Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is in a great retraction, and naysayers are celebrating. But to my surprise, fellow Fool G. A. Chester’s recent article 3 Things to Loathe About Apple wasn’t really about Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) or its products per se, but more what people say about Apple. The things he criticized about the company hardly seem to merit outright loathing.
Chester jumps on the fact that many Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) supporters, led by its CEO Tim Cook, like to say that “Innovation is in the company’s DNA.” Chester writes:
It’s a comforting idea for fans of Apple to believe that innovation is hard-wired into the business and that it will always continue to innovate, as if that’s its biological destiny.
The idea is rubbish, of course…
Rubbish? Well, no. This is a metaphor, and I have not seen anyone try to indicate that it is anything more than that. Chester continues: “Nurture, not nature is responsible for innovation.”
This is just what Mr. Cook is saying. It is precisely the 30-plus years of nurturing that has produced a company in which the cultivation of the innovative spirit has been so essential, so ingrained into the corporate culture, that it is as if it were in the DNA of the company. No one pretends otherwise.
Chester goes on to compare Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) to onetime giant British company ICI: “Innovation was in ICI’s DNA — except one day it wasn’t, and the business went into decline.”
This is, of course, true. It did fall, until it was eventually broken into pieces and gobbled up by other enterprises. But one example doesn’t spell out an inevitable fate for all companies. And even if it is inevitable, that doesn’t mean this destiny will happen to Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) anytime soon.
Loss of Steve Jobs
It seems to me that some people think that everything at Apple was done by Steve Jobs all by himself. Clearly Jobs was one of the most gifted corporate leaders of our time, but still he depended on many others collaborating to produce what he called “insanely great” products. Most of these people are still at Apple.
Chester is right in one thing: We need to wait to see whether Apple can continue to innovate or not. But if Apple can’t innovate without Steve Jobs, how can any other company innovate, either?
Even if the argument is correct, I still see no reason in it to loathe Apple.
Complaining that the “City experts” [i.e. Wall Street analysts] still rate Apple highly, Chester states, “I prefer to see the market and the analysts bearish on a company before rating the stock a possible ‘darkest-hour’ contrarian opportunity.”