Hugh Pickens writes writes: "Joe Nocerna writes in the NY Times that Steve Jobs was a perfectionist with no tolerance for corner-cutting or mediocre products. The last time Apple released a truly substandard product — MobileMe, in 2008 — Jobs gathered the team into an auditorium, berated them mercilessly and then got rid of the team leader in front of everybody. But when Apple replaced Google’s map application with its own, vastly inferior, application, infuriating its customers, it may turn out to be the canary in the coal mine for Apple's future. Part of the reason is that Jobs isn’t there anymore but there is also a less obvious — yet possibly more important — reason that Apple’s best days may soon be behind it. "When Jobs returned to the company in 1997, after 12 years in exile, Apple was in deep trouble. It could afford to take big risks and, indeed, to search for a new business model, because it had nothing to lose." writes Nocerna adding that less than 15 years ago Microsoft appeared to be invincible but once its Windows operating system and Office applications became giant moneymakers, Microsoft’s entire strategy became geared toward protecting its two cash cows. Now it is Apple’s turn to be king of the hill — and, not surprisingly, it has begun to behave in a very similar fashion. "I would be surprised if [Apple] ever gives us another product as transformative as the iPhone or the iPad," concludes Nocera. "It is the nature of capitalism that big companies become defensive, while newer rivals emerge with better, smarter ideas.""