Can Apple’s design guru Jony Ive fill Steve Jobs’ shoes?

“When Steve Jobs died on Oct. 5, 2011, many investors were afraid the company’s best days were now in the past. The legacy leader, many argued, is simply irreplaceable,” Daniel Sparks writes for The Motley Fool. “With Apple’s (AAPL) stock severely lagging the S&P 500’s 47% surge since Jobs’ death, investors are desperate.”

“Arguably, Apple hasn’t yet had the time to prove itself since his passing. But a year and a half later, investors are tired of waiting,” Sparks writes. “Apple needs another wave of innovation. In hopefulness, heads are turning toward Apple’s design guru, Jony Ive.”

Sparks writes, “As Time Magazine wrote [of Ive]: ‘His genius is not just his ability to see what others cannot but also how he applies it. To watch him with his workmates in the holy of holies, Apple’s design lab, or on a night out is to observe a very rare esprit de corps. They love their boss, and he loves them.'”

Read more in the full article here.

46 Comments

  1. I don’t want to diss TC or anything but the title “Can Apple’s design guru Jony Ive fill Steve Jobs’ shoes?” makes me wonder if it would be better for Apple to move Ivy to CEO and Timmy would be the next chairman of the board with added responsibilities.

    Give Ivy free rein..at least for a while. Thoughts about this?

      1. No one within the company, including Jobs, EVER considering Ive to run the company. (Nor there was information that Ive ever wanted.) Ive is person of art, and he was never meant to wear Jobs’ shoes. He could only “replace” part of Jobs.

        Operations are more important for the company in terms of head government. There is no way Ive is capable of this work. He never managed anything than group of designers under him.

    1. Really? Jony ive’s background and talent is not appropriate for running a company the size of Apple. Let him do what he does best and let Tim Cook run the company. Steve Jobs was a once in a life time leader, let the guys sort this crap out.

      1. I don’t have anything personal against Tim Cook. I merely question Apple’s motives about not wanting to dominate the smartphone industry when they had the chance. They shouldn’t have let it slip through their hands so easily. I mean, look at Google pouring it on with their search engine business and still managing to undermine Apple’s smartphone business with Android.

        Apple isn’t doing a damn thing to cripple Google. Why doesn’t Apple throw a few punches instead of just taking punches all the time? Apple just isn’t aggressive enough as a company. No major acquisitions, no incredible platform services. Just a pile of unused cash and a crappy share price of $450. Google will be well past $1000 before Apple gets back to $500. Unbelievable for a company that was once claimed to be heading for a trillion dollar market cap.

        1. How did Apple have the chance to dominate the cellphone industry (more than they did and do)? For most of the time since the first iPhone was introduced, it has been supply-constrained, I.e., they have been selling as fast as they could make them. The law of supply and demand suggests the price may be too low, not too high. They can’t make more because they don’t want to compromise quality.

        2. Apple never anticipated that Google could usurp Apple technology and get away with it bt court delays and thieving partners like Samesung. Jury rules against Samesung and awaards damages and not one penny has changed hands and not one injunction allowed. The other issue early on was Apple’s inability to keep up with demand caused in part by their design and their suppliers. Then it had to work its way out of Samesungs supplier relations ship and build a whole new logistics chain. Even Steve did not foresee the underhandedness of Samesubg.

        3. LB48,
          “I merely question Apple’s motives about not wanting to dominate the smartphone industry when they had the chance. They shouldn’t have let it slip through their hands so easily. ”

          Its really clear here that you do not understand how things work in the real world . Dell had marketshare for years, and kept making less and less money. Finally they are almost out of money and customers. But Marketshare, its everything, right???

          Apple could sell cheaper phones, ones that break in a year so you have to buy more phones. Yes selling lots of things sound good, but does 97% malware share??? Well who cares, lets make crap, sell lots and make money. Then we can go out of business in style. Thats good, right??

          Apple is trying to make the best products that people just love. And that last. My iPhone 3G still runs fine. I use it as a music player but if I needed to, I could connect in and make phone calls. (Don’t need the extra cost but could).

          Just a thought.

          1. Certainly true that you cant dominate the Smartphone sector with one current model even if only because people don’t want to be seen as going with the crowd and because you cant cover enough of the market. trouble is they did not as neither did Google that one company would so dominate the Android market place and thus be able to monetise it enough to build and market itself into such a dominant position and sustain it. However that hardly inspires faith in the leader but quite clearly not producing another model (at least) was a big, shortsighted and predictable mistake which resulted purely because the wish was to maintain as high a profit margin as possible and thus impose that given solution. They got the balance wrong and ignored the iPod precedent for some reason.

      2. Apple was Jobs baby, his company, his passion. And having a second chance running his creation truly was at the core that drove his success – that can not be replicated with Tim or Jonny – those two just don’t have the same passion.

      1. Ive would quit Apple and move back to the UK with his family before he’d accept being CEO. His personality is not that of showman or leader. He is a creator/producer with zero interest in any schmoozy stuff which is requisite for crossing over into a leadership roll. He is already reluctant to simply show up on documentary videos at Apple presentations.

        Diversity rulz in nature and in business. Ive knows his talents.

    2. I think even Steve Jobs would have been under the same pressure to speed up the periods between innovative products had he lived. Jobs would not have been left off the hook and investors would still be as impatient. The speed of technology has shifted and changed too much in the last few years and long periods of relative low innovative or disruptive product activity will no longer be as tolerated.

    3. Seriously, do you even know know what a CEO does? Ive is perhaps the worst choice at Apple to serve as CEO. I’m still waiting for all the Cook bashers to present the name of a single legitimate alternative to Tim.

  2. I think if they learn to work well together, and Tim Cook learns how to look at a product and ask himself, “Is this something I’d use, enjoy using? Is it something I didn’t know I needed or wanted? I’ve got more money than god, but would I still stand in line for it? Or is this a piece of shit that better never see the light of day,” they’ll be fine.

  3. Down the line I could see Jony taking the reins from Cook but right now he just needs to do what he’s world renown for… designing things.

    TC is exactly what Apple needs right now. Calm, persistent, aggressive but subtle and not easily rattled. The future looks VERY bright at Apple. There will always be detractors and naysayers though. Gotta roll with the punches.

  4. When Scott Forstall was still at Apple some argued he should be CEO. There was even a Fortune profile by Adam Lashnsky which claimed he was “CEO in waiting”. What makes Forstall CEO material but not Ive? Ive may not have been knowledgeable in Software but what did Forstall know about hardware or manufacturing? Ive doesn’t need to be CEO to have a lot of power at Apple.

  5. I don’t think he ever wanted to fill those shoes.
    He doesn’t even go on stage during the product presentations.
    In fact, the only time we saw him on a stage was at that “Remember Steve” show shortly after Steve Jobs died.
    He’s a behind-the-scenes-guy, like Bob Mansfield.
    I’m glad the Apple exec team doesn’t (entirely) consist of lime-light greedy, back-stabbing, fiefdom-building bastards that have ruined so many companies before.
    I also don’t buy the “Fire Tim Cook” propaganda. It’s mostly coming from people who couldn’t even run a state-granted monopoly successfully.

    1. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jony Ive take stage at the next WWDC, given how he is in charge of the operating updates being discussed. He’ll probably just do his video clip instead like he always does, but who knows.

  6. People who judge the effectiveness of one of the world’s largest companies in terms of one or two individuals are people with teeny, tiny minds.

          1. Poor fanboi. Life must be unbearable without Steve Jobs. It must be torture knowing that Jobs won’t be returning on a white steed. It must be excrutiating to have to deal with the anxiety and worry. No need to lash out. Heal your wounds, fanboi, grow up, get a pair. In the meantime here’s a hanky.

  7. Steve had a quote that seems relevant nowadays: “Real artists ship.” Been a strangely long while since the oompa loompas have sent anything out beyond the gates of the Wonka factory. 🙂

  8. How can Ive replace Steve Jobs? Ive doesn’t have a Reality Distortion Field and never did. Wall Street is making sure that no one can ever take the place of Steve Jobs which will forever prevent Apple from being valued as a normal company. It would be like trying to replace Jesus Christ or St. Mother Theresa with some ordinary mortal.

  9. Ive doesn’t need to fill Jobs’ shoes. When Steve was running Apple, the company was run co-operatively with a small team of very powerful and highly motivated people working together to make the very best possible products. It’s that team that made Apple unique and that team will continue to make Apple unique.

    That ethos remains every bit as strong as it ever was. Steve is no longer around, but the team that Steve built is firing on all cylinders and will prove the doubters wrong.

  10. As someone who worked for Apple retail for 6 years and in pretty much every role I could there is one phrase that management would use all the time that sticks out to me here and that is do the job that only you can do. Sure Ive may be able, though I doubt it, to be CEO but who would fill his shoes? There is no one that we know of publicly at least that could take Ive’s place and Apple would be very foolish, which they know and which is why they never would, to put Ive in that role. People need to give Tim Cook more time before they start judging his performance. Yes it has been 1.5 years or so but product transition, design, development etc is not something that happens fast. Not if you want quality. It would be so easy Tim to just order his team to crank out new products and half baked services more quickly but imagine the backlash then. We all know how hard it is to please the market now when it comes to Apple. Nothing is ever good enough. But screw the market. Apple doesn’t cater to them because that’s not the driving force behind what they do. Which is why they would never pull a bone head move like putting a design master in a CEO position. Ridiculous thought. If that ever happened then I would seriously start to question Apple’s decision making processes and would truly start I worry about them. As of right now though they have an all star team who, I feel, is on the verge of releasing a ton of new products/services. I feel like this is the calm before the storm. No matter what the market thinks of the products or how the stock performs I know that my life will be even more enriched by what Apple has in store and I am stoked to see what’s next. Apple for life!

    1. No one single person but the beauty of Jobs is that his best gift to us and what will likely be his biggest legacy is the culture he created within Apple. He demanded from his team things most other teams will never deal with always with the sole purpose of making the best possible experience for the end user. Some will argue that the only reason Apple is in business is to make money and sure, what company does anything for free. But where Apple differs is that they understand that the money, which they make hand over fist, is just a natural by product of having a phenomenal product. Which is why Apple’s customers are so loyal. They are more than happy to give their hard earned money to a company that has their best interest in mind and shows it by making “insanely great” products that enrich the lives of their customers. And so even with Steve gone, while there truly is no one person that will ever have as profound an effect on the world as he did, his team and I suspect many teams in the future understand that if they always keep the customer in mind and make that the reason for all decisions that are being made, whether that be how the products look or feel to how the supply chain is being run to how the Apple stores are laid out, then they will be successful. Steve worked hard to make sure of that. Hence Apple’s internal Apple University. Steve knew it wasn’t all about him and planned appropriately. So again, thanks Steve!

  11. I think the last thing in the world Jony Ive would want is to be Apple’s CEO. But what exactly precludes him from taking the the top spot? According to Steve Jony has more operational power than anyone else at Apple besides him. Steve also said Jony was more than a designer and that’s why Jony reported directly to him. So what is it exactly that makes Ive non-CEO material? That he doesn’t have an MBA? Or doesn’t have some fancy degree from an Ivy League university?

    1. Definitely a good point. I think it’s more that Jony’s talents are better used in design. I think the point Steve made about Jony having that op power had more to do with Jony understanding Steve’s vision so fully and being such a core part and playing such a vital role in all of Apple’s success since the first iMac that he was basically A not The top dog within Appke corporate that other than Steve there was and is no one that really had authority over him. Tim now does of course as new CEO but I feel that is more of a formality than anything. Someone has to lead and be in charge. But I would put money on the fact that if Jony has something to say about something important his words wil be more than heeded. He has worked with Tim long enough and directly with Steve as a cohesive team that it’s not like he is having to earn his role or respect from Tim. Again I really feel it’s all about the people within Apple doing what they do best. I have no doubt Jony could lead Apple as the whole team generally loves him. He thinks very much like Steve did in all things design. Doesn’t mean he is the right fit to run a company. And Steve knew that. Jony prob had a better relationship with Steve than anyone at Appke and still Steve recommended Tim as a replacement. If we as Apple fans trusted all of Steve’s decisions up to that point then we need to trust that one too. That is what I think people are quick to forget. Steve knew what he was doing and if we didnt we probably wouldn’t be posting on a forum dedicated to one company. RIP Steve.

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