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EA founder says Apple decline likely to follow loss of Jobs

updated 04:00 pm EDT, Wed August 3, 2011

Slip inevitable for anyone, says Hawkins

Apple is ultimately headed towards a fall, and probably after the departure of CEO Steve Jobs, says Electronic Arts founder Trip Hawkins, now with developer Digital Chocolate. The latter develops casual games for several platforms, including the iPhone. "If you look at any institution in history -- look at the Roman Empire -- anything in history, and what it looks like when it's peaking," Hawkins tells IndustryGamers.

"Look at Apple, and how can you say it's not peaking? The CEO is still alive, let's start there. They invented this tablet thing that's going to be really big," he continues. "They've done really well by reinventing the phone. They breathed new life into the Mac. They've got this super-high marketing. All these things are about as good as they ever can be -- how much better can it really get? The thing is, it may take another year or two before it starts to decline, but it has to -- everything does. Everything revolves so much around Steve, and no matter how good his lieutenants are, they're not Steve. None of us is going to live forever, though I hope he lives for a really long time."

Jobs is on his third medical leave, his longest ever, and reportedly stepping away from his trademark micromanagement. Analysts and investors have feared that the executive's health is on a downward slide that might soon rob Apple of its guiding vision.

Hawkins also comments on Apple's approach to Flash. "They've created this outlet and they had to have an excuse to keep you there, so they're like, 'Oh it's nothing against Flash; we just prefer HTML5'. Well, Flash can actually make a really good game, and with HTML5 you can't do that. But give HTML5 another few years to mature, and that could solve the problem. Or Apple could be more generous about deciding to support more de facto standards like Flash, or at least let it run its course."

by MacNN Staff



  1. Bobfozz

    Joined: Dec 1969


    where this EA guy is wrong is...

    he has no idea what Apple has in their Labs which may take years to bring out... one reason for their secrecy.
    The other thing is because his "imagination" as a game maker apparently has peaked, that doesn't mean Apple's has. Apple is pretty smart and it's possible they have an officer whose sole job is to see what might be for the future and tackle it before it gets there.

    This guy apparently hasn't had any recent game successes although in the past I loved EA.
    He's boring, Jobs is not. Neither is Tim Cook.

  1. dpicardi

    Joined: Dec 1969


    You think?

    Really, this has got to be the most idiotic "news" I've ever read. You mean Apple's run won't go on forever? Sheesh!

  1. kimgh

    Joined: Dec 1969


    He has a point, but

    I think it will be a long time after Jobs leaves before the creative genius of the place has subsided. I think Steve has done a pretty good job of cloning himself, with Cook as CEO, Schiller and some others as "keynoters" and Ive as the design genius. Steve's role is already declining.

    Look how long it's taking Microsoft to fade out, and they were NEVER as brilliantly run as Apple has been.

  1. kdogg73

    Joined: Dec 1969


    The Good Die Young

    And idiots seem to live forever. Isn't this right, Mr.Hawkins?

  1. chas_m




    He's right that Apple will suffer some kind of decline when Steve goes, but he's wrong when he says Apple has peaked. Not by a long shot.

    His comments about Flash are almost too stupid to even dignify with a response, but it has to be said: the problem with Flash isn't with Apple. The problem with Flash is with Adobe. Flash isn't faltering because Apple is mean -- it's faltering for the same reason Windows is faltering: people have figured out that it's a buggy, resource-hogging mess and security nightmare, and that better alternative either exist or are in development.

  1. papercode

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Firm grasp of the obvious...

    that Mr. Hawkins. The history lesson too, wow, the Roman Empire tie-in, just amazingly insightful.

    I think Apple's got some pretty smart folks on board and probably has the post-SJ future well planned.

  1. ferdchet

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Project much?

    Mr. 3D0 (remember that expensive crapbox?) apparently just wanted to tell us what history already has. The problem with him doing it is that he's already experienced this a few times. So maybe he's an expert at rising and declining, but to the rest of us, Trip old boy, it just sounds like sour grapes.

  1. cal6n

    Joined: Dec 1969



    (see title)

  1. Orbifold

    Joined: Dec 1969


    He's built lasting advantages

    For 20 years Jobs was called a fool for his obsession with "great software" while Microsoft built a monopoly out of "good enough" software. And almost everybody set the bar as low as MS. Now Apple's competitors can't understand why good enough isn't working anymore.

  1. SockRolid

    Joined: Dec 1969


    So EA is CEO-proof?

    I wonder if EA has peaked. What will happen to their market cap when Trip is uninstalled?

    Hawkins's little rant has a certain "What, me worry?" tone to it. Maybe it's time for new blood. Less short-sighted management.

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