Sunday, August 25, 2013
Steve Balmer, Steve Case and Tim Cook - the varying fortunes of Tech CEOs.
But there is another story in the chart. Notice that at the beginning of the period AOL was a $100 billion company and now is less that $3 billion. At the turn of the century a lot of people talked about the innovative genius of Steve Case (the AOL CEO who pulled of one of the most significant disasters of modern corporate history - the merger of Time Warner and AOL). What also caught my eye was the valuation of Apple. In the middle of September Apple will launch the new iteration of the iPhone (the one Ballmer said would not sell). In the last year or so, Apple has ceded market share of both the smart phone and tablet market. That may have been inevitable. (They still sell a hell of a lot of units in a much larger market for both products.) Critics have argued that Apple without Jobs is not Apple.
I am one of those Apple fans that is waiting to see what they will unveil for the rest of the year. A cheaper iPhone; new versions of the iPad(s), an iWatch, an iTV - or as Monty Python frequently said - something completely different. Under Ballmer's leadership the arrogance of Bill Gates turned sorry - a malignant manifestation of the gang that could not shoot straight. From my view Tim Cook, the current CEO of Apple has a lot more going for him than Ballmer ever did. But beginning on September 10, we will see whether the press lives up to the reality. In Ballmer's time, it never did.