In the big picture, Schiller’s Macworld keynote a big deal for Apple

Apple Store“There are two ways to view Philip Schiller’s keynote at Macworld Tuesday: It was either a respectable effort by one of Steve Jobs’ understudies or a bummer since the main attraction wasn’t on stage and the announcements left a lot to be desired. Both would miss the big picture,” Larry Dignan blogs for ZDNet.

“The big picture is this: For the long-term health of Apple the company needs to prove that it is more than just Steve Jobs. Jobs could stay at the helm of Apple for 10 months or 10 years. It doesn’t really matter. At some point in the future, Apple will have to get along without Jobs,” Dignan writes.

“That’s why Schiller’s keynote, which probably benefited from low expectations, is more important than it initially appears. Apple is putting executives such as marketing guru Schiller and operating chief Tim Cook in the limelight to show it has a bench. The transition from Jobs is a gradual process that will take years to unfold if Apple is lucky,” Dignan writes.

“The truly successful and unique companies–Wal-Mart and Southwest Airlines come to mind–have managed to capture their founders’ DNA in a bottle and carried it forward no matter who was in charge. That’s Apple’s challenge,” Dignan writes. “Jobs’ challenge is to solidify Apple’s culture so the company carries his zeitgeist for decades to come.”

Full article here.

29 Comments

  1. I thought Phil did a great job as well. He took what he was able to present and made a pretty good keynote out of it. Not as good as some of the more memorable Jobsnotes, but definitely on par with some of the lesser ones.

    –mAc

  2. Yeah, I thought Schiller did a really nice job. I figured the keynote would go one of two directions, and as soon as he started with iLife, I knew about what to expect. However, I actually think the new stuff looks pretty good. I’m quite excited to get the new iLife, since I have a couple of things I’d like to do with it. Also, it wouldn’t surprise me if they have a special event pretty soon and announce some other stuff.

  3. I think we should all heave a major sigh of relief. For months now the question in everyone’s mind was “what is Apple doing about the transition to the post-Jobs reality.” The announcements about MacWorld, Phil’s keynote, etc. are solid indications that Apple is NOT asleep at the switch on this critical issue.

    There are bound to be rough spots and nay-sayers, no one likes change. But Apple is doing the right thing. Steve Jobs and Apple do have a strategy and they are exercising it.

    On so many levels Apple has chosen the tougher, high road. And I predict they will be around for a long, long, long time to come.

    Happy New Year everyone.

  4. I can’t believe Apple doesn’t have a new Mac mini ready to go. That is a big hole they need to fill in this crappy economy.

    But given what he had, Schiller did fine. Jobs might have hypnotized us for a few hours, but Apple is apparently between new product announcements.

  5. I read that Philip Schiller clearly noted in the beginning of the keynote that this would be about the Mac. I find it interesting that the talking heads think that Apple should have talked about the next new thing. Apple is not only putting new faces out there, they are going to talk about new and old products and services in the market that they are in. They also stated, they see many more people in the in their Apple Stores than at MacWorld. They don’t need anyone’s help now!

    Apple will now pick the time and place to show off their stuff.

  6. I never expect Apple to announce all their products in a single day, which is what they would be doing if all the rumors were right. (I think they confuse Steve Jobs with Santa Claus.) Even if all those products were all magically ready at the same time, how would they get media attention later? And if they made a big bang at Macworld, everything afterwards would pale in comparison.

    Having said that, I was not expecting iWork 09, and I am very excited about it. They put in all the features I need. I can break my shackles and replace Microsoft Office entirely. I’m glad they didn’t make any hardware announcements, so I don’t have to feel bad about my computers so soon after I bought them.

  7. my take on what most people are not getting. steve jobs has turned the apple ship. it is a task almost every ceo fails miserably and the few that are successful become icons (oops, already is one!). later we find that some people that turned their ship didn’t do a good a job as we originally thought, ala jack welch.

    he accomplished turning the apple ship with his 3 legged stool strategy. when he started apple had one leg. it was a pole, not a stool. he added a mobile leg (ipod/iphone) and a consumer channel leg (retail stores/itunes-apps store). his timing was impeccable of just flat out lucky-really doesn’t matter). the strategy is in place and executing like gangbusters. part of its success is the de-success of all the competitors. again, it doesn’t matter why. success is success.

    the secret moving forward is not just continuing to execute, but to predict the next maneuver correctly. that is steve’s magic. even when no none else thought the ideas would work he took the risk because he was confident in his vision and his companies ability to execute it. that is what the next ceo needs. putting it in the hands of a caretaker like they did with mr. pepsi and mr. national semiconductor will eventually repeat the demise of the 90’s.

    guess the real secret of steve’s success is he does not respond to the idiotic, short term emotions of the shareholders wanting to make a quick buck. he has a board that allows him to do that. if that changes, even with steve at the helm, i would predict a gloomy future for apple.

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