Dear Audience. The two most innovative companies of the past ten years are managed in diametrically opposite ways: while Google places a premium on openness, Apple operates a largely closed culture. These are the two extremes, and other businesses must decide where on the continuum they belong.
We respect extremely successful companies, and perhaps even try to emulate them. They are like lighthouses in the distance, guiding us toward our destinations – but supposing there are two lighthouses, and they are in opposite directions? Today’s managers face a difficult dilemma.
In the second decade of the twenty-first century, there are two lighthouses of global management: Apple and Google. Perhaps the most successful and innovative companies of the last ten years, they represent two completely different business and product strategies. In a world where the interfaces between companies and the outside world are permeable, information increasingly difficult to protect, and formal hierarchies almost impossible to maintain, Apple and Google have responded in wholly opposing ways. They represent the two extremes, and managers of other businesses must decide which they want to emulate.