Preface: ex-employees bad mouthing do not overly concern me. Ex-employees offer their own personal insights and the trick is getting past whatever baggage they carry to decide how much of what they are saying you believe to be valid... In short a guessing game that may or may not be revealed in retrospect. I tend to focus on empirical evidence. Not necessarily big ground-shaking events, more like extremely minor tremors that may or may not portend where the company is going. For instance, there's a new Macworld article on Apple starting to sell Mountain Leopard again. Why was it brought back? Link here. Snow Leopard was pulled from Apples site after Mountain Lion was launched earlier this year, however, following the launch of iOS 6 in September it emerged that iOS 6 required iTunes 10.6, which required Snow Leopard, Haslam reports. As we wrote at the time iOS 6 launched, users were finding that having updated their iPhone or iPad to iOS 6 their device was rendered incompatible with the version of iTunes they were running on their Mac, and in some cases it was impossible to upgrade their Mac to a version of iTunes that was compatible because they were running a OS that predated Snow Leopard. This kind of left hand not talking to right hand is deeply troubling to me. Frankly it feels like the kind of sloppiness I'd expect from the Ballmer & Gates Two Ring Traveling Show. Beyond the troubling questions this raises with software development, I think it is endemic to a culture change underway in Cupertino. There was once a time when Apple Genii were required to have an indepth knowledge of older Appe hardware and software. I'm guessing that isn't the case anymore. With the accelerated product development cycles there seems to be an added focus on new features and functionality that is only available on the newest boxes. I understand that's how you sell new boxes. The change seems to me more a reflection of de-valuing that which came before. I realize this is somewhat intangible and therefore contradicts my earlier stated belief in the empirical but when you're discussing culture you sometimes have to go with your gut. It seems Apple is moving away from the relationship business into the box business. I question how well, in the long-term, that shift will serve them.