KARL MOORE – This is Karl Moore of the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University, Talking Management for The Globe and Mail. Today I am delighted to speak to David Teece who is a senior professor at the Haas Business School University of California, Berkeley.
Good afternoon, David.
DAVID TEECE – Good afternoon, Karl.
KARL MOORE – When we look at dynamic capabilities and competencies, you have had a ringside seat looking at Apple and its ups and downs over the years, what have you learned from Apple about competitive abilities?
DAVID TEECE – First of all, as Steve Jobs himself was so clear to state, it’s not just what you do but it’s what you don’t do. When he came back to Apple you remember a lot of what he did was to prioritize because he had a view and a vision for how the market was going to run forward which is something you can only have if you live in that market, you feel that market and you understand the economic technological business trends that are shaping the world we live in. So he understood it and he got Apple focused, and then combine that with his passion for great products and the ability to sort of harness the technology of the world to make great products – it was the coupling of the two that really made Apple go in my view. Then the brilliance of designing an ecosystem and coming up, not just with a product, which was the iPad and the iPhone, but the iTunes store and related complements that created a friendly and workable ecosystem. Microsoft never figured that out, and no one has done it as well as Apple and that’s part of the brilliance of Steve Jobs.
KARL MOORE – The question is can it continue to have that kind of success not only under Tim Cook but the whole organization? Do you think that Steve managed to put that in the DNA of Apple?
DAVID TEECE – That is a deep question and I believe it is in the DNA of Apple, and he put it in there both directly, he did put some emphasis on teaching the Apple way, but probably a lot of it was indirect – namely this was the way that he did things. People I think have gotten, over time, a deep appreciation for how things worked under Steve and he certainly has got some products for Apple with long runways ahead of them – I am thinking about the iPhone, the iPad and the tablet market in general. So, they are good for a decade but whether they are good for two is yet to be seen but I do think that there is a lot of Steve that remains even though he is gone and Tim Cook certainly understands what Steve did. I don’t think he could ever replicate what Steve did but he may not have to for Apple to be successful for several decades ahead.