By Paul Turner author of Insanely Doomed: Why Apple Will Crash Without Steve Jobs
Six months ago, I published a short e-book called 'Insanely Doomed: Why Apple Will Crash Without Steve Jobs'. The timing turned out to about as smart as the maps app on the iPhone 5 - and seemingly as accurate as well. Apple stock just kept going up and up, as the company became not just the most valuable business in the world, but the most valuable of all time.
Then again, there is something to be said for being right before the event - rather than right after it. The book was too early in its prediction, but not by very much.
In the last month, Apple's stock has taken a battering. The share hit an all time high of $705 after the latest iPhone was launched. Since then it has fallen by 20%. That officially puts the stock in bear market territory. In seven weeks, $130 billion has been wiped off the company's value - that's more than the GDP of Thailand.
True, share prices go up and down all the time. Apple, its defenders argue, was pushed up to crazy heights by speculators in the summer. It is now just coming down to more realistic levels.
And yet there are worrying signs that something more is going on. For the first nine moths after the death of its founder Steve Jobs, the managers were coasting on his legacy. The decisions they have taken on their own don't look so smart. The iPhone 5 was underwhelming. The maps fiasco was a disaster. The iPad Mini looks like a copycat product - competent but hardly original. The legal battle with Samsung made it look mean-spirited. Most seriously of all, Google's Android operating system is making massive strides in smart-phones and tablets. Just as it did in the PC wars of the 1980s between Apple and Microsoft, Apple's insistence on closed systems looks to be a short-term winner - but a long-term loser.
Very few companies manage to survive the passing of such a forceful guiding spirit as Jobs. Those that manage to - Ford, for example, or Boeing - have typically created a system of production and a technological lead so strong that it can endure for decades. Jobs created a fabulous brand. But the reality is that not many brands outlive their founder, and Apple isn't likely to be one of the. The stock market is just starting to wake up to that.
Paul Turner is the author of Insanely Doomed: Why Apple Will Crash Without Steve Jobs.