“Is Apple still king of the hill?”

via John Gruber. From Daisuke Wakabayshi’s video interview with Yukari Iwatani Kane, author of “Haunted Empire: Apple After Steve Jobs”:

Daisuke Wakabayashi: The one big question that hangs over Apple, anyone who follows Apple, is, have they lost their touch? Is Apple still king of the hill? After two years, what’s your conclusion?

Yukari Iwatani Kane: I think the answer is obvious to me. The answer has got to be yes. This is a company who had revolved around Steve Jobs for so long, I mean that was something that Jobs himself went out of his way to make sure of. And the people there are conditioned to operate, to play off of his strengths and weaknesses. And so now you’ve got this completely opposite guy in Tim Cook, who is I think brilliant in many ways, but in different ways. But so they’re going through some growing pains in that. […]

Wakabayashi: A normal great company, but maybe no longer an iconic company?

Kane: Right.

A normal great company. Apple might no longer be a special great company, but merely a normal great company. Is that bad? Well, it’s less exciting, for sure. But I’d group the competition (Samsung, LG, Sony, HTC, Lenovo, Microsoft, Google, etc.) as not even normal great companies. The chances of any one of these companies leapfrogging Apple by building something insanely great is not big. On the other hand, the chances of Apple building something insanely great is probably less than it was when Steve Jobs was calling the shots, but I’d hazard to guess it’s still more than any of the companies mentioned above. We’ll have to be content with just a normal great company making normal great products, but I’m hoping once in a while we’ll get to see something exhilarating.