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.

Related articles:
Apple stock-option fallout: investor lawsuit and twin U.S. gov’t investigations – January 04, 2007
WSJ: Steve Jobs, backdating miscreant – January 03, 2007
Should Steve Jobs be allowed to survive Apple’s options backdating scandal? – January 02, 2007
Apple options probe shines spotlight on former execs Anderson and Heinen – January 02, 2007
ThinkEquity analyst: Apple sell-off due to ‘inexperienced traders,’ nothing new in options story – December 28, 2006
Analyst: U.S. Gov’t unlikely to ‘nail Apple and Steve Jobs’ – December 28, 2006
Report: Apple ‘falsified’ records on 7.5m stock options granted to CEO Steve Jobs in 2001 – December 28, 2006
What would Apple be worth without Steve Jobs? – December 27, 2006
Piper Jaffray: Steve Jobs not at risk in stock options case – December 27, 2006
Apple shares push into positive territory, top NASDAQ most-active list – December 27, 2006
Shares of Apple Computer fall 5% in pre-market trading – December 27, 2006
Faked documents may be at core of Apple options probe; Jobs seeks outside legal representation – December 26, 2006
Apple delays filing annual report due to ongoing stock options investigation – December 15, 2006
Options scandal: is Apple’s Steve Jobs truly safe? – October 18, 2006
Apple Computer Directors may have had conflicts of interest in options investigation – October 11, 2006
Apple’s options disclosures leave plenty of unanswered questions – October 09, 2006
Apple shareholders await earnings restatements; Steve Jobs still not in the clear – October 06, 2006
Former CFO Anderson helped turn Apple Computer around – October 05, 2006
Wall Street unshaken by results of Apple stock options investigation – October 05, 2006
Is Apple rotten at the core? – October 05, 2006
Analyst: Anderson, Heinen may be former Apple executives responsible for irregular options grants – October 05, 2006
Analyst: Apple restatement due to options irregularities not expected to be significant – October 04, 2006
Apple’s special committee reports findings of stock option investigation – October 04, 2006
Google CEO declines Apple automatic stock option grant; plans to buy 10,000 AAPL shares instead – September 01, 2006
Google CEO Dr. Eric Schmidt joins Apple’s Board of Directors – August 29, 2006
Shareholders allege Apple execs reaped ‘millions’ in unlawful profits – August 23, 2006
How options-backdating irregularities can affect your Apple Computer stock – August 23, 2006
Apple’s options imbroglio: Mac-maker granted options at or near key events in company’s history – August 18, 2006
Apple added to Nasdaq’s list of ‘delinquent companies’ – August 18, 2006
Apple unlikely to be delisted by NASDAQ – August 16, 2006
Apple CEO Steve Jobs drawn into stock options scandal – August 15, 2006
Apple announces update regarding stock option grants – August 11, 2006
As expected, Apple delays quarterly results due to stock-options grants review – August 11, 2006
Some stock options grant decisions were made by Apple board, and potentially, CEO Steve Jobs – August 10, 2006
Disney: no material impact from Pixar options – August 09, 2006
Pixar options draw scrutiny – August 08, 2006
Apple stock options scandal? What scandal? – August 07, 2006
Class action lawsuit over stock options filed against Apple Computer, Inc. – August 04, 2006
Wall Street forgiving of Apple’s stock option irregularities; CEO Jobs unlikely to be terminated – August 04, 2006
Apple’s stock option irregularities escalate into a scandal as world awaits Steve Jobs’ WWDC keynote – August 04, 2006
Apple warns of profit restatement dating back to 2002 – August 04, 2006
Apple loses 3.5% to $67.15 in premarket trading – August 04, 2006
Apple announces update regarding stock option grants – August 03, 2006
Shareholder’s options suit against Apple alleges ‘striking pattern that could not have been chance’ – July 11, 2006
Apple announces update regarding stock option grants – July 05, 2006
UBS: stock options probe unlikely to hurt Apple – June 30, 2006
Apple joins growing list of companies entangled in stock option ‘irregularities’ – June 29, 2006
Apple to investigate stock option grant ‘irregularities’ made between 1997 and 2001 – June 29, 2006


  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.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.