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Haunted Empire: Apple After Steve Jobs

Overview

Former Wall Street Journal technology reporter Yukari Iwatani Kane delves deep inside Apple in the two years since Steve Jobs’s death, revealing the tensions and challenges CEO Tim Cook and his team face as they try to sustain Jobs’s vision and keep the company moving forward.

Steve Jobs's death raised one of the most pressing questions in the tech and business worlds: Could Apple stay great without its iconic leader? Many inside the company were eager to prove that Apple could ...

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Haunted Empire: Apple After Steve Jobs

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Overview

Former Wall Street Journal technology reporter Yukari Iwatani Kane delves deep inside Apple in the two years since Steve Jobs’s death, revealing the tensions and challenges CEO Tim Cook and his team face as they try to sustain Jobs’s vision and keep the company moving forward.

Steve Jobs's death raised one of the most pressing questions in the tech and business worlds: Could Apple stay great without its iconic leader? Many inside the company were eager to prove that Apple could be just as innovative as it had been under Jobs. Others were painfully aware of the immense challenge ahead. As its business has become more complex and global, Apple has come under intense scrutiny, much of it critical. Maintaining market leadership has become crucial as it tries to conquer new frontiers and satisfy the public's insatiable appetite for "insanely great” products.

Based on over two hundred interviews with current and former executives, business partners, Apple watchers and others, Haunted Empire is an illuminating portrait of Apple today that offers clues to its future. With nuanced insights and colorful details that only a seasoned journalist could glean, Kane goes beyond the myths and headlines.  She explores Tim Cook’s leadership and its impact on Jobs’s loyal lieutenants, new product development, and Apple’s relationships with Wall Street, the government, tech rivals, suppliers, the media, and consumers.

Hard-hitting yet fair, Haunted Empire reveals the perils and opportunities an iconic company faces when it loses its visionary leader.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
01/27/2014
The globe-bestriding computer-maker loses its soul in this lively business history. Former Wall Street Journal technology reporter Kane follows Apple after the 2011 death of founder Steve Jobs as the company’s knack for conjuring breakthrough i-gadgets lapsed into a series of ho-hum upgrades, misfires like the befuddled artificial intelligence app Siri, and interminable patent lawsuits, while market share, profits, and stock price eroded. Kane makes the story a study in CEO leadership styles, contrasting Jobs’s visionary bluster with his successor Tim Cook’s icy bean-counting and the histrionics of Samsung’s “wise emperor” Lee Kun-hee, whose quality crusade involved burning an entire factory’s inventory in front of its weeping employees. Kane unearths plenty of colorful material here, including lawyerly jousting, hilariously lame new-product unveilings, and conference-room psychodramas between bullying execs and groveling underlings. The author’s great-man theory of Jobs’s “unfiltered” leadership as the indispensable motor of Apple’s innovation doesn’t explain much; her unusually rich dissection of Apple’s ugly dealings with its FoxConn manufacturing partner suggests that Cook’s merciless wringing of profits out of exploited Chinese labor is as much the soul of Apple as Jobs’s oft-hyped intuition for design. Still, this well-paced, vividly detailed narrative reveals the machine surrounding the Jobsian ghost at Apple and brings the company’s high-flying mythology down to earth. Agent: Peter L. Ginsberg, Curtis Brown. (Mar.)
Kirkus Reviews
2014-02-05
Can Apple, though socking away billions in sales of iPhones and iPads, be the disruptor and industry leader of old? Without the radical sensibilities of Steve Jobs, it seems unlikely. According to former Wall Street Journal and Reuters reporter Kane, the last three years of Apple's existence have been less than inspiring. It's not that CEO Tim Cook is a poor leader: The late Steve Jobs, the true visionary behind the company, handpicked him for his abilities, and if he's not a world-changer, Cook is at least stable. (Apparently, to trust Kane, he also shares Jobs' talent for summoning up vein-bulging, free-floating rage at the slightest provocation.) Though Kane dwells too much on Apple as it was when Jobs lived, she points to some ongoing problems that Jobs might have dealt with differently from Cook: for one, the appalling conditions under which Apple products are made in Chinese plants, and for another, the reputation-diminishing release of not-ready-for-prime-time products such as Maps and Siri ("Siri's problems may not have been Cook's fault, but how had he allowed the same pattern to repeat itself with maps, which fell squarely under his watch?"). Overall, it seems self-evident that without Jobs' peculiar blend of devotion to both technological superiority and sheer beauty, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison's view is the correct one: Apple "will not be nearly so successful because he's gone." Yet, by an accident of timing, Kane's book anticipates but largely misses the buoying success of iOS 7, Mavericks, the latest iteration of the iPhone, the iPad Air and other products that have kept Apple's fortunes from sliding as dramatically as Microsoft's after Bill Gates stepped down as CEO in 2000. Much of this book is an extended footnote to Walter Isaacson's biography of Jobs, which, though not without problems, is the first work to consult when thinking of things Apple.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062128256
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/18/2014
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 725,840
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Yukari Iwatani Kane is a veteran journalist with nearly fifteen years of experience writing about the technology industry. As a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, she covered Apple during the last years of Steve Jobs's reign. In 2011 she was named a Gerald Loeb Award finalist as part of a Journal team responsible for a series on Internet privacy. She started her career at U.S. News & World Report and Reuters. She lives in San Francisco.

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