Is Apple starting to unravel without Steve Jobs?

“Apple Inc.’s shares are now down nearly 15% since they briefly passed the $700 mark in mid-September,” Therese Poletti reports for MarketWatch.

“The latest pinch happened on Wednesday, after the two-day trading hiatus, when the stock slipped nearly 1.5% in reaction to the company’s biggest management shake-up in years, which pushed out the polarizing head of mobile software, Scott Forstall,” Poletti reports. “While analysts have tried to soothe investors that all is well with their beloved Apple, there are increasing jitters about the changes in Cupertino, Calif., in the post-Steve Jobs era… That perspective is still in the minority. The Wall Street Journal noted Wednesday that Apple, under Cook, is run ‘more smoothly than under Mr. Jobs, when employees lived in constant fear of falling victim to a Jobs tirade or a whim,’ and that the recent shake-up demonstrates Cook’s resolve to ‘tackle thorny personnel issues that Mr. Jobs let fester.'”

Poletti reports, “everal analysts agreed, maintaining bullish views on the company despite the surprise departures that also included newly hired retail head John Browett. ‘This isn’t the first time that senior executives have departed the company,’ wrote Shaw Wu, an analyst with Sterne Agee, in a note to clients Tuesday, listing a stream of exec exits over the years that have included former finance chief Fred Anderson to hardware-engineering leader Jon Rubenstein. ‘The company has arguably not missed a beat,’ Wu continued, adding that ‘this is a testament to Apple’s strong culture that continues to endure despite changes in personnel through the years.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The answer to the headline is: No. Quite the opposite, in fact.

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Apple’s Cook fields his A-team before a wary Wall Street – November 1, 2012
Analysts upbeat on Apple following Tim Cook’s major management shuffle – October 31, 2012
Analysts: Momentous Apple shakeup could be just what the doctor ordered – October 31, 2012
Can Apple exec Eddy Cue work his magic on Apple Maps? – October 31, 2012
Jony Ive’s minimalist design sensibilities likely to reshape the future of iOS, OS X – October 31, 2012
Now the real Jony Ive era begins at Apple Inc. – October 30, 2012
Analysts: Apple’s executive shakeup a consolidation, not cause for concern – October 30, 2012
Apple: Forstall pushed out by Cook, source says; news met with ‘quiet jubilation’ inside Apple – October 30, 2012
Apple CEO Tim Cook executes major management shake-up at world’s most valuable company – October 30, 2012
Tim Cook takes full control of Apple: John Browett and Scott Forstall out; Jony Ive, Bob Mansfield, Eddy Cue and Craig Federighi get expanded responsibilities – October 29, 2012
Apple software designers sick of doing things Scott Forstall’s way; ‘civil war’ said breaking out – October 10, 2012
Tim Cook open letter: We fell short with new Maps app; we are extremely sorry – September 28, 2012
Apple newbie John Browett brings Dixons to Apple Retail Stores – August 17, 2012

An Apple CEO-in-waiting, Scott Forstall, sells 95% of his company shares – May 2, 2012


    1. And another Jobs-related nonsense is that people were so-in-the-fear of him. There are ancient scary tales from the past when it was true, but at all times people understood Jobs’ tamper, and they worked for him for decades. If they would be truly feared, then they could not perform that well. Also, no one was really fired by jobs in the latest decades just on a whim — however angry he could be with his tirades of rage.

    2. if all you think about is markets and shares
      then Cook is the right man for you.

      sadly Apple did not re-invent itself by the climb of market shares and stock pricing

      it has been and remains solely true – the products and quality and the simplicity of use – not the simplicity of design – made Apple what Apple has always been from the beginning

      the re-investion of Apple was the birth of iOS and
      hence Apple Inc. So the driving force is Apple’s iDevices – not the stock market… no matter how high or how low… Apple Inc is all about iOS and the spin off of OSX into smaller sweeter kinder simpler computing power – Kicking Scott out was the worse News yet for Apple… But the aftermath of those who have been in the shift for new positions will honestly be the crumble pie for Apple as it implodes. And so, mark my words today – like it or not – blame Tim Cook.

  1. Umm, No. Once and a while their stock goes on sale. It’s just time to buy more. They will undoubtedly have more products/updates closer to Christmas, sales will be fine.

    1. Exactly. Investors know what they are investing in. Fools gamble, and some get rich sometimes. Investors have done well with Apple. Screw everyone else, what use are they to Apple?

    2. apple already did from September to October. all updates, and new products are done. the question is how apple will sell many of them as many as possible? it won’t be better than last year. ipad mini will piss off apple performance.

  2. Analyst don’t analyze apple, they just say what they “fell” and they fell hate because apple is so hard to predict.
    With almost 200Billion in cash on hand, apple couldn’t care less for what analyst says or what small investors do. Shares could fall to 300.00 Dlls again and apple will remain very healthy.
    Apple only cares about making the best product on the planet and they still have plenty of cash to do that.

  3. The real answer is no one knows what is going on. It smells like political infighting, but who knows? Everything outside of Apple is conjecture. It is inference based on rumors, blogs, etc. No one knows, not MDN, not our fun little peanut gallery here, not the people who say this is great, not the people who say this is bad.

    1. I think Tim Cook is learning all the final ramifications of being CEO and that the buck stops with him. He needs to be more hands on making sure any product Apple ships is as bullet proof as possible and not take any exec’s word for it. Apple can no longer afford bad PR as the online press will always blow it up beyond all recognition and end up doring real damage to the stock and reputation.

  4. I’m getting sick of MDM headlines. You should identify the source of the articles in the title of the “teaser” links on your main page. For example “Marketwatch: Is Apple Starting to Unravel Without Steve Jobs?” This helps identify original Apple news from MDN and simple regurgitation from other sources. I feel a bit manipulated much as when a Rush Limbaugh radio babble link leads to that cute picture of him peering around an imaginary corner. I come to MDN for original Apple news and insight and I’d like to know the difference before I click.

  5. The sentiment in the headline seems to come from “Stephen Diamond, associate professor of law at Santa Clara University…”. An associate professor is one step above a barista.

    The school touts itself as the “oldest institution of higher learning” in California, founded in 1851 as a prep school and becoming a college in 1853. Apparently, they forgot about University of the Pacific, which actually is the oldest university west of the Mississippi, founded in 1851.

    Next MarketWatch will be reporting on investment strategies endorsed by Alec Baldwin’s barber and Joe the Plumber.

    1. Zeke the fact checker. They didn’t forget, Zeke, they never knew in the first place, didn’t care, were lazy and presumed, as usual, that their audience was lazier, gullible, stupid, and even if not they would still get away with it and live to lie, cheat, and steal another day. God, I hate the Internet.

  6. No no, the share price does not tell us of a major problem. A loss of $100 sounds severe, but that’s only about 15%, not much compared to the historical bear raids on this stock. Sell-offs used to exceed 40%. And when combined with a larger market meltdown, such as post Y2K and the Great Recession of 08/09 AAPL has dropped 80% and 60% respectively. In fact the long term numbers show AAPL down-turns getting shallower and of shorter duration, a refreshing turn toward stability, even while vastly out-performing the market. The dividend has surely helped reduce volatility and a large-factor split to qualify for the Dow would also get index funds to help. Of course trees don’t grow to the sky and another tripling of the share price seems unlikely, but provided this company can continue to out-innovate the competition, it is solid. But if we stop seeing a parade of new, transcendent Apple products, then it will unravel.

  7. “This isn’t the first time that senior executives have departed the company”

    It isn’t?!?!?
    They aren’t appointed for life???
    Shocked, absolutely shocked!

  8. I certainly wouldn’t say that Apple is “starting to unravel” without Steve Jobs. But on the other hand, let’s not forget that Tim Cook is the one who hired John Browett, who quickly proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was utterly unqualified for the job he was hired to do. Not a good sign, although everyone concerned is probably very relieved that the mistake was corrected sooner rather than later.

    1. Yeah, that thought makes me a little nervous too. And also why wasn’t Browett told “And whatever ever you do do not lay off employees, shorten their hours, shortchange store maintenance or lessen the consumer store experience one iota or you WILL be fired within 10 months.”

      I’ll bet the next guy will get this warning speech.

  9. If anything Apple had become a bit stagnant during Jobs’ illness. Remember, the iPod and iOS devices were mostly designed and creative decisions made prior to Jobs really becoming ill and requiring his leaves of absence. At that point, Apple seemed to coast along a bit, making updates to existing products but not really moving dramatically forward since the iPhone’s launch (let’s face it, the iPad is revolutionary, but it’s the same essential creation as the iPhone).

    I think this shows Tim Cook fully taking control of Apple and, after a period of fully evaluating how things would work without Steve Jobs, now putting his stamp on the company. And certainly nothing but good things can come from Jony Ive being in charge of software development.

    1. This is what I’ve been trying to get across to people. Having had cancer myself, I can attest to the fact that life gets very messy. Decisions get postponed, creativity is not high on the priority list, and everything just generally slows down. Apple had a few years of a CEO who was having major surgeries and trying to find a way not to die. It’s going to take a while to recover.

      On top of that, I would bet all of my Apple stock that Tim Cook decided very deliberately not to make any drastic moves until a year after SJ’s death. It’s the kind of thing smart people do. Well, now it’s been a year, and the Maps/Siri hiccups may or may not have played a part in Forstall’s departure. Maybe it was just time.

      As for Browett, nobody here knows exactly the circumstances of his hiring. Maybe it was entirely Cook’s doing, maybe there were other pressures and considerations. Maybe the board got involved. We don’t know. What we do know is that he corrected that situation. Frankly, I’m willing to give a brand new CEO flying solo for the first time a mulligan. If he hits another one into the rough, then I will begin to worry.

  10. For some reason reading “While analysts have tried to soothe investors that all is well with their beloved Apple” makes me think of someone wanting to justify gritty lubrication.

  11. Abandon ship! Apple has just rammed that proverbial iceberg and has already started to list $100 to starboard. “The Good Ship Lollipop” has turned into an “all day sucker.”

    I’m almost 1000% sure that this would never have happened if Steve Jobs were alive. Why did Apple let him go and die before cloning him? I’m having a very hard time remembering when Apple was at $700. It’s seems like an eon ago.

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