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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  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.

  5. Apple has relied on Steve as a pitchman for its life, but now, after real world-wide exposure to its technology and style (remember, most have never even ‘heard’ of Apple), Apple is emerging as a force unto itself. If Steve is as good as everyone thinks he is, he hasn’t been sitting still and ignoring the development of measures to continue his brand of exacting standards at Apple once he’s gone.

    Remember, über-geeks– most people don’t watch the WWDC show online like many/most of us do. Most people don’t pay attention to what the anal-cysts say on their sites and blogs. Most people only care about whether something works in their life, if they can afford it, and if it’s cool enough to bother with.

    If Apple keeps hitting the mark with its products, the “need” for Steve will disappear, as the products will speak entirely for themselves. Steve’s showmanship has only worked as a foot in the door to consumer consciousness because people enjoy his personality. But if the products sucked, even Barnum couldn’t sell it for this long. No matter what, there will come a day when

    Apple will make its way without him– the products will be the only sales pitch.

  6. More like Frank Lloyd Wright. Brillant. Driven. Often ahead of his time.

    Please, Frank was an overrated hack.

    Apple will be fine without Steve now because he showed them the error of their ways. Like I’ve said before, Apple, since the Mac, has been a consumer electronics company stuck in a market filled with hobbyists and corporate drones. Now that the company has tasted the success born from Steve’s consumer focus, the BoD will know exactly the kind of CEO to look for to replace him.

  7. Apple will multiply it’s value in the next few years with or without Steve. His master plan is already in progress and it is not good gadget design. It is surprising that most people don’t see what he is up to.

    We are headed towards a digital world and Jobs has known this for years. He is building a monopoly to control all digital media. Very soon we will all be buying most entertainment from Apple and will most surely be using Apple technology and Apple hardware to enjoy it.

    Jobs unveiled the iTV just to give us a glimpse of where Apple is headed. In Jobs’ plan Macs/frontrow/itv/ipod will become a necessity in everyone’s home (it already is for most of us). People will change to macs, not because they feel it is a better PC, but because it will be a need for personal and public media management. Sooner than we think the PC will become unnecessary. Even iwork is almost ready to replace Office and all things Microsoft.

    For years Apple has been building the technology in video/audio formats, the media distribution and the personal and family hardware. We will never hear music, watch TV or watch movies the same way again. Change is under way and Apple has the remote control in hand.

    Microsoft and all the me-too’s are watching in awe, but just can not seem to find a way to stop the inevitable. The war to control the media in the future seems to be over before the fight begins. Apple rules already.

  8. Well, I’d say that Apple wouldn’t be Apple w/o SJ, but SJ wouldn’t be much without Apple. I’d say he’d already gone that route (Next). Sure, PIXAR was a big hit- but I think his passion was and is computer hardware.

    Like most fans, and small shareholders, I like to think he feels there is more to do at Apple. He is loaded $, I would like to think the man shows up for work b/c he enjoys it at this point. As long as Apple continues to grow in computers I think it will hold his interest. Everybody loves an underdog, and Apple still falls into that category. The Apple computer turnaround is still in it’s infancy. As far as the iPod goes, it is a vehicle. The battle is for the living room, the home office.

    In the long run, I see Apple making a grab for market as a software company, I think when the mac has generated enough critical mass, Jobs’ parting bomb will be to license the OS. And Apple will get out of the hardware business; the “clone wars” will then not be an issue. We have entered an age where Apple boxes are put together with the same components and by the same assemblers as Windows boxes, using the same chips. OSX is more easily ported to other hardware than OS7-8-9. Apple is, even now, a software company hiring 3rd parties to make the hardware.

    Even now, it is not unthinkable that Apple might be tempted to release a 32 bit version of OSX that runs on other windows boxes. An instant grab for folks facing a hardware upgrade b/c of Vista- run tomorow’s OS on today’s hardware. How many folks who bought a media center PC a year ago would be willing to plunk down $129- for OSX rather than buy a new PC to run vista today? To do the things they thought they’d be able to do with XP? And then, in 2 years when the do upgrade to 64 bit, what hardware will they go with? Apples.

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