A while ago I started buying some shares in GOOG, AMZN and EBAY as they declined heavily. Those trades have worked out well (so far) and I feel good about owning companies that I believe still have a lot to gain from the secular move online (in the case of EBAY not so much from the core business as from Skype and PayPal). I have not been buying AAPL, despite the fact that I am about to switch from my trusted old Panasonic — which Chris (Fralic) yesterday incredulously recognized as being the same machine I had during our del.icio.us days — to a MacBook (more on that as I make the switch). I have two reasons for not buying AAPL. First is that I am concerned that the company will lose its way should Steve Jobs not be able to guide it. Much more than with the other companies I feel that the success is tied up with the singular
Image via CrunchBasevision of an individual. Now this is likely to be in no small part an image that Jobs has cultivated and clearly others have done the work, but it still looms large as a concern. My second reason is that I don’t feel entirely comfortable with the degree of control over the consumer experience that Apple chooses to exercise. I understand that it is part of how the magic of simplicity is achieved, but my fear is that eventually it will be pushed too far and more open alternatives will win out. Of course both of these are reasons that are informed by historic precedent. In essence this is what happened the first time round that Apple went without Jobs. The company stopped innovating just at a time when more open alternatives were beginning to get traction. So what I am fearing here is history repeating itself (which judging from the financial markets otherwise it has an awful tendency to do).