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Scott Forstall: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice at Apple


Admittedly, what comes to mind when I think of Apple is the former head honcho, Steve Jobs.  But then again, who doesn’t?  As creative and innovative as Jobs was, there are many powerful brains that contribute to the success that Apple has had over the years.  Perhaps one of the most noteworthy contributors is Scott Forstall: Senior Vice President, iOS Software.

Before joining Apple, the Stanford grad worked at an American computer company called NeXT, Inc. where he developed core technologies.  In 1997, Forstall joined the Apple team when Apple purchased NeXT.  Today, Scott Forstall is the Senior Vice President of iPhone software at Apple.  Bloomberg Businessweek, in an article published in October 2011, named Forstall as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice at Apple.  Undoubtedly, Forstall has transitioned from once being a behind the scenes computer science genius to a much more visible member of Apple’s leadership team, particularly after the death of CEO Steve Jobs.  Not only is Forstall responsible for Apple’s mobile software division, which accounts for 70% of Apple’s revenues, but he is also the youngest senior executive at Apple.  Pretty remarkable, don’t you think?

Fast Company certainly seemed to agree, as they listed Scott Forstall as number two on their 2011 list of “The 100 most creative people in business.” In today’s world, Apple is known for their cutting edge innovations.  The company’s slogan, “think different” certainly describes the business model well.  Without a doubt, Apple’s success can be attributed to the company’s ability to innovate products that are not demanded by consumers.  This is not saying that these consumers don’t want Apple’s technologies, but rather that they don’t know they want them…yet.  According to an Outside Innovation article, Jonathan Seybold praises both Apple’s ability to look at where technology is going and the ability to innovate a new product that is not only better than an existing product, but one that is much different.  Not to mention, Apple is always a step or two ahead of the competition.

Over the past few weeks we’ve spoken a lot about the stakeholder theory and what responsibility a company has to its stakeholders.  It’s clear Apple’s identifies its stakeholders as Edward Freeman believes a company should.  Freeman believes that business must figure out how to create value for their customers, rather than solely focus on maximizing profits.  Apple operates by constantly innovating and creating value for their customers.  Although customers cannot imagine all of the new possibilities of products, Apple nevertheless spends each day finding ways to make their existing products better.  Steve Jobs once said, “we put ourselves in the customer’s shoes and ask: What do we want?”

Undoubtedly, Apple has created a powerful brand by never being complacent and always working to improve their existing products.  By putting themselves in the customer’s shoes, Apple has innovated products consumers never even imagined they could want.  Companies who struggle to create value should look up to Apple.  While not everyone on the Apple team can be recognized for their pivotal role in value creation, I’m very pleased that Scott Forstall had the opportunity to gain recognition for all of his hard work and dedication to the company.

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Discussion

4 thoughts on “Scott Forstall: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice at Apple

  1. The non grammatical nature of their logo grates me. Think differently.

    Anyway, can you comment on this part of the prompt?

    “What about their story speaks to you in the context of BGS themes and topics?” Is it the sustainability reference? Why is innovation not a sustainable strategy?

    Posted by Jordi | February 21, 2012, 6:13 pm
  2. I think Apple is a business that other businesses should look up to. As noted in my edited blog post, I believe that Apple’s beliefs as a company align well with Freeman’s stakeholder theory. Part of what makes Apple such a successful company is the value they create for their customers. Instead of focusing on the bottom line, Apple sets extremely high standards for itself — value creation is at the core of Apple’s business strategy.

    Posted by Jenna | February 21, 2012, 10:29 pm
  3. Apple is by far one of the most popular companies, as I just harped on in my comment to Ben’s post. It seems that the sky is the limit for them. Who knows what features the iPhone 5 or iPad 3 will have, or for that matter what the iPhone 8 will be able to do. With a market capitalization (# of shares outstanding*share price) approaching the $500 billion mark, Apple is on top of the world. How are they able to accomplish such a feat? Apple’s employees and innovation make it special, particularly people like Scott Forstall. I’m anxious to see how Apple finishes out the year as they have been hovering the $500 per share mark over the past few days. The last time this happened to IBM they tanked. I have a feeling Apple will not succumb to this sort of outcome….

    Posted by Patrick | February 21, 2012, 11:25 pm
  4. I’ve been supremely impressed with Apple and their products over the last decade or so. Look around you – invariably one of the people that you see near you has an iPhone. Or an iPod. Or an Mac laptop. It’s remarkable. I also recently heard that Apple has beaten analysts’ predictions (in terms of stock price) for a significant number of consecutive periods. Even with the death of one of the most influential CEOs in America’s history, Apple has defied expectations in the post – Jobs era. My passion lies in technology and gadgets, and I have always been a Windows user. After getting an iPhone, and playing with my family’s iPad, I have become more weary of my Windows PC and have considered getting a Mac after graduation. This is a big step for me, and I think it says something about the way Apple has innovated their products in such an effective way. When you buy an Apple product…you just trust it.

    Posted by Ben K. | February 22, 2012, 3:23 pm

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