Could Apple thrive without Steve Jobs?

“Apple is defending CEO Steve Jobs as the company is under investigation by the feds,” David Morgenstern writes for eWeek. “To some, he is Apple. But could the company make do without its very public leader? …Concern on the street grew in December that Jobs’ tenure may come to an end, not by a coup by the board of directors as happened in 1985, but from legal troubles around stock options and perhaps a cover-up.”

“In the street’s imagination, Apple is Jobs. Or perhaps the other way around: Jobs is Apple. Whatever. This theory is still all about Jobs cracking the whip in Cupertino and speaking the Mac gospel to the public at the annual Macworld Expo and Apple Worldwide Developer Conference keynotes,” Morgenstern writes. “But is that right? Is this personal identification necessary for the continued success of Apple?”

“Tt would be difficult to target Apple strategic decisions over the past 10 years where Jobs didn’t make a personal difference. So, the Apple-Jobs/Jobs-Apple identification isn’t hooey,” Morgenstern writes. “However, looking through the long list of accomplishments over the decade, it seems to me that there were a small number of decisions and events that only Jobs could carry out and be successful. These were moments—most in the early part of his latest tenure—that relied upon Jobs’ authenticity as a founder of the company as well as the communication that he still had a personal stake in Apple’s direction.”

Morgenstern’s shortlist for these crucial events:
Reassuring the Mac base: In the summer of 1997… Jobs took the stage of the Boston Macworld Expo… The most reassuring thing to many that day was that Apple would settle its ongoing patent lawsuit with Microsoft, with Redmond guaranteeing Mac versions of Office for another five years. There were other parts of the deal, including a minor investment ($150 million) by Microsoft in Apple stock.
Reassuring developers
The transition to Intel

“To succeed, Apple must continue to execute on its plans. That’s what Jobs said in 1997. And that can be accomplished without Steve Jobs,” Morgenstern writes. “Please note that I’m not saying Apple would be better off without Jobs. No way. He’s amazing and entertaining. I wish him only health and job security for the years ahead. But the current FUD around his status should stop.”

Full article here.

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38 Comments

  1. Could Apple thrive without Steve Jobs?

    The answer is NO, plain & simply.

    NOBODY in the ENTIRE CORPORATE WORLD, from ANY public company, has the VISION & the COMMON SENSE & the STYLE & the RESTRAINT that Steve Jobs has in his product designs. Every other CEO is worried about one thing only: churning out low-quality, low-cost products; entering ALL markets; throwing in every feature plus the kitchen sink, and screwing consumers. Every other CEO can’t even say the word NO to horrible ideas.

    NOBODY in the corporate world GETS IT like Steve Jobs gets it.

    Without Steve Jobs, Apple would fail. Or at the VERY BEST, they would become just like every other Cingular, Microsoft, Dell, HP, Motorola, etc. These other companies don’t get it at all.

  2. I think the 90’s pretty should indicate how many people have a real vision for Apple… hhmmm???

    If Macs could just get a real foothold in the entire market place, obvious, confirmed, unarguable, then MAYBE Apple could carry on without the Steve Meister ’cause they’d have some fudge room for figuring out how to fly without crashing.

  3. Like any other business it would all depend on who would replace him.

    Apple didn’t close it’s doors when he got booted out years ago, but because the CEO’s in charge didn’t understand the Mac consumer and the reason why people buy a Mac in the first place they floundered. They had little direction and little vision.

    And as Mr. Jobs said when he came back. The Mac has NO SEX APPEAL. Now it does.

    Keep it sexy, keep it innovative. Make it something that YOU would want to buy and not something just to sell.

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