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John Fahy is the Professor of Marketing in the University of Limerick and Adjunct Professor of Marketing at the University of Adelaide. He is an award winning author and speaker on marketing issues around the world.

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Who Will Be the Next Star?

It has been a bad few weeks for Apple. Despite being launched in September with a similar level of razzmatazz as its predecessors, the iPhone 5 has received many underwhelming reviews and its faulty Maps app has been one of the company’s first major fiascos. That said, its market performance continues to be unrivalled. Its share price is up three quarters year-on-year and it is now the largest company by market capitalisation that there has ever been. But if history is anything to go by its days in the spotlight are numbered.



Apple has now largely gone through the kind of scrutiny that many other firms have had in the past. It has been held up as a corporate mould breaker. Countless feature articles and leaders have been written on it and it has been discussed, dissected and diagnosed in the media and management training rooms around the world. Analysts have hung on every word of its former leader, Steve Jobs and when his biography was published in 2011, it immediately shot to the top of the best-seller lists despite (or maybe because of) its 656 pages in length. Has all of this happened before? Sure, many times.


Remember Microsoft, the company that nearly decimated Apple in the 1990s and its founder Bill Gates. They too were once ubiquitous in the media and management consulting rooms as businesspeople and scholars tried to learn the lessons of their unprecedented successes. Or what about Dell – a company whose share price trajectory in the 1990s would easily rival Apple’s today? Before them in the 1980s, telling it straight from the gut and answering business’ toughest questions was Jack Welch, CEO of General Electric who went on to become Fortune magazine’s ‘manager of the century’, no less. Those with longer memories will recall IBM’s heyday in the 1970s when Big Blue was the firm that was held up as the corporate shining light. Go back even further still and the most feted company in the world was General Motors and the memoirs of its chief executive, Alfred Sloan Jr. influenced a generation of management leaders and thinkers.


Is it time to stop analysing Apple? It probably is. All these mould breaking firms and corporate leaders have had much to teach us at particular points in time. Once those lessons are absorbed, the competitive climate throws up new challenges and it is time to look to the new innovators. So who is going to be the next star?

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