Particle Debris (wk. ending 3/4) Delusions and Disruption

How does a last century technology deal with a major disruption? By making incremental changes, hoping that the disruption can be managed? Or not be as bad as feared? If we’ve learned anything from modern technology, we’ve learned that major disruptions must be met with a major change. Regrettably, many companies don’t have the cash reserves to totally remake themselves. So they slowly die away while new competitors build a new business from scratch. Along these lines, take a look at: “Memo to Newspapers: Incremental Change is Not Helping.

I’ve been telling people who want to interview me that while Steve Jobs is an irreplaceable national treasure, Apple can carry on without him based on the talent they have. It’ll just take a lot of teamwork. It warmed the cockles of my heart when I saw this story about another former Apple exec who has said the same thing: “Only A Troika Could Replace Steve Jobs.

And teamwork really is the key. If any one person on the current executive team or the new CEO thinks he can replace Mr. Jobs in every way, Apple is going to have a problem. My theory is that a lot of humility and grace will be required for Tim Cook, the front runner CEO replacement, to stay behind the scenes, do what he does best, and let other people be the public face of Apple. If they can all get along and aggregate their strengths instead of fighting for control, Apple will prosper for years if/when Mr. Jobs retires.  That could be along ways away, based on what we saw at the iPad 2 unveiling.

Horace Dediu continues to be critical of Nokia — and with good reason. This time around, Mr. Dediu questions Nokia’s irrational faith in its brand and its hardware and the company’s belief that customers, largely uninformed, will continues to remain blindly loyal. He lays out his case in one of those article titles that suggests a stand by a company, but doesn’t really quote them: “Nokia: We depend on uninformed customers, deception preserves brand value and uncompetitive software will keep us competitive.

When you think of Al-Qa’eda, you usually think of guys in the mountains with beards and AK-47’s. But what if they developed some software expertise? These days, you can acquire all kinds of malware “kits” that you can custom tailor to your needs, in this case, DDoS attack. Scary stuff.

I wouldn’t normally link to an article like this, except that the tone of the article, expressing current realities, is more important than the technical content. A significant shift in corporate culture is revealed here, namely that modern IT managers aren’t being as successful in dictating what employees must do. I attribue that to the fact that we’ve expanded our technology beyond desktop PCs and into smartphones, netbooks and tablets. Employees are going to use these things come hell or high water, and IT managers have had to get on board. That, in turn, has opened the door to Macs. That’s what I found between the lines at: “Macs in a PC world: Integrating Apple into the workplace.”

We know that Rob Enderle has been a consultant deep into PC and Microsoft technologies. For a long time, the dominance of Microsoft in the enterprise and its overwhelming market share allowed him to be confident in his advice to clients. That, in turn, put blinders on him that, to be polite, amused the Apple community. Now, the iPad has shown the Windows market for what it really is, a creaky remnant of the 20th century. The integration of the hardware, OS, and apps is something Steve Jobs points out is fundamental to the new wave of tablets. And so, it was startling to see that Mr. Enderle now understands, to some extent, the change sin the market place. Go ahead, have some fun. “Can anyone challenge the iPad 2?

Not many people recall that Bob Cringely, before he changed his name, and before he wrote for Infoworld, was an Apple employee for a time. He was involved in the user interface (UI) design of Apple’s Lisa. So when I read his story this week, “Fear of flying — Why the iPad 2 isn’t even better,” I wondered about his comments that there’s something amiss with the iPad implementation of cut and paste. Consider this staggering thought. What if there were a fabulous, previously nerver-before-thought-of idea for cut/copy/paste on the iPad that would put it on even ground with the ease we take for granted on the MacBook Air? Bob leads up to the idea that there’s something missing on the iPad, but he didn’t provide details. After I contacted him, he told me about it privately. And it’s good. Really good. But it was a private communication, so we’ll just have to hope Bob has Scott Forstall’s e-mail address. Maybe we’ll see it some day in iOS.

Finally, one of the things I like about Horace Didiu is that he loves to do research, collect information, and then provide illuminating analysis. Just as he cataloged the debris left over from Microsoft partnering with various companies, here’s his catalog of the initial reactions to the Apple iPad. This one is required viewing for my loyal readers: “Flummoxed, again.” It just goes to show us why none of those writers are current candidates to replace Steve Jobs as CEO of Apple in the future.