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Year After Jobs' Death, How High Can Apple Fly?

Publication Date: 
October 04, 2012
USA Today
Jon Swartz


Professor Mark Lemley and Rock Center Fellow Vivek Wadhwa spoke with USA Today's Jon Swartz about the state of Apple one year after former CEO Steve Jobs' death and what lies ahead for the company. 

Imagine Tom Brady leaving the New England Patriots and the team putting together, by some measures, its best season ever the following year.

That's what Apple has done in the year since Steve Jobs died Oct. 5, 2011. The company he co-founded, was banished from and ultimately saved has been on a magic carpet ride of outsized market value, revenue and sales projections. Much of the success goes to Jobs, who put his beloved creation on the path to glory, and whose fingerprints are all over its current and future plans.


But without Jobs to look over Apple, how long can the magic ride last, asks Vivek Wadhwa, vice president of academics and innovation at Singularity University. The Silicon Valley company faces growing competition from the likes of Google, Amazon and Samsung in the fast-paced tech market.


"Where is the magic? Where are all the great advances that we were promised?" says Wadhwa.


Today, it has a highly profitable business model to defend against Google, Amazon and Samsung — whom it sued for patent infringement. That case had more to do with protecting market turf than transformative innovation, says Stanford University law professor Mark Lemley.

"Young and creative businesses don't usually file patent lawsuits — older, mature businesses do to hold onto their turf," Lemley says. "It's the second-best choice on how to grow."