The Missing Seat on Apple’s Board

Apple reported rocky financial results and a disappointing forecast this week, sending shares falling. And there are other reasons to worry. The company had been plowing away on a bold new cable-killer TV service. But all we’ve seen is an updated Apple TV box and yesterday a new TV listings app. Meanwhile, the car project seems to be in perpetual reboot.

The setbacks got me thinking about the type of company Apple is right now. I agree with what I’m hearing from the company’s inner ranks: Apple has become more an operations and sales company than a product company. The company makes or breaks a quarter based on how well it ramps up old products in new markets, not introduce important new ones. Case in point: One reason Apple stumbled last quarter is it overestimated iPhone upgrade cycles in China.

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Apple’s most senior product leaders, like Craig Federighi and Dan Riccio, excel at shipping the next iPhone or Mac on schedule. Developing new products? Not their strong suit.