Former Apple whizkid and founder of Electronic Arts (EA) Trip Hawkins believes that Apple has reached its peak and is bound to decline when CEO Steve Jobs is no longer with the company.
Now CEO of Digital Chocolate Hawkins worked as director of strategy and marketing for Apple in the 1980s. He spoke to Edge about his working relationship with Jobs and its inevitable decline.
“It’s very close to peaking right now. If you look at any institution in history – look at the Roman Empire – anything in history, and what it looks like when it’s peaking. Look at Apple, and how can you say it’s not peaking?” said Hawkins in the interview.
“All these things are about as good as they ever can be – how much better can it really get?
“The thing is, it may take another year or two before it starts to decline, but it has to – everything does.
“Everything revolves so much around Steve, and no matter how good his lieutenants are, they’re not Steve. None of us is going to live forever, though I hope he lives for a really long time.”
Hawkins looked back at his time working with Jobs at Apple, and has a unique view of the man respected and worshipped by so many.
“I honestly believe that Steve is the greatest CEO in history, because I know what he went through at Pixar. It’s such a remarkable transformation, and at the same time he’s rescuing Apple and everybody else thought it was dead.”
“Steve is very operatic – there are a lot of psycho-fans surrounding him, and a lot of people that want to work at Apple because they want to be part of it. The irony is that they’re like the audience in 1984. They want to be close to the power and associated with the success, but many of them refuse to challenge Steve, because you’ll just get your head cut off if you do that.”
“I had a very twisted relationship with Steve because I challenged him all the time. On one hand he needed that and he knew he needed it, but on the other hand he hated it and he didn’t want to see me get promoted because he didn’t want me to have any political power.
“He’s a very difficult guy to be friends with, and he thinks of anyone who leaves as an act of permanent betrayal. You’re on the shit list for life.”