Is Apple’s Time on Top Coming to an End?

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) still has “brilliant people” and “amazing new products,” but the company has hit its peak and has nowhere to go but downhill, according to a former employee. Dan Crow, a former engineer manager at Apple and also a past employee of Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), wrote in an opinion column in The Guardian on Wednesday that several changes in the company after the death of co-founder Steve Jobs as well as its recent “missteps” have led him to believe that the best was over.

“I think Apple has peaked and the story of the next few years will be one of a slow but real decline,” Crow wrote. “There are a number of signs. The most visible recent one is the Maps debacle. Replacing Google Maps with an obviously inferior experience shows how much Apple has changed. Apple’s success had been all about offering users the best possible experience; suddenly it is willing to give users a clearly worse experience to further its corporate interests — in this case its long-running dispute with Google. We might expect this sort of behavior from Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), but we don’t expect it from Apple.”

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Crow added that he believed there were signs of a “creative slowdown” at the company and cited the example of the launch of the fourth-generation iPad, which came just over six months after the third-generation iPad. “[iPad 4] doesn’t improve substantially over the previous version, yet has managed to annoy users who just bought an iPad 3,” Crow wrote. “This insipid update is not the sort of magical product launch on which Apple has built its reputation.”

Crow added that Apple was built in Jobs’ image and with him gone, it was suffering from “serious structural faults.” He also pointed to what he felt were recent dents to the company’s public perception. Although Crow said he did not believe the company was likely to go the way of Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) or Nokia (NYSE:NOK), he wrote that “the pace will slacken and … it will not return to the levels of execution and brilliance we saw in the first decade of this millennium.”

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