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What is Apple Without Steve Jobs? 281

Posted by Zonk
from the different-colored-apple dept.
necro81 writes "David Pauly at Bloomberg has written a piece that asks 'Does Apple Inc. Have a Future Without Steve Jobs?' He writes in the context of Jobs' latest success in launching the iPhone, set against the backdrop of stock backdating troubles. In Pauly's worst-case-scenario, the SEC prosecutes Apple, and the board is forced to oust Jobs.Even without resorting to such scenarios, it's an interesting question to ask the fanboys and detractors out there: could Apple succeed and continue to innovative without Jobs at the helm?"
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What is Apple Without Steve Jobs?

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  • they'll find a way (Score:5, Insightful)

    by User 956 (568564) on Friday January 12, 2007 @06:06PM (#17581890) Homepage
    In Pauly's worst-case-scenario, the SEC prosecutes Apple, and the board is forced to oust Jobs.

    They'll just bring him back as an "independent consultant" and it'll be business as usual.
    • by winkydink (650484) * <sv.dude@gmail.com> on Friday January 12, 2007 @06:37PM (#17582420) Homepage Journal
      No CEO would take the job under those terms. In fact, that's how Steve moved from iCEO to CEO... nobody wanted the CEO spot with Jobs in the picture.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by keytohwy (975131)
      I don't know. I saw the Jerry Garcia Band *after* Jerry died, and they sucked.
    • by DrXym (126579)
      He can become "Head of Entertainment" just like in a Mafia controlled casino.
    • by Alien54 (180860) on Friday January 12, 2007 @10:20PM (#17585194) Journal
      As Jerry Pournelle (long of Chaos Manor from Byte Magazine in ages past) has noted [jerrypournelle.com]

      The LA Times has a We Hate Gates series. Most of the press seems to have a similar crusade against Apple. One wonders if some press consortium has sold Apple stock short and is working to make it come true?

      Because whatever irregularities in the stock option of many years ago, Jobs has taken Apple from a struggling company to a major player, and the stockholders were rewarded with a 1200% stock value increase.

      Why regulations designed to protect minority stockholders are now being used to smear Jobs is a story someone with more resources than I have should dig into. I doubt it's really coincidence.
  • No Problem (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 12, 2007 @06:07PM (#17581918)
    No problem. They just need to replace him with someone else that's exactly the same.
  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday January 12, 2007 @06:10PM (#17581960) Homepage Journal

    It doesn't necessarily have to be Jobs, but I have a hard time imagining who else could be as effective. The Reality Distortion Field is a very real thing and must be taken into account. Anything Jobs says is automatically newsworthy. The black turtleneck has become an icon of geek chic. Apple and Jobs are, in the minds of the believers, inseparable.

    Regardless of who sits in the big chair, that person must positively sweat charisma. People have to want to believe them. And whatever else is true, they must never ever have worked for HP :D

    • by Skadet (528657) on Friday January 12, 2007 @06:21PM (#17582164) Homepage
      It's not Jobs per se that they need. It isn't Jobs himself that's important, it's the role of his position. He's far more publically involved than a lot of CEOs are. Apple has successfully turned the CEO position, and consequently Jobs, into the mouthpiece for Apple -- into the spokesgeek people adore. Jobs' successor would have to fill that role well, but it's silly to think that Jobs alone is the only one who can do the ... uh, job.
    • by The One and Only (691315) <[ten.hclewlihp] [ta] [lihp]> on Friday January 12, 2007 @06:36PM (#17582398) Homepage
      Apple had another CEO like that once. His name was John Sculley. Visionary, charismatic superstar...Sculley was even seated between Hillary Clinton and Alan Greenspan at Clinton's first State of the Union, for God's sakes! Long story made short, he burned out and made some mistakes, and Apple fell into the disaster that was the mid-to-late 90's. Jobs has been CEO longer than Sculley was, and he never made that mistake. (One crucial difference: like Jobs, Sculley had visionary ideas. One of them was the Newton. Unlike Jobs, however, Sculley was no perfectionist, and the Newton shipped prematurely. Sculley was also nowhere near the control freak Jobs is, and engineering fell out of his influence and under Gassee's.)
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by blugu64 (633729)
        Let us also note that it was Scully who helped oust steve back in the early 80's
      • by MsGeek (162936) on Friday January 12, 2007 @07:09PM (#17582976) Homepage Journal
        John Sculley was not the problem. Michael Spindler was. Spindler presided over the fiascos that marked the early PowerPC period, like the dreaded "Performa" machines. And contrary to popular belief, Apple was on its way to a turnaround before Apple bought NeXT. Gil Amelio was responsible for the revival of the PowerBook brand after the "PowerBook Flambe" fiasco, hired Jonathan Ive as industrial designer, and had greenlighted the iMac. Of course, when Amelio bought NeXT, he basically signed his own pink slip as the purchase meant Steve Jobs was back.

        I think after 10 years of The Steve back at the helm of Apple, the next CEO needn't be anywhere near as hands-on as The Steve is. They just need to avoid hiring someone as clueless as Spindler. The technological team Apple put together is good enough and strong enough to carry on unless a Spindler-level fuckup winds up at the reins. Amelio started the rebirth of Apple, The Steve kicked it into high gear. Apple will never be Dell. Perhaps that's for the best.
        • by The One and Only (691315) <[ten.hclewlihp] [ta] [lihp]> on Friday January 12, 2007 @08:00PM (#17583698) Homepage

          The root problems behind the Spindler-era failures did rest with Sculley. Sculley was the one who initiated the change to PPC, expanded the product line beyond all reason (the Performa started under the Sculley era as the home equivalent of the Quadra, while the LC became the education version), botched the Newton, and lost control of the company. Yet Sculley wasn't all bad. His conception of what computers would sell was more reality-based than Jobs, who opposed introducing hard drives to the Macintosh. If it wasn't for repeatedly falling on his face at NeXT, Steve Jobs would be as dangerous to Apple now as he was in the mid-80's.

          As for Amelio--absolutely. He did everything that was necessary to return Apple to profitability and ensure its future survival as a computer vendor. Amelio (and Fred Anderson, his CFO) made history by floating the largest bond issue yet at the time, but as a testament to the gamble, Apple shortly moved to a state of holding no long-term debt. Amelio also inaugurated the practice of slaughtering unnecessary and unfocused projects, eliminating a lot of Apple product lines. But if it wasn't for Jobs, there would have been no iPod or iPhone, no iTunes, dozens of clone vendors cannibalizing Apple's market share, and none of the marketing to underly these successes. Amelio gets a bad reputation because he lost a billion dollars in a single quarter, but that billion dollars has long since earned itself back in profit. About half of that went to buy NeXT, after all. Steve Jobs alone is probably worth a billion dollars to Apple--throwing in what would become Mac OS X is just gravy.

    • by Lumpy (12016)
      Sooo this guy would be out of the question then?
      WEll he sweats... [youtube.com]
  • by venicebeach (702856) on Friday January 12, 2007 @06:13PM (#17582008) Homepage Journal
    History says no. Apple without Steve was not the same...
  • What launch? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nelomolen (128271) on Friday January 12, 2007 @06:14PM (#17582030) Homepage
    Successful launch of the iPhone? What launch?

    They've only announced a future product, and the general sentiment seems to be that it won't be a hot seller. That's a far cry from being a success.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by bheer (633842)
      > Successful launch of the iPhone? What launch?

      Dude, you're killing my hard-on! Can we leave the facts for later? I need the Macworld high to last at least a couple of weeks so I can count the moments until I get my iPhone(tm) in the summer?

  • by ceeam (39911) on Friday January 12, 2007 @06:15PM (#17582048)
    What is Microsoft without Steve Ballmer?
  • Investor confidence (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kongjie (639414) <kongjieNO@SPAMmac.com> on Friday January 12, 2007 @06:15PM (#17582058)
    I guess there's a few questions in there. The article suggests that investors' confidence is based on Jobs. So if he goes, so will they.

    For me the more interesting question is how much of Apple's success can be ascribed to Jobs' leadership style. Perhaps that should be in quotes because he is rumored to be an asshole [typepad.com] to work for. Did his uncompromising behavior and standards create the iPod? Would it have been less of a hit if his vision didn't push it in the right direction? Or did it require a perfectionist?

    Clearly he won't settle for less than best in him employees--but viewing from the outside, it's hard to say if that helped or hindered Apple's success.

    • by cowscows (103644) on Friday January 12, 2007 @06:41PM (#17582496) Journal
      What I think is most important for a company like Apple is focus. And that focus needs to come from the top. Perfectionism is a double edged sword, and not really all that hard to find. It can enable you to make some really great things, but the nature of working that way means that you can only make so many great things, because perfectionism takes time.

      Before Jobs returned, Apple still made some cool stuff, and I'd imagine there were still plenty of smart, perfectionist engineers and such working there. But they were producing about 12 billion different projects, and there's just no way to get that many things right. The old Apple may have had all the technical and design oriented staff they needed to design the iPod, but it never would've happened, because an mp3 player project would've been competing with too many others for resources and talent.

      Steve Jobs' cult of personality and RDF are certainly a benefit. It gets them a good bit of free advertising and makes following Apple that much more fun. But his best contribution to Apple is his ability to focus the company's efforts in just a few directions, and usually in the right directions.

      If Jobs was out tomorrow, and they replaced him with a guy who was as boring as a stump in the ground, they'd still do alright as long as the replacement kept the company on task. There'd definitely be a short-term stock slump as investors got worried, and Macworld keynotes would probably be far less amusing, but Apple could survive, and continue to churn out cool stuff.

    • by poot_rootbeer (188613) on Friday January 12, 2007 @06:49PM (#17582640)
      Clearly he won't settle for less than best in him employees--but viewing from the outside, it's hard to say if that helped or hindered Apple's success.

      It's a peculiar argument to make that a greater tolerance for mediocrity could have in some way helped Apple's success.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by kongjie (639414)
        Let me be clearer. Jobs has a reputation for driving his employees hard and not accepting anything less than perfection. This puts him possibly in the realm of someone who is an "asshole" to work for. This is just rumored but since I don't work for Apple and Jobs, that's all I have to go on.

        The question is if his way of managing people makes a better product or not. Can product excellence be achieved without inspiring terror in your employees?

        Use Gordon Ramsey as a parallel, in the restaurant business--whic

  • Anecdotally... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Zaurus (674150) on Friday January 12, 2007 @06:18PM (#17582112)
    (Jobs) I loved Mac's in the 80's. High-res screens. Mice. Cool apps.

    (No Jobs) I hated Mac's in the 90's. Slow. Ugly (my opinion). No cool apps. Crashed as often as PC's (I worked at a graphic design firm, macs at work, pc's at home)

    (Jobs) I love Mac's in the...2000's(?). Beatiful. Fast. Tons of cool apps + lots of OSS stuff.

    So, anecdotally I'd say that Jobs makes a huge difference. That being said, I think Apple would still have a good chance if the Jobs appointees stayed in power after he left.
  • by zerrubabul (1050318) on Friday January 12, 2007 @06:19PM (#17582122)
    Apple without Steve Jobs would be like what De Lorean was without John De Lorean. No one really wanted De Loreans after John De Lorean left either.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      Well I think you're forgetting Dr. Emmett Brown.
  • it's an interesting question to ask the fanboys and detractors out there: could Apple succeed and continue to innovative without Jobs at the helm?"

    As the first result for a google search on mac fanboy [google.com], I feel qualified to answer this.

    Answer yes. Last time Jobs left, Apple was left with mediocre CEOs (who seemed determined to run Apple to the ground). It entirely depends on who replaces Jobs.
  • by aalobode (758863) on Friday January 12, 2007 @06:22PM (#17582182)
    Apple is too big to lose its viability on the basis of Jobs' departure. Remember that in c. 1984, he came out with the first Mac at a high price point, with a choice of features that restricted its power. The subsequent lackluster sales eventually led to his departure. Following that, he did not succeed with his NeXT project. And then he returned to a different Apple under different business circumstances etc. and both he and the company thrived.

    Today, he has produced a new phone with deliberate limitations, much like the Mac of 22 years ago. There's the chance it won't take off. Will that destroy Apple? No. All businesses strike out sometime or other. The good businesses have more successes than failures.

    If at this point, with the stock options stain, he has developed a sense of entitlement and therefore expects to get extra special treatment, then he will be a drag on the company, and he must go. The graveyards are full of tombs of irreplaceable men. Someone will step up and fill the void. As for innovation, do you think that the hordes of Apple designers and engineers are just a bunch of dodos?

  • Jonathan Ive (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Andy_R (114137) on Friday January 12, 2007 @06:22PM (#17582190) Homepage Journal
    Jobs is certainly a more charismatic figurehead than Gates or Ballmer, but plenty of companies do just fine without a reality distortion field, so why shouldn't Apple? I believe the key man behind Apple's current run of success may well be Jonathan 'Jony' Ive, not Steve Jobs.
    • Re:Jonathan Ive (Score:4, Insightful)

      by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday January 12, 2007 @06:37PM (#17582418) Homepage Journal
      plenty of companies do just fine without a reality distortion field, so why shouldn't Apple?

      Apple is as much about convincing you that their products are the best as they are about making good products, maybe more. How many Apple products without horrible flaws of some type can you come up with? Mostly it's a handful of laptops, like the second-gen iBook, the intel-based macbooks, some of the powerbooks, and a handful of their 68k machines... For example iPod has perhaps the best user interface of any mp3 player but the battery problem is a real problem and more to the point was totally unnecessary - and you have to use Apple's software. (I realize there's third party software with Apple support these days.) They could have put a door on the unit and specified a cellphone battery for chrissakes - In fact I have a cheesy little "digital camcorder" (glorified digital camera) that takes a Nokia battery, OR some AAA batteries.

      And of course, let's not mention that OSX is just about the most inconsistent OS I've ever seen short of Linux with athena widget, wxwindows, qt, and gtk apps all running at the same time. Some context menus will open on a click and let you click open submenus, some of them will close when you click on a submenu. Apple themselves uses three different widget sets. The OS may be relatively virusproof (an argument we could have all day, but I'm not going to) but it's not especially reliable and it's easy to get into a state where you have to reboot for things to work properly. The Dock resizes itself, destroying any use of muscle memory, but looking awfully pretty!

      I'm not saying that the competition is dramatically better or anything - and in many areas Apple has the best idea going, such as in their preferences system which I think is less opaque (especially to a new user) than anyone else's. But again, they are at least as much about style as they are about substance, and you need a salesman to sell style. Substance sells itself, although granted, to a different crowd - and some Apple buyers ARE buying based on functionality. Maybe even the majority.

      • by kongjie (639414)
        I don't buy your thesis that's Apple's success is due to its ability to convince us that its products are the best.

        You don't like OS X; lots of other people do. I've never had a problem with Mac hardware; I changed my own battery in my first-generation iPod--after four years of life--and thanks to the upgrade get 20 hours of battery life.

        Can you name another corporation that has thrived because it convinced people its product was good and it really wasn't? If people didn't like iPods and Macs the company wo

      • Re:Jonathan Ive (Score:5, Insightful)

        by mollymoo (202721) on Friday January 12, 2007 @07:48PM (#17583552) Journal
        For example iPod has perhaps the best user interface of any mp3 player but the battery problem is a real problem [...]

        The thing is, it simply isn't a real problem for the majority of customers. Hard-to-replace batteries were all over the news for a while, but Apple still sells iPods by the bucketload. Apple realised that a sleek exterior and minimum size and weight sell much better than inconvenience a few years down the line. For most customers, a battery cover you can remove with your thumb or a coin is an unnecesarry cost (in terms of style and weight, not cash). I bet Apple have figures on how many replacement batteries are sold for consumer electronics (generally, not just iPods). I'd like to see those figures, but my guess is few are ever sold. You get them for mobile phones and laptops, though I suspect that market is more about increasing runtime than replacing ageing batteries. When I walk into an electronics store I do not generally see racks of replacement batteries for non-Apple MP3 players. Where I have seen replacement batteries they are right next to the kits to replace your iPod battery.

        Part of Apple's success comes from challenging the conventional wisdom. There's no point making the sleep light pulse, is there? There's no point adding a speaker so the click wheel actually clicks, is there? Nobody would want an all-in-one PC & monitor that they couldn't upgrade, would they? Well, it turns out that when you do lots of those 'silly' things and get rid of 'essential' features like no-tools battery replacement the result is devices that people want to buy.

  • Oh I don't know. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Spazntwich (208070) on Friday January 12, 2007 @06:22PM (#17582194)
    I'm sure Steve's influence on the company's success is overrated. They did just fine [lowendmac.com] without him, launching many successful [forbes.com] products [wikipedia.org] under the wise leadership of their brilliant [wikipedia.org] interim [wikipedia.org] CEOs [wikipedia.org].
  • In Pauly's worst-case-scenario, the SEC prosecutes Apple, and the board is forced to oust Jobs.

    Forced, how? Because if they oust Jobs, Apple's future looks brighter? It's stock goes up? You're kidding, right?
  • by zoftie (195518)
    He's the asshole in charge that knows his shit. He worked in electronics parts retail and I bet none of the MBA groomed directors/boardmembers/whatevers had ever such jobs pertinent to their business. He gets things his way, and most of the time he is right. I am not apple fanboi, I use many platforms, but you can really admire his affinity for simple things. Its almost like zen. He is a role model too for many nerds in that way.
    Without steve jobs they still have long way to go , but slope will change direc
  • by bealzabobs_youruncle (971430) on Friday January 12, 2007 @06:26PM (#17582266)
    Wall Street will punish Apple in a huge way if Jobs goes, either by choice or force. For many people Jobs is Apple, and the useless analyst at places like Gartner will paint awesome forecast of doom when Jobs does go.
  • Don't Change Course (Score:3, Interesting)

    by prozac79 (651102) on Friday January 12, 2007 @06:30PM (#17582312)
    They would survive without Jobs since they now have some momentum in certain areas such as digital music and consumer electronics. As long as they make incremental, evolutionary improvements to their already-existing popular products, they will do fine. Now that they have a name with things like the iPod, they just need to make sure that it remains perceived as "cooler" than the other devices which means making small changes (bigger screens, touchscreens, higher capacity, smaller size, etc.). They might get in trouble if Jobs was replaced by someone who wanted to take the company in a "completely new direction". Just look at HP as an example of what new directions can do to a good company. Or look at what almost happened to Apple when they let Steve go before.
  • by postbigbang (761081) on Friday January 12, 2007 @06:30PM (#17582322)
    He's good, he's smart, he's richer than Cresus. He's the master of drama and slick stuff that works. He did very little himself, however, except running a tight ship.

    Apple is not a marketleader, save in one very popular segment. Don't mistake that for being IBM-- they're less than 1/10th the size. He knows how to talk to Hollywood, because he IS HOLLYWOOD-- that's where Pixar and Disney get their $$ from.

    Apple ought to break up into three companies: entertainment systems, computer systems, and software. Each would work nicely on their own, and be able to then attack their respective marketplaces less encumbered by the other. If they actually opened up things (no, don't look at the iPhone stupidity), they'd get the best of both worlds, as their BSD 'pedigree' is a bit of a sham.

    Jobs ought to retire while we still like him, after choosing someone without a pony tail (sorry, Jonathon).
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      "Apple ought to break up into three companies: entertainment systems, computer systems, and software. Each would work nicely on their own, and be able to then attack their respective marketplaces less encumbered by the other. "

      Oh... you mean like Sony.
    • by cowscows (103644)
      At the risk of sounding incredibly fanboy-ish, I'd say that you could accurately call Apple a leader in the computer hardware market, the OS market, as well as the MP3 player market and the online music market. While they only are at the top of sales for two of those markets, they still manage to produce computers and software that are highly regarded, and they make money doing that as well. If you look at the term "market leader" purely in terms of units shipped, well Apple is certainly not putting up the
  • by plusser (685253) on Friday January 12, 2007 @06:30PM (#17582326)
    If Steve Jobs left Apple now, it is conceivable that the first thing that would happen is that he would become CEO of Disney. If Steve Jobs became CEO of Disney, the first thing he would do is buy Apple Inc - business as usual. Why - quite simple. Sony makes films and also makes consumer electronics. There are considerable benefits in doing both, so by buying Apple Disney get in on the market. It is something called Vertical Integration - an old business model that coming back into fashion.
    • by winkydink (650484) *
      If Steve were forced out of the CEO slot by the Feds, it's likely that he would not be able to hold an officer position in any publicly-traded company. Nice try though.
  • High standards (Score:5, Insightful)

    by moderators_are_w*nke (571920) on Friday January 12, 2007 @06:31PM (#17582338) Journal
    Somebody within Apple (strongly rumored to be Jobs) who has a lot of power has exceptionally high standards for design an usability, and this is why we get iPod+iTunes from Apple (killer app - even my little sister can rip CDs onto it) and Media Player+Some strange OLED WMA player from others.

    Thats the key, somebody who will say no to an average product which would make a fair amount of money until its even better. If they lose that, they're the same as everyone else and they can't command premium prices anymore.
  • Jobs himself seems to be clean with respect to the stock-options fiasco, so I have a hard time seeing how he could be "forced out". And it seems highly unlikely at this point that Apple's board (which is a lot friendlier toward Jobs than the board which ousted him way back when -- these days, Apple is controlled almost entirely by friends of Steve) would ever want to get rid of him in the absence of legal force requiring it. A better hypothetical to pose is what would happen if/when Jobs ever decides to ret

  • by w3woody (44457) on Friday January 12, 2007 @06:41PM (#17582490) Homepage
    The one thing Steve Jobs has been is ruthless in getting well-thought out design and integrated software projects working across multiple product teams, so that the final user experience is a unified one across most of Apple's products.

    Compare this to Sony's reported "silo" approach to developing hardware, software and services, music and video--where many times individual managers within Sony actively squabble over the right approach to take, each fueled more by the individual needs of each division within Sony rather than the needs of the overall company. Such a "silo" mentality is inevitable at any large company unless someone at the top actively forces people to work together for the benefit of the entire company rather than for the individual gains of a particular division.

    I don't know if there is a technologically savvy enough uber-geek asshole out there which could replace Steve Jobs if he were to leave Apple--which means Apple would eventually fall back on the habits it had under Spindler and Amelio, where every division internally competed without any sort of unified direction, beyond the imperitive that the sell something.
  • Apple would do just fine without Steve, because the management under him understands why the company has been successful since Steve returned, and has enough common sense not to change the formula unless its obvious that the change makes the company stronger. These are not stupid people.

    At this point, Steve immerses himself in product development because he has fun doing it, not because he doesn't trust the people under him to do a good job without his involvement. Does he think his presence in the proc

  • But they need Jobs to sell the innovations to the public and the media. No one does that better. He gives Apple its style, not its technical ideas. Without him and without a worthy replacement (can anybody name a successor?), the same thing that happened to them in the Sculley era might repeat itself: riding a few years on the strength of their existing winners, then a slow decline until suffocation or rescue.

    The main problem is that Jobs and the company are viewed primarily as symbiotic to one another. Can
  • Even if they did have to oust him, what would keep him from consuting with Apple on new products, etc? Even if he couldn't do the keynotes, he'd sure vet whoever did. As a consultant, of course.
  • Apple needs Steve Jobs like a fish needs a bicycle. I think. Or maybe like a woman needs a man. No, that isn't right... when a man loves a woman... ugh forget it

  • by dafragsta (577711) on Friday January 12, 2007 @06:50PM (#17582658)
    When he dies, they'll just replace him with another guy in a turtleneck. No one will know the difference. Mac users are more emotional than logical anyway. ;)
  • I'm an investor in Apple and I also work in the investment industry. My take is that Apple would lose about 40% of its market value immediately if Jobs got the boot. At today's price that's about $37 Billion of equity going poof, supposedly in the name of protecting Apple's shareholders. Sure, some or all of that value might come back eventually. But the point is, it's never going to happen. The regulators might find some way to publicly reprimand him, but he's too important to the company --- and he's
  • What is Apple Without Steve Jobs?
    Hewlett-Packard, post-Carly Fiorina.
  • Those are very strange definitions for "success" and "launching". First, they haven't sold a single unit yet. Second, they won't sell any for another 6 months. Third, the response among potential purchasers went from zealotry to "Actually, that kind of sucks" in less time than it took to break an iPhone touchscreen. The iPhone (in its current form) is shaping up to be Apple's PS3.
    • I've got to remember to save all these posts. They'll be as amusing as all the iPod is a flop posts in a few years - and those were priceless! Great content!
  • One thing not mentioned is that AAPL has split twice since Steve Jobs returned. Both were 2:1. So if you bought 500 shares of AAPL back then at $10 a share ($5000), at yesterday's record close, your shares would have been worth $196,000. That's pretty good for 10 years. If you had bought MSFT at the same price, in 1997, it would be worth $124,000. Still pretty good.
  • Even if the real Steve Jobs is fired, we'll always have The Fake Steve Jobs [blogspot.com] to inspire and comfort us.
  • Willy Wonka (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Pengo (28814) on Friday January 12, 2007 @07:11PM (#17583004) Journal

    It is actually exciting to live in a time where we have a CEO like Jobs. He's the only example of a true living Willy Wonka in my lifetime.

    I can't think of one more individual like Steve that inspires me to not only pull out my wallet and hand over thousands of dollars, but do it with a smile.

  • Do people really think Apple can maintain their mighty 3% marketshare without Steve Jobs?

    It's like I've entered like a parallel universe where nobody remembers anything. Apple has ALWAYS struggled. Just because they succeed in one market doesn't mean they're some sort of divinely graced company. Even under Jobs' leadership they've had plenty of failures.
  • I used to think that Apple would be doomed without him, but since his decision to lock down the iPod to open development, I have to question that. Obviously, the guy makes incredibly stupid decisions at times. The things he brings are 1) salesmanship, 2) perfectionism in design and usage (empathy for users), and 3) motivator for engineers at Apple. His skills as a salesman are undisputed and rarely matched. As a chief visionary and leader of the design teams, he certainly has beneficial impulses in usabilit
    • I meant his decision to lock down the iPhone, not the iPod. For the market the iPod is targetting as a media player, as long as you can load standard media files onto it, not being able to load new 3rd party software is not really an issue. For a smart phone, however, it's just plain wrong.
  • No, pretty much! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Enrique1218 (603187) on Friday January 12, 2007 @07:20PM (#17583180) Journal
    Apple without Jobs showmanship really wouldn't be the same. Apple is a company that profits by pushing envelope to develop products and then requiring high price for it. That business plan is inherently unstable yet Apple thrives with it. The only reason that works is because Jobs has a good technical background to define a direction for a product and the showmanship to get people excited about it. The iPhone announcement illustrates this beautifully. He took the spotlight off CES, had the attention of major news outlets, and generally had people excited with a product that might be fraught with too many limitations for its price. Steve Ballmer can't do that, but that is exactly Apple's bread and butter. I don't think Jobs has any formal college degrees, yet, he undeniably has the qualities needed to be a good "Apple" CEO. Apple with any other CEO would not be what is Apple today. We will one day have to accept that ineveitable change.
  • The Next One (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Moby Cock (771358) on Friday January 12, 2007 @07:31PM (#17583342) Homepage
    Is Jonathon Ives.
  • by Lumpy (12016) on Friday January 12, 2007 @07:46PM (#17583528) Homepage
    Then put Woz at the wheel. The man is incredible, when you meet him you cant not like the man. He has great ideas, Is an incredible prankster (we need a CEO prankster to shake up the industry) and actually knows what he talks about.

    Problem is, Woz will never EVER do it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by GaryPatterson (852699)
      The real problem with that is that Steve Wozniak doesn't have enough business acumen to lead a big company like Apple.

      Imagine him negotiating with the RIAA.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by dangitman (862676)
      Like I said before - a cuddly baby tapir. I'm just not sure that baby tapirs have the aggressiveness needed to run a business like Apple.
  • Expect him to be the successor if and when Steve Jobs steps down.

    If you don't know who he is, he's the designer who came up with the iMac, iPod and iPhone designs.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Ive [wikipedia.org]
  • by joshsnow (551754)
    I seem to have adopted a new role over the past few days; Apple Fan boys Advocate. But is that about to come to an end?

    You see, I think Apple without Steve Jobs is like Virgin without Richard Branson. Branson is the Spirit of the Virgin group, know for his wacky publicity stunts and appearing to be a harmless, benign hippy, while in reality, being an unlikely corporate billionaire. Indeed, one of his business rivals so underestimated him that he referred to Branson as "The grinning pullover".

    Not that Jobs h
  • by amper (33785) * on Saturday January 13, 2007 @12:00AM (#17586242) Journal
    Oh, really now. Why is it that everyone always seems to start dropping their panties the minute somebody mentions the name Steve Jobs? I mean, I'm as much (or more) of an Apple (and Steve Jobs) fanboy as anybody you care to name, but the fact of the matter is that it's quite well documented that Steve Jobs can be a complete and utter dickhead and/or spiteful jackass when it suits him. Not that he has anything even remotely approaching a monopoly on that sort of behavior.

    Is he a genius? In some ways, yes, in others, no. But very often, Steve has proven that concepts which really ought to be, and sometimes *are*, obvious to most people are very often concepts which they will either willfully ignore, or are too terrified to embrace. What makes Steve special is the fact that he doesn't accept the current state of technology (ever), and he brooks very little in the way of compromise when it comes to product design. As the saying goes, Steve wants everything he has a hand in making to come out "insanely great". Sometimes he misses the mark, but he's right more often than not because it's clear that he gives a shit about the product (and in his own small way, the people) rather than just wanting to make a load of greenbacks. Not that Steve doesn't want to make money, because obviously he has, but he does it by making some really cool shit happen.

    Aside from the considerable mystique that Steve has built up over the years, it really wouldn't be all that hard to replace him. In fact, I will only semi-jokingly propose that Apple replace Steve Jobs with *me*. Seriously. I'd love to have the job, and I'd even do it for a modest salary because I think it would be one of the coolest jobs on the face of the Earth and I don't really *need* all that much money, in the end.

    Here's what you need to be the next Steve Jobs:

    1. The ability to see beyond what technology has become to what it ought to be. This is the most essential aspect. Steve Jobs ranks up there with the greatest figures in the history of computing when it comes to a vision about what the role of technology should be in our lives.
    2. A black mock turtleneck. Simple, understated, not quite elegant, highlights your face on camera, and makes you look slimmer, to boot.
    3. Friends and associates like Steve Wozniak, Jonathan Ive, Andy Hertzfeld, Avi Tevanian, etc (not to mention a whole bunch of people over at Pixar). Go take a look at the list of people who have worked for Apple and/or Pixar and what they've done. It's freaking shocking. Apple alone has, over the years, made both Microsoft and Google combined look like a bunch of kindergarteners. And Pixar? Do I even need to go into it?
    4. The willpower not to accept a compromised design. Don't settle for less than "insanely great". Money isn't everything, you know, and it's not even the only thing.
    5. And, of course, target the high end of the market, and make no apologies for it. Quality over quantity.

    That's it, really. It's not all *that* difficult. Unfortunately, even most people involved with technology tend to forget that it's not all about the actual techie bits. It's also about design and philosophy, and a whole lot of other fuzzy ideas about Life, the Universe, and Everything that most brainiac gearheads have a difficult time wrapping their eggheads around. Those of us who can *do* exist, though we may be a extremely small subset of the population.

We can predict everything, except the future.

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