What would Apple be worth without Steve Jobs?

“Shareholders of Apple Computer Inc. put down their holiday iPod nanos for a moment this week and glimpsed a Christmas yet to come without Steve Jobs — and they didn’t like what they saw,” David Callaway writes for MarketWatch. “An unconfirmed report in a law journal that said Jobs had retained his own legal counsel amid the ongoing investigation into Apple’s use of backdated options triggered a 5% drop in Apple shares in minutes after trading started Wednesday. Indeed, the story on MarketWatch reporting the drop leapfrogged all other stories on the site to become the most-read piece less than 20 minutes after it was published.”

Callaway writes, “By the end of the day, cooler heads had prevailed and Apple shares had rebounded. Several analysts stepped forward to say that the concerns were overblown, and the fact that Jobs had hired his own lawyer — not confirmed by Apple — was just the normal course of business.”

“Perhaps. But the scare did briefly unwrap worries among Apple’s famously cultish users and shareholders of what the company and its stock might be like if for some reason the 51-year-old Jobs did resign or retire next year,” Callaway writes.

“Are the shares, having tripled in the last two years on the power of the iPod revolution, still reflecting the phenomenal growth story of a reinvented company that changed the music industry like it did the computer industry 30 years ago? Or are they hanging by a thread on the future of a hard-charging, arrogant leader who could blow up at any time? The answer depends on whether you believe Steve Jobs is Rupert Murdoch or Frank Perdue,” Callaway writes. “Is he an empire builder, or a pitchman?”

Full article here.

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35 Comments

  1. Barnum? You decide. From Wikipedia:

    “In 1835 began his career as a showman with his purchase and exhibition of a blind and almost completely paralyzed African-American slave woman, Joice Heth, claimed by Barnum to have been the nurse of George Washington, and to be over a hundred and sixty years old.”

  2. What would Apple be w/out Steve?

    Depends on finding another pitchman. Steve didn’t invent all the things that has made the company a cult.

    And, for That’s Easy… do your homework, it wasn’t “fools” being born every minute that made P.T. a success, it was “suckers”.

    Better still for exploitation.

  3. It is unlikely that Steve Jobs will be forced to resign. If he was a poor leader for Apple, perhaps this situation would be a catalyst that leads to his removal as CEO. However, he is considered one of the best CEO’s in the country. Apple has never been more successful and profitable.

    People are not considering that this situation (a setback for this overall “image” and celebrity) may extend his stay at Apple. I don’t know what Steve Jobs wants to be doing ten years from now, but I don’t think he wants to be CEO of Apple for the rest of this working life. Whatever his personal “next big thing” happens to be, this “scandal” may keep him at Apple a few years longer than if EVERYTHING during the last five years had gone absolutely perfectly (like it nearly did).

  4. Steve Jobs’ insistence on near-perfection quality in all of his company’s products are UNMATCHED by any other CEO in the US. This is a man who is unafraid to say NO to everyone & everything, in order to get the best possible product. He is DEDICATED & COMMITTED to quality, at any other expense — he will NOT sell out for shareholder gains nor will he jump into a market with a “me too” product just to be involved in all markets. Steve Jobs is brilliant, a visionary, the closest thing we have to a deity in our lifetime. If Steve Jobs were to leave Apple, I dread what the future would hold.

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