They suck mainly because of the following dialog:
Competitor company CEO: “How come Apple makes so much money?”
Competitor company Marketing Director: “They’re building innovative products and these products are very well marketed”
CEO: “What’s the most innovative device they’ve built?”
CEO: “Let’s make iPads then!”
This is where everything is already lost.
There are 2 huge mistakes here:
The CEO should have known his / her company needed to follow how was Apple doing, not what was Apple doing. Apple could had built machine-guns.
The Marketing / Sales Director should have taken position against such a mistake and should have not committed to produce iPads, as the company they ruled wasn’t Apple.
How are these mistakes possible:
Confusing “how” for “what” is equivalent to not knowing “where the puck is”. The CEO lacks in-depth view of his or Apple’s strategy.
If not this case and the competitor company CEO sees Apple strategy, than (s)he misses the relevant point of Apple’s approach: innovate and re-iterate until the product is perfect from both outside and inside.
The Marketing Director not holding a strong position against the CEO’s: this is possible as corporates no longer care about values and principles, but only about revenues. Therefore they hire people that can only make money, no matter how.
The MD is silenced by his / her lack of principles (read “lack of spine”) and by any accountant saying that copying “how” is much more expensive than copying “what” is Apple doing. Which brings us to:
Accountants are ruling the companies instead of their managers. ( I wrote a detailed post here )