How Apple could survive without Steve Jobs – plus one AAPL shareholder’s lament

“Apple Inc. set off shock waves Tuesday by announcing Steve Jobs will not speak at what the company said would be its final appearance at the Macworld trade show. The news sent the company’s stock downward, and raised questions about whether Mr. Jobs had new health problems or some new products were not ready,” Justin Scheck and Nick Wingfield report for The Wall Street Journal.

“Speculation about the continued reign of Mr. Jobs — which has popped up from time to time since his 2004 treatment for cancer — underscore how closely Apple’s fashion-setting products are identified with its co-founder. There is no sign of any change in his status, but.. What if that situation does change? There is reason for optimism, based on the evolution of the team that develops Apple’s hardware, software and services, some people familiar with the company’s internal workings say. Some of them believe the group is now strong enough that, barring an exodus of top talent, the company could keep churning out innovative products without Mr. Jobs,” Scheck and Wingfield report.

“The hands-on work of Apple’s innovations depend more directly on subordinates such as Jonathan Ive, an Apple senior vice president who oversees the company’s industrial design team. His group is primarily associated with the physical look and feel of products, such as the unusually slender Macbook Air,” Scheck and Wingfield report.

“Scott Forstall, another senior vice president, leads the team responsible for the iPhone’s operating system and other software. In a sign of his growing importance at the company, Mr. Forstall was twice given the chance to speak at media and technical events earlier this year–and has shown some of the same showmanship that is Mr. Jobs’ trademark,” Scheck and Wingfield report.

There is much more in the full article, which discusses other crucial figures at Apple, here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Jersey_Trader” for the heads up.]

MacDailyNews Take: May Steve Jobs live forever and reign as Apple CEO until the end of time!

Barring that, we bring you an email missive from Apple shareholder “Joe Architect” that rather accurately and semi-concisely portrays many of the sentiments of the majority of emails that we receive from Apple shareholders lately:

1. Steve Jobs is a creative genius and therefore extremely introverted and pedantic. You take a creative mind like that and combine it with being a far-flung granola hippie (which is usually the case) and it is beyond cliché that in his view he cannot be bothered by the uncreative mechanics of business and shareholder “issues.”

2. Many people (including myself) have acknowledged his genius by making significant investments in his company, with millions tied-up in the belief that his vision should/will result in positive returns – i.e. many people have made the effort to understand the actual facts of the company and are in a sense complimenting him by investing for the right reasons.

3. Jobs seems to ignore #2, staying within his protective cocoon and not acting (when truly necessary) on behalf of the folks who have placed their trust (and $’s) in him and who help to fund his business. If AAPL was a private company and he owned it all, then he would in fact be free to go for full Howard-Hughes-ness, but that is not the case. This is a public company and he needs to start acting accordingly.

4. Most other successful CEO’s actively participate in the marketplace, making cases where needed to avert unnecessary manipulation of their company. This may all seem like a trivial game if you have $10b already in the bank, however the ongoing intentional secrecy, part-answers and non-answers, and non-specificity of motives behind decisions are simply creating havoc for the ordinary investor. Everyone knows that dropping out of Macworld Expo is going to fuel rumors that he is sick again. Why can’t he just go on CNBC and state that he is healthy? Why does it have to be “off the record” when someone finally is able to ask the question directly? All of that behavior helps no one, but the dirtbag short-sellers and hedge-fund slime who are all manipulating AAPL to make up for their blatant mistakes of investing in ACTUAL GARBAGE like DELL and RIMM.

Your thoughts?


  1. Well, it IS annoying that Apple didn’t respond on the record to questions about Jobs’ health after announcing that he wouldn’t do the keynote at SF Macworld. Apple is a publicly traded company. If it does something that raises questions about the future of the company, it should answer the questions. These are not just empty rumors. Jobs’ keynote has been an Apple tradition for a decade. Given Jobs’ recent health issues, Apple’s PR department should have answered this question on the record.

  2. I think Steve Jobs hates the fact that shareholders expect him to answer to them first, or to respond to what other people think he should be doing. Wall Street and most stock investors are notoriously short-sighted, only caring about the current quarter’s returns. Jobs is much more concerned about building Apple for the future, securing important technologies, and providing the best consumer experience. Those items don’t go along with satisfying shareholders’ expected ROIs or analysts’ predictions.

  3. Enough of this shit already. I am SO over these frickin’ rumors and assumptions. Give me facts or nothing at all. There are some on Wall Street who would gladly dance on Steve Jobs’ grave. They cheer when General Motors lays off thousands. They love it when companies decline, only to allow them to short their stock. Why? Because it’s all about THEM.

    This kind of crap really gets me in the mood for the holidays. And given all the movies about the Holocaust (six in all) coming out just in time for Christmas (Oops, did I say the C-word? How politically incorrect of me – I should have put Kwanzaa first), I can only wish all of you, Happy Holocaust!!

  4. Steve Jobs, like many creative geniuses, may have a neurological condition in which his brain is not wired to put social concerns first, to put it mildly. His focus is on love of the machine. Let him be himself, and appoint somebody to be the smooth talking head to calm the ruffled feathers.

  5. As Apple products and services continue to dominate new markets, it is very important to have unique leaders stand out and be in charge of each of these divisions.

    This is the part the talking heads can’t seem to get. Apple is not just Macs, iPods, iPhones, iTunes, … Apple is and is becoming MUCH MORE!

    Tsunami coming with many billions in the bank and the OS X operating system to fuel it!

  6. Apple will be fine after Jobs – sure there will be a massive stock price drop but this will be a buying opportunity. People assume that because Apple went south when Jobs left the first time, that it will the next time.

    In 1985, he left and took the best minds with him to form NeXT. I hope he stays for a long time and that his health remains good, but if the right people take over, Apple will continue to grow.

    Sure they will not be Steve Jobs, but they don’t need to be. They just need to come from the same mindset on design excellence. It is even possible to get someone better – though given Apple’s performance that is hard to believe!

  7. I’m on Job’s side on this… He has appeared publicly in the past and indicated he’s cancer-free and feels fine. What does he have to do – give monthly, weekly, daily updates?

    This issue is where do you draw the line on what and how much information would be provided? Someone would always ask for more detail and this becomes too invasive. Ask yourself how you would behave in a similar situation. This is private and nobody’s business outside his family and those he wants to privately confide with.

    The analysts are basically a bunch of idiots who don’t get Apple and it seems just use information like this to manipulate the stock price. There’s a lot of money being made on Apple stock playing these irrational dips and peaks.

    Apple’s pulling out of MacWorld has been coming for some time and has absolutely nothing to do with Job’s health. Get over it.

    Full disclosure – I own several hundred shares of Apple stock and have enough confidence in the talent at Apple that they could get along quite well without Jobs if they had to.

  8. Yeah. What a time to drop the bomb.

    I understand situations/reasons might be deeper than we know. Probably somewhere, someone holds the logic behind what the rest of us perceive as madness—but regardless, this kinda puts a real damper on the Holidays and Macworld both.

    The economy already had me depressed enough. Now I’m obsessed with weighing the good points/bad points of this decision.

  9. It’s one thing to not answer some questions about Steves health. It’s another thing to cancel MacWorld AND cancel Steves keynote, both suddenly and without much believable explanation. Steve, show yourself. How hard can that be?

  10. So maybe Apple should start buying back shares and eventually go private, and get all the a**holes (having ridden on his coat tail) who think they know better off his back. How long would that take?

    If you have invested in Apple, you have invested in THEIR vision. If you don’t like it or you want to control a company go start your own. Or go stagnate with M$.

  11. Taking the long view, perhaps Apple has also determined that it is important to begin demonstrating that under the hood is not only the mind of Jobs, but a competent and creative team that will perpetuate the best characteristics of the company and its products.

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