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A is for Apple. A is also for Arrogant

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Image: Bob RosnerBloggers Confession: I am wrapped around the little finger of the Apple marketing department. I’m writing this blog on my MacBook, while I listen to tunes on my iPod, my iPhone is nearby and so is my iPad. Wow, I knew I was a junkie, but just writing that sentence made me feel like Steve Jobs personal rentboy.

That said, the recent press conference about the iPhone 4 made me extremely sad. Okay, I realize that Apple is a big corporation. And that public pronouncements by the CEO need to factor in competitors, lawsuits and today’s very fickle consumer. But Jobs sounded more like a Wall Street CEO defending the company’s bonuses than the guy who made the products that currently litter my desk.

Arrogant. Obnoxious. Above making mistakes.

How could a company that is so remarkably in tune with its audience’s hopes and dreams, be so annoying when they know there is a problem with their latest product? I’m not saying that they needed to launch a massive recall. But, I believe, Apple did need to accept some ownership for the reception problems plaguing it’s latest iPhone.

Okay, Jobs has been fighting some serious medical issues that could take him off his game.

And some could argue that Apple has always had an attitude and a tendency toward obsessive secrecy. Remember when that guy found a test phone a few months back?

But I fear that it is something else that’s happening here, market-capitalization-disease. Now that Apple has passed Microsoft in terms of the value of the company in the eyes of stockholders, I fear that Apple believes it’s own press clippings.

Steve, all you had to say was that the company always pushed the boundaries of technology, of style and of what’s possible. We get that. And we would have gotten that this glitch was part of what we all value about Apple the most. But when you went all Nixon on us, well it made me sad.

Your success is due to us. Please don’t insult our intelligence when you overreach. Just admit it and we can all move on.

About The Author: Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning workplace911.com. Check the revised edition of his Wall Street Journal best seller, “The Boss’s Survival Guide.” If you have a question for Bob, contact him via bob@workplace911.com.

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The End of Enemies at Work

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Image: Bob RosnerMicrosoft and Yahoo recently received permission to move forward with their joint venture on search from both US and European regulators.

Competition makes strange bedfellows. And nary a day goes by today that Microsoft isn’t announcing a new partnership, or a partnership discussion, with a company that it formerly tried to crush. Real Networks, Palm, AOL, Apple, the list just keeps growing and growing.

Believe it or not, Microsoft’s new make-nice approach impacts each and every one of us who works today. Because it signals the end of the “enemy,” at least as we’ve known it in business for the last hundred years. Let me explain…

The “enemy” has been a great rallying cry in business. To paraphrase General Patton, your goal is to kill the other guy before he has a chance to kill you. And that is how business tended to operate.

We learned from our earliest days in the corporate corridors to identify our enemies and create a healthy disdain for them. And it was so simple to do. G.M. hated Ford. M.G.M. hated Universal. It was easy to identify your competitors and once you did then you let the hatin’ begin.

That is until today. Now, auto companies collaborate on technology to improve fuel mileage with competitors and movie studios collaborate on producing films. And the former 99-pound weakling turned monopolist, Microsoft, can’t seem to find anyone outside of Google that it doesn’t want to take a turn around the dance floor with. What a difference a few years can make.

What is becoming clear is that today’s enemy at work could very well be your company’s next strategic marketing partner, merger partner or the company that purchases your firm. So the enemy is dead, long live today’s competitor who might be tomorrow’s collaborator. Why? Because you can’t afford to alienate your next business partner. Or worse, your next boss.

How do we survive this new competitive landscape? We need to resist the temptation to bad mouth a competitor. We need to always fight fair. We need to reach out to competitors at industry conferences and trade shows. We need to resist short term thinking and learn to adopt a longer view. In short, we need to always anticipate the future where we just might be on the same side with our current competitors.

I’m looking forward to the day when I can wax nostalgically about the enemies that I did battle with at work to my child. Because it increasingly appears that the enemy’s days are numbered. And being a guy who can nurse a grudge as well as the next guy, I think this could usher in a great new environment in which to do business.

About the Author: Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning workplace911.com. Also check out his newly revised best-seller “The Boss’s Survival Guide.” If you have a question for Bob, contact him via bob@workplace911.com.

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