But even noticing that, Apple doesn’t have to innovate the Watch or the TV this year because “it’s been 4 years since the launch of the iPad”.

    Another thing people said (and apparently some keep saying it) when Steve Jobs died: “This is going to be like 1985 when Steve was “fired” from Apple”. At that time, most people at Apple, especially executives, didn’t want “Steve Jobs philosophy” in the company, but now is different. Steve left Apple because of his health condition and then passed away. Probably this time, most people at Apple didn’t want Steve to leave, and they’ll try to bring his legacy to the company as much as they can.

    I hope I explained my self. English is not my native language.

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  5. Here we go again.. trying to make money on the brand and ‘Apple is doomed’ stories.. what a sick world..

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  6. Jon Wong says:

    “People who shouldn’t leave are leaving, or, in the case of the mobile-software executive Scott Forstall, being fired.”

    then goes on to say:

    “Mistakes, in turn, are being made: Apple Maps was a fiasco”

    this idiot obviously doesn’t know anything about Apple.

    Even a 14 year old with a computer knows that Forstall was ousted FOR the maps fiasco…after he refused to apologize.

    Stupidreporterauthorisstupid.

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    • The irony about Forstall’s departure is that he had the arrogance to be unapologetic. Reading between the lines, it was that level of arrogance/determination with Steve Jobs that made Apple what it is today. The key difference between Forstall and Jobs was that Jobs was all about quality/excellence (or at least knowing where to make the right compromise). The challenge for Apple is keeping momentum whilst continuing to be excellent. It feels like currently they are more focused on growing than innovating. Also, their diversion on to openly beta-style products and obvious short cuts on quality may just be a blip, but if it becomes a trend they’ll lose the cool factor and a lot of support. I, however, think that day is a very long way off. I believe they can continue to be excellent. Go on Tim :)

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  7. Yes, its a very pessimistic take. Many people agree the Scott Forstall deserved to be fired after what happened. I think overall, Tim Cook has done a good job growing the business, and I think iOS 7 is pretty darn good.

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  8. PMZanetti says:

    And if all the same things occurred under Steve Jobs, they would be viewed in an ENTIRELY different light. End of story.

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  9. FROM THE INSIDE —–this is a load of crap

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  10. rogifan says:

    Big thumbs down to Mark Gurman for sucking up to this author on twitter. No, this isn’t a “solid read” it’s Apple is doomed BS because the author knows that stuff sells.

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    • The most disappointing thing is how 9to5Mac is constantly perpetuating this nonsense too. Seth Weintraub is always putting out this kind of garbage, on this site and elsewhere. I don’t think many people know about Seth, he has written for other publications, go ahead and read his brilliantly insightful commentary about Apple throughout the years, it sounds awfully similar to all the other generic anti-Apple nonsense thats been parroted across the media going back many years.

      But what do you expect, the guy runs a Google fansite as well. He’s in it for the hits. Which is exactly why I haven’t been visiting this site as often anymore.

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  11. Innovation comes every tuesday. /s

    BUT those Wall St. guys actually believe this.

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  12. So if we are to believe all these douchebags who try to pretend like they are actually Steve Jobs, Apple never made a single mistake under Steve Jobs. The entire excerpt does not give any hint of an “insiders” view, rather regurgitating the same anti-Apple puke that gets perpetuated constantly in the media.

    Apples advertising is a sign of their falling, because of two ads produced a year ago? Well then how come every single ad Apple has produced in the past year has been universally well received and inspiring (and even copied by Universal Studios). A Maps fiasco that turned out to be sensationalism in the first place? Scott Forstall getting fired, which was celebrated by many employees/executives inside the company?

    This is just perpetuating shenanigans, this is not some insiders view of morale inside the company. This is headline grabbing sensationalist bullshenanigans. The only thing right in the excerpt was the unfortunate hiring of Browett, which was quickly realized by Apple and let him go. But again, this doesn’t give us any kind of inside view. And then he was replaced by a new executive who is considered to be a brilliant hire. Of course the book won’t mention that.

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  13. Apple is doomed because under Steve Jobs they never failed. The motorola and iTunes partnership was great. Ping was great! Mobileme was the best thing ever. Attenagate, oh you are just holding it wrong. Scott Forstall wasn’t the reason people started to make jokes and found out the word “Skeuomorphism”. Steve came out with innovative products every other year and this is why Tim Cook’s Apple is doomed because the Mac Pro is a trash can and iOS 7 didn’t bring new life to an OS that looked the same for six incarnations.
    ITS BEEN TWO YEARS SINCE STEVE DIED, TIM DO SOMETHING NOW OR YOU WILL FAIL

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    • ha!
      a lot of people hardly paid attention to Apple or dismissed their chance even AFTER Jobs came back to Apple. Jobs had given dozens of presentations prior to iPhone where not every new product/service was revolutionary. people conveniently forget that to get to iPhone/iPad, it tools years for Apple/Jobs to go thru many different products and trials and errors.

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  14. APPLE is keeping a low profile because they are working on stuff not a single person knows about, including the writer of this book. They are building a multibillion dollar spaceship HQ designed specifically for special research and development projects.

    Tim Cook is not Steve Jobs, Steve Jobs was one in a million, he had great showmanship, but Steve Jobs was also a very luck man who had access to galaxy of talented software and hardware engineers.. you know.. those geniuses who actually make ideas into reality.

    You can write about a Post Steve Jobs and where Apple is heading with Tim Cook as CEO and how they’re doomed… the sad truth is that those who feel this way are the same people who will upgrade to the iPhone 6 that’s coming out this, the new iPad, and anything else APPLE planS on CREATING in the future… you are so inpatient and so spoiled by apple that you feel entitled to a new STUFF because you expect it and want it.

    And that’s where Tim Cook’s genius comes in to play because without TIM Apple wouldn’t exist today, it probably would have gone bankrupt like it was on the verge of going back in the mid 1990′s before Steve took back control of the board. DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW MANY ARTICLES AND NEWS DISCUSSIONS THERE HAVE BEEN ABOUT this very topic or the POST STEVE JOBS APPLE and how it’s doomed because it’s providing you WITH YOUR METH FIX SOON ENOUGH… blah blah blah! FOLKS, IT’S ALL Complete bullshit…!

    not a single person knows jack shit about what Apple is doing or working EXCEPT THE EMPLOYEES AT APPLE WHO ARE THEMSELVES ON A NEED TO KNOW BASIS ON WHAT THEY WONDER THEIR COLLEGUES THEMSELVES ARE WORKING ON BUT NOT ALLOWED TO KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT. that’s the simple truth. However… if you look at everything APPLE is patenting and has patented, I think you’ll realize that they are working on kinds of stuff that will most likely make life easier or better in some way.
    I mean if the employee’s are in the dark…. and we are in the dark… YOU BETTER BELIEVE THIS AUTHOR AND HIS OPINIONS ARE IN THE DARK TOO.

    THIS BOOK IS COMPLETE HORSE SHIT, A WASTE OF TIME, AND ONE MANS SAD ATTEMP TO CON PEOPLE INTO BUYING MORE APPLE DOOMED PROPAGANDA THAT ISN’T WORTH YOUR TIME OR MONEY… AS FOR THE WRITER, I CAN ONLY SAY THAT I WOULDN’T READ YOUR BOOK IF YOU PAID ME TOO, I WOULDN’T EVEN DOWNLOAD IT OR GIVE IT THE TIME OF DAY “WHEN” NOT “IF” IT GOES ON TORRENTS & FILE LOCKERS! I DON’T HAVE TIME READ OPINIONS, THAT’S WHAT NEWS BLOG SITES ARE FOR!

    TO SUM THINGS UP… APPLE IS WHERE IT IS TODAY BECAUSE OF THE EMPLOYEES THAT WORK THERE… THE GENIUS WORK THEY DO AND ARE ABLE TO DO MAKE APPLE WHAT IT IS. APPLE’S BIGGEST VALUE ARE IT’S EMPLOYEE’S, WHICH ALSO INCLUDES TIM COOK AND THE LATE STEVE JOBS . IT TAKES THE WHOLE GROUP TO MAKE APPLE WHAT IT IS, STEVE JOBS LAID THE FRAMEWORK BEFORE HE PASSED BECAUSE EVEN IF HE HIMSELF WAS ALIVE NOW… THIS CURRENT PERIOD OF APPLE CRACK WITHDRAWL WOULD STILL BE IN EFFECT.

    APPLE SHOULD TAKE IT’S SWEET ASS TIME TO MAKE AWESOME STUFF, THEY HAVE MORE MONEY THEN THEY KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH, THEY ARE WORKING ON ALL KINDS OF SHIT, JUST LOOK AT PATENTLYAPPLE.COM. PEOPLE ARE TOO IMPATIENT BECAUSE IF APPLE DOESN’T TAKE IT’S SWEET ASS TIME… IF APPLE HASN’T DONE MUCH IN THE PAST YEAR OR SO… ASK YOURSELF THIS…

    WHO HAS?

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