When I heard the news about the passing of Steve Jobs, I was saddened. Much has been said of this great man, but losing someone of this stature and ability will be difficult — if not impossible — to replace. He truly was one of a kind and should go down as one of the greatest innovators and businessman of all time.
I remember first extolling the virtues of Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) in 2007. Here was a company that stood out for its ability to move forward in a very unique way. At the time, shares of Apple traded for less than $100 per share, iPhones were in their infancy and tablet computers were the stuff of science fiction. It is easy today to be bullish on Apple, but that was not the case in 2007. Clearly, things changed for the better.
But when I observe today’s landscape, I’m struck by something that has bothered me since the collapse of the dot-com bubble. Specifically, we seem to be lacking with respect to innovation and risk-taking. The entrepreneurial spirit has been replaced by a much more conservative approach that has left us with one of the weakest recoveries coming out of a recession.
Survey the rest of the market landscape and you will have a hard time finding a company as successful as Apple under Steve Jobs. During the past few years we’ve seen few big-name tech businesses step up, innovate, grow and create jobs. And with a lack of vision, the sector could continue to be in trouble.
Here are three technology companies that could use some of Steve Jobs’ innovative mojo:
It used to be that buying a personal computer meant doing so with Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) inside. So much so that the company made the concept — “Intel inside” — the slogan for its primary campaign to market its microchip processors. Intel was the king of the tech innards heap, making computers faster, smaller and more efficient. The innovations from Intel were fast and furious.
If you think about it, though, Intel’s innovations have yet to connect with the mass market in the same way that Apple has done. While Intel’s semiconductors are impressive, much of the power and capability of its chips are underused. The personal computer has more horsepower than many consumers need. That is a problem that vision could correct.
Jobs kept it simple. He harnessed the power of computing devices and kept them focused on things that people used on a regular basis. Intel’s chips can do calculations at rapid speed, but aside from a small segment of the population, most don’t have any use for what an Intel chip can really do.
It is not enough to develop a chip that keeps breaking the speed and processing barrier. Figure out a way to put that processing power to work in a way that truly improves the lives of the masses. Do that, and growth will return in a major way.