Haunted Empire (book cover 001)Reporter Yukari Iwatani Kane had enjoyed unparalleled access to Apple in her five-year tenure at The Wall Street Journal, during which time she published numerous scoops like the 2009 story about Steve Jobs’s secret liver transplant.

She recently penned a new book on Apple that’s coming out on March 18. Titled ‘Haunted Empire, Apple After Steve Jobs,’ it offers a scathing look at post-Jobs Apple and, in the author’s view, the gloomy prospect the company is facing under Tim Cook’s leadership…

Described as “hard-hitting yet fair”, the book promise to reveal the perils and opportunities Apple faces after losing its visionary leader.

Based on more than 200 interviews with current and former executives, business partners, Apple watchers and others, “with nuanced insights and colorful details that only a seasoned journalist could glean”, the book gives a brutal takedown of Apple under the Tim Cook regime.

From the blurb:

Former Wall Street Journal technology reporter Yukari Iwatani Kane delves deep inside Apple in the two years since Steve Jobs’s death, revealing the tensions and challenges CEO Tim Cook and his team face as they try to sustain Jobs’s vision and keep the company moving forward.

Steve Jobs’s death raised one of the most pressing questions in the tech and business worlds: Could Apple stay great without its iconic leader? Many inside the company were eager to prove that Apple could be just as innovative as it had been under Jobs.

Others were painfully aware of the immense challenge ahead. As its business has become more complex and global, Apple has been subject to intense scrutiny, much of it critical. Maintaining market leadership is crucial as it tries to conquer new frontiers and satisfy the public’s insatiable appetite for “insanely great” products.

Haunted Empire is due March 18 from HarperCollins.

You can pre-order it on Amazon and iBookstore now.

Scathing?

Well, after leaving WSJ she quickly turned into one of Apple’s staunchest critics.

Look no further than her recent article in New Yorker.

Titled ‘Why is Apple being so nostalgic?,’ the write-up slams Apple’s 30th Mac anniversary video calling it a defensive move of the once great company which has now assumedly lost its touch.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJahlKPCL9g

It’s a celebratory video commemorating the Mac’s 30-year history, for Christ’s sake!

“The thirtieth anniversary of the Macintosh—and the “1984” ad—is not just commemorative, it’s a reminder of what Apple has stopped being,” she writes.

“Maybe it was for the best that Apple didn’t air a commemorative ad during the Super Bowl. A nostalgic, backward-looking ad couldn’t come anywhere close to “1984,” which challenged the status quo and started a religion”.

Here’s an excerpt:

When Jobs was ousted in 1985, the impact of his absence on Apple’s business was not immediately obvious. After a slow start, Macintosh sales began rising. Two years after Jobs left, Apple’s annual sales had almost doubled compared to three years earlier, and its gross profit margin was an astonishing fifty-one per cent. Outside appearances suggested that Apple hadn’t missed a beat.

Inside Apple, employees knew differently. Something had changed. “I was let down when Steve left,” Steve Scheier, a marketing manager at Apple from 1982 to 1991, recalled. “The middle managers, the directors, and the vice presidents kept the spirit alive for a long time without his infusion, but eventually you start hiring people you shouldn’t hire. You start making mistakes you shouldn’t have made.” Scheier told me that he eventually grew tired and left. The company had “become more of a business and less of a crusade.”

So what about now? Apple’s supporters point to the company’s billions of dollars in quarterly profit and its tens of billions in revenue as proof that it continues to thrive. But Apple’s employees again know differently, despite the executive team’s best efforts to preserve Jobs’s legacy. People who shouldn’t be hired are being hired (like Apple’s former retail chief, John Browett, who tried to incorporate big-box-retailer sensibilities into Apple’s refined store experience). People who shouldn’t leave are leaving, or, in the case of the mobile-software executive Scott Forstall, being fired.

Mistakes, in turn, are being made: Apple Maps was a fiasco, and ads, like the company’s short-lived Genius ads and last summer’s self-absorbed manifesto ad, have been mediocre. Apple’s latest version of its mobile operating system, iOS 7, looks pretty but is full of bugs and flaws. As for innovation, the last time Apple created something that was truly great was the original iPad, when Jobs was still alive.

Although the company’s C.E.O., Tim Cook, insists otherwise, Apple seems more eager to talk about the past than about the future. Even when it refers to the future, it is more intent on showing consumers how it hasn’t changed rather than how it is evolving. The thirtieth anniversary of the Macintosh—and the “1984” ad—is not just commemorative. It is a reminder of what Apple has stopped being.

So let me get this straight: Apple Maps was a fiasco solely attributed to Scott Forstall, but he shouldn’t have been fired over it?

Don’t get me wrong, Kane is clearly a seasoned Apple reporter.

That being said, however, I don’t think she’s being fair to the company she used to follow for years. To me, the timing of her highly critical post at New Yorker just coincides too much with the upcoming book release not to be treated as a publicity stunt.

Apple is making mistakes?

Yes, mistakes are being made along the way but wasn’t it like this forever?

The cube Mac, anyone?

Apple Mac Cube (image 001)

Yes, talented engineers come and go, but it’s been like this since Apple’s inception. And while Apple’s ads lately indicate that the company is getting back to its advertising roots, that’s for the better, not worse.

Apple has lost its innovation?

Puh-lease, that meme has run its course.

If innovation were a matter of resources, Microsoft would not be in trouble now, HTC would be a major handset player and Nokia would not have gambled its future away.

Apple likes to say that innovation takes time and that it’s just as proud of the products it hasn’t done as the ones it’s done. That the last truly innovation from Apple was the iPad four years ago tells us exactly what about Apple’s creativity?

Funny how nobody complained when Apple hadn’t innovated for six full years between the 2001 iPod release and the 2007 iPhone introduction.

Apple ad (Mac anniversary, 1.24.14, image 003)

Look, Tim Cook and the rest of the leadership team have years worth of stuff in the pipeline. Just because Apple doesn’t come up with one revolutionary product after another every single year doesn’t mean it’s lost its mojo.

iMac, iPod, iPad, iPhone, iTunes, App Store, MacBook Air, Mac Pro – these are all innovative products that have gone wildly popular. And to haters, I say: name just one company that has done as many innovative products over the past decade or so.

  • Kurt

    Cook is a better CEO and will continue to do well

  • Jason Baroni

    I will say it again: revolution takes time. Tim Cook has been an amazing CEO for the company. You don’t see new products worse than the previous ones.

    iOS 7 is beautiful and buggy, ok, but the team had to work on less then a year to rush and launch something different. The whole system was redesigned and Apple just gave what we need for years.

    Other companies rush to put things on the Market but the result is most of the time products with low quality or high quality with trade offs.
    Give Tim Cook and the team a break for them to work on what matters!

  • Jeffrey Feuerstein

    i love apple with all my heart but this article has kinda opened my eyes, i do think that within 5-10 years apple will follow Microsoft and Nokia, meaning it will still be a big company but not as big as they were… without steve the company will be ran different, no 2 persons are the same so tim will make different choices which will shrink the company… however i do think that they will keep innovate and produce as much products as they do now, i also do think that less and less people will buy them and that it will leave apple with 20% of its current customers in 5-10 years.

    • Carlos Gomes

      This sounds ridiculous. How can you claim to know what Tim Cook will do? Not only that, you also claim to know the unknown consequences of unknown decisions.

      Clam your tits, Bertha.

      • Jeffrey Feuerstein

        im saying that 2 persons cant possibly make the same decisions, thats a fact because every person is diffrent. also i do not claim to know the consequences, i THINK that it will be the consequenses. so calm your own tits:/

  • Maxim∑

    ” Apple’s latest version of its mobile operating system, iOS 7, looks pretty but is full of bugs and flaws. As for innovation, the last time Apple created something that was truly great was the original iPad, when Jobs was still alive.”

    I was interested until I read that

    • Jason Baroni

      Their knowledge is feed by big names; they just want new product categories that give Apple even more money. That is innovative for them.

    • Neal George Caffrey

      A biometric sensor is not an innovation. The first iPhone was an innovation. The iPad was an innovation. Nor are their laptops innovative.

      Jobs was a perfectionist and when he ran Apple, at least I, personally, never had a problem with my software and only once did I actually have a problem with my phone. It’s weird than I’ve been having problems since he’s been gone, though. Plus, let’s be real. How is iOS 7 innovative? it’s a damn skin!

      I’m not blaming them; hell, with all the different incentives we get nowadays it’s hard to create something jaw-dropping. I just find it annoying when people say that Apple is still an innovative company. They just know what buttons to push and their marketing strategy (the one Jobs left them) is what keeps them where they’re at. The iPhone, as a phone, if you compare it to other devices, is mediocre. And I’m not talking about it as a gadget; that one is a different tale.

      • felixtaf

        What is innovation then?

      • Why is iPad innovative? It’s just a bigger iPod touch with happens to be successful.

        What really innovative these years are Macs. No one else can make their notebooks with so much performance, battery life, yet so thin. Not to mention Mac Pro.

        Underneath the new skin of iOS 7, there is built-in system-wide physics engine, powerful new typography engine. There is enhanced auto layout in Xcode 5 and SpriteKit. Even if there is no interface change, iOS 7 would be just as big update as it is now.

      • Neal George Caffrey

        Please. Don’t start me on their laptops. I have a MBP mid 2012 and I updated to Mavericks and the thing has been slow as hell forcing me to clean my RAM 12 times a day. No, it should not happen and no, I should NOT have to buy new RAM when my hardware is THAT new. I’ve also been having problems with the battery, even though the laptop is 1 year old. “Service battery” comes and goes, even though I’ve taken good care of the battery.

        Innovation my arse. Performance and battery life? Where are they? All I got is an OK laptop for what I paid. Nothing extraordinary.

  • Laszlo Gaspar

    Scott shouldnt have been fired

    • static66

      This is also my feeling, he was with Steve since Next and had the most to do with: NextSTep > OSx > iOS of any of the senior leadership employees left at Apple. Is it any wonder Mavericks and iOS 7 have received so much backlash? Ive should stick to hardware.

      The lack of leadership displayed by Cook in his failure to make the team play nice without ousting Scott is disturbing, coupled with the disasterous Browett hiring, I’d say there is trouble brewing in Cupertino. There is also his inability to reign in wall street, Steve never march lock-step with wall street, Cook seems to be trying to.

  • Nirvana

    Maps was a fiasco, and speaking of iOS 7, it’s more of a rush compared to the Maps, what Tim Cook has been doing is great enough, he just needs time to truly bring sth revolutionary to light though he’s not a kind of CEO who pursue perfection. There must be a reason why Jobs picked him as the next in line.

    • neogeo71

      If all iOS was is a skin, then jailbreakers could easily go back to iOS6 look with a theme, the cannot as iOS7 is a radical reworking of the OS. Look at iOS6 now, it looks dated and old. IOS7 is actually very nice, I take to task somn e of the icons but I like the look and feel of the OS.
      Of course the company will never be the same, but Jobs told Cook to do what is right, not what Jobs would necessarily do.
      Give them a chance to move on, bearing up on Apple is old now.

      • neogeo71

        This new book is a hit piece. Read the recent book on Jony Ive. Jobs best decision was realizing the talent he had in Ive. If you read that book and it is true, Apple and it’s ideas are in good hands under Jony’s care…

  • Steve Jobs

    “Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.”

  • Climor

    True, Apple continues to maintain its high-priced name and high-class products, but you must admit; things have changed. I read in this very blog of Apple’s intentions for future products and designs and I weep for the company I know and love. I weep for the company who led the market through brilliant, game-changing ideas, and now stands behind flawed ideas that were influenced by other companies. Apple is losing its extremely unique and precious values lately, and I really don’t like it.
    All I can do is hope that this year we’d see Apple at it’s finest; classy, brilliant and amazingly great.

  • Chuck Finley

    Jesus Christ this article is such a knee-jerk fanboy reaction to criticism of Apple it’s actually unfunny, it’s like you’re trying to be a stereotype.

    Are you going to at least buy Apple dinner before you start blowing them?

    • Jakub Žitný

      Exactly the opposite! This article is about not being the knee-jerk fanboy of Steve Jobs.

  • whatsa2

    It is sad that people feel the need to defend apples utopian view of itself.
    A closed market and platform will always have shortcoming.
    This is what Apple fanboys refuse to acknowledge.
    only to discard the valid assessment.
    Their point of view is about as valid as
    a christian saying something is unchristian… and the false implication that it is automatically bad.