IBM Vs Apple: Why You Can’t Build An Immortal Company Today

The kind of tools the Watsons had when they built IBM aren’t even available to IBM or any other firm today. In addition, the massive focus on quarterly results forces CEOs to make decisions that trade off long-term security for short-term valuation benefits, a process that pretty much assures a company will constantly struggle and often fail. You only have to look at the massive support Mark Hurd had from investors while he slowly bled HP dry. And Hurd wasn’t asked to leave because he was killing the firm, but because the Board lost their trust in him due to the sexual harassment claims of an HP contractor.

Apple’s struggles and its inadequate response are also likely at the core of why companies like Dell are looking to go private. Unless you can remove short-term financial pressures, you can’t ensure a company can survive long term. It also showcases that the power of deeply connecting employees to their organizations has effectively been lost. This may simply represent the reality of a brave new future, but I’m beginning to doubt that it is a better one.

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NOTE: This column was originally published in the Pund-IT Review.


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