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How Apple Could Survive Without Steve Jobs

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the on-a-mountain-of-money dept.

Businesses 331

ThousandStars writes "The Wall Street Journal asks How Apple Could Survive Without Steve Jobs: '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.'"

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This goes for many companies (4, Insightful)

cerberusss (660701) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159051)

Meh... Same thing could be said about Oracle or Microsoft. Answer is; it depends.

Re:This goes for many companies (4, Insightful)

imamac (1083405) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159075)

It depends on how well Steve is preparing his successors. And it seems he is working at pretty hard and getting them involved in the media aspect, which is one of the biggest parts. (The distortion field must continue...)

Re:This goes for many companies (5, Funny)

CmdrPorno (115048) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159305)

I think Microsoft or Oracle would get along just fine without Steve Jobs.

Re:This goes for many companies (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26159321)

nigga stole my joke

Absolutely not! (5, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159361)

Everytime I see a new Apple discussion - like before (and after) the iPhone introduction or now on various products - I see a big set of geeks just not GET IT. By it, I mean the popularity of Apple products, by doing a checklist feature comparison like the back of a software box - as if all checkmarks indicated the same quality. Not all checkmarks are created equal;)

Anyway, I would suggest that Apple look at how Fashion powerhouses handle succession, and not the typical technology company. Perhaps it would give them a better idea how to handle transistion in a creative enterprise and not just a purely technical one.

Re:Absolutely not! (2, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159449)

Maybe they could hire Tim Gunn [] to take over after Jobs. He could update that tired old turtleneck and tell the engineers to "make it work."

Re:Absolutely not! (2, Insightful)

Cally (10873) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159551)

Fashion houses typically go bust or are taken over when the founder dies or retires.

Re:Absolutely not! (5, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159639)

Fashion houses typically go bust or are taken over when the founder dies or retires.


Chanel, Hilfinger and many more have thrived or even gotten bigger after the death of the founder. Valentino also comes to mind and if I go look at a copy of Vogue I could give you a half a dozen other names.

But I'm not going to do that because I'm not gay. Really.

Honey, come here and tell these guys I'm not gay.

Re:Absolutely not! (4, Informative)

Cally (10873) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159791)

Er,... Hardy Amies?

Versace? OK, so Donatella's still flogging crap but doncha wish she wasn't?

Yves St Laurent?

Ironically, I am a bit of a poof, but I don't own a stitch of designer clothing.

Re:Absolutely not! (4, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159565)

You mean not all check marks are as shiny as others?

No, I don't get it. The iPhone is not a quantum leap in smart phones. It's pretty, sure, apple design their stuff well, but it's not revolutionary. Neither is/was the iPod. More than that, apple take steps to lock people in to their software and hardware interfaces.

So yes, pretty, generally a good UI. However I'm damned if I'm running iTunes or letting Steve decide what I can do with my phone.

Life isn't just about checkmarks, but releasing a product with less checkmarks and then hyping it as the way forward gets to some folks.

Re:Absolutely not! (5, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159881)

It's easy to say that, but when you take Apples "Less functional" product and set it next to a "More functional" product you can really see a difference.

I'm not a fan of their computers, and I don't think much of their design decisions there. But take the iPod vs Every other music player, and it's just sad. Sure, other had more space, sure others supported more codecs, but the iPod blows them away in usability and style (except in the never-to-be-sufficiently-damned annoyance of having to get a third party app to get music off the iPod on to a new computer.)

Likewise the iPhone. It's slick and intuitive. Sure there were more functional crackberries and palms out there, but they didn't have the full touchscreen, and they didn't have the same sort of development environment...Crippled as it is, people are lining up to make apps for the iPhone.

And what happens after the iPhone comes out? Everyone else gets a touchscreen phone. They look similar. They have the same or better features. And they just don't work as well. The Blackberry "Storm" is a dog...The software support is terrible, and it's not as responsive.

They make decisions that cause problems for high end users, but we are the niche, not everyone else. And techies are still getting the iPhone, they're just bitching about it.

Re:Absolutely not! (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#26160231)

"we are the niche, not everyone else."

And we're the ones that understand stuff. That sort of thing makes me sad.

Re:Absolutely not! (1)

MrMarket (983874) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159663)

If I were the board, I'd make Ives a figurehead CEO, and put him in charge of the strategic direction of the company with regards to meeting consumer demands, and put in a strong CFO/COO to manage the business.

Re:Absolutely not! (2, Informative)

inline_four (594390) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159773)

Just because something is popular, doesn't imply it's popular on its creative merits. Britney Spears is a lot more popular than Sonic Youth, for example.

Re:This goes for many companies (1)

DannyO152 (544940) | more than 5 years ago | (#26160067)

Will Newscorp survive without Rupert Murdoch?

Re:This goes for many companies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26160189)

Look how well Microsoft HASN'T done since the departure of Gates and try to repeat that statement...

Re:This goes for many companies (2, Insightful)

Inconexo (1401585) | more than 5 years ago | (#26160229)

Seriously? Do you think that Balmer has half the charisma as Jobs? Telling apart the Oracle guy, far less known. A big portion of the Apple success is about image. And the image is a bit linked to Jobs (but not so much, I think). I'd say Microsoft success happens in spite of their image.

The Title (0, Redundant)

Van Cutter Romney (973766) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159077)

"The Wall Street Journal asks How Apple Could Survive Without Steve Jobs

That's not a question. It's a statement - or a hypothesis at best.

Re:The Title (1)

xerxesVII (707232) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159507)

Maybe it's a rhetorical question, Mister Smartyman.

How, indeed. (0, Redundant)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159079)

Apple was doing quite poorly until Steve Jobs stepped in after the purchase of NeXT. Apple's executive management was literally running them into the ground. Their products seriously lacked vision and were withering on the vine.

Jobs breathed new life into Apple.

Re:How, indeed. (4, Interesting)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159253)

But it is really Steve Jobs which, paradoxically, is holding Apple in the position of being the MOST closed company out there. Not only their software is historically hold as closed source, but their hardware/software/mentality is a vicious circle of control freakness that is very unusual in any other company today.

Maybe when Steve is gone, somebody else will take the steps necessary to introduce a little fresh air into that unhealthy (and unholy) position.

Re:How, indeed. (3, Interesting)

Darundal (891860) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159343)

Said openness was part of the reason why the company was doing badly. Unless he picks a fool, I doubt a successor to Steve will open things up significantly.

Re:How, indeed. (3, Interesting)

billcopc (196330) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159637)

No, they were doing badly because the Mac suffered from stagnation. Open or closed doesn't matter so much when your product is obsolete from the start. There was very little reason to use a Mac in the 90's unless you were very specifically working in the print industry, or making music with Pro Tools. The Mac held very little appeal to the average home user.

Steve Jobs was the kick in the nuts management needed at the time, but after a decade of success, I'd think the tie-throttling imbeciles learned a thing or two about manufacturing popularity. They've been strategically acquiring 3rd party tech that fits their market, bringing all the profit in-house. They have strong relationships with the manufacturers and a retail model that sells itself with minimal effort.

Steve could retire tomorrow, and after the "ZOMG he's sick" Wall Street asshats find themselves a new zillionaire to stalk, the company will continue to do just fine. They will find a new spokesmodel, he/she will be completely forgettable, but they will be making money hand-over-fist, and that's really all that matters to them.

Re:How, indeed. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26160169)

the company will continue to do just fine

They will do just fine for a little while. As back in the 80s they coasted on the mac for a long time. But eventually they 'ran out'. They need a prick who is willing to say 'yeah that is good/no that sucks'. It really is that black and white in that company. They tried crummy product after crummy overpriced product. Badly marketed and overpriced. Even their SDK was overpriced and hard to use. Even today much of the apple exp is not because the stuff is all that much better or worse than the competition. You are buying cool when you buy apple.

Eventually cool runs out. Without steve the cool runs out. For a consumer company that sells little fun toys (which is what the ipod/iphone/imac are) cool is VERY important.

I personally would be short (aprilish) in the stock at the moment. As they are going to take a beating next quarter as people currently dont have a lot of money to spend on cool.

Re:How, indeed. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26159463)

Look's like someone has already taken the step of introducing jism into your gaping asshole.

Re:How, indeed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26160107)

typical blind fanboi
apple sux, just accept it.

Re:How, indeed. (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159477)

Yeah, and maybe someone will also make Louis Vuitton more "open".

Re:How, indeed. (4, Interesting)

ObiWanKenblowme (718510) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159577)

It may go against the typical Slashdot mentality, but being closed hasn't hurt them at all since Steve's return. It seems as though the general public, and tech crowds in particular, have a hard time getting it when it comes to putting a finger on the thing(s) that make Apple successful. What you describe as unhealthy and unholy (talk about zealotry) have given Apple a reputation of excellence in user experience and now in consumer electronics. They're far from perfect, and yes they don't always offer checkbox-to-checkbox parity when it comes to features, but they're very good at figuring out the core functionality of a product or workflow and making it as easy and unobtrusive as possible - and users respond to that.

To say they're completely closed is not entirely true either - they do use, and contribute back to, open source projects. That they don't do it in exactly the way that a vocal percentage of posters here would want them to doesn't mean they're putting themselves in an unsuccessful position. If anything, Apple has demonstrated that they're willing and able to use whatever tools are most appropriate in delivering the kinds of products they want - and that a lot of other people want, too, judging by the sales numbers.

Re:How, indeed. (3, Interesting)

LarsG (31008) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159803)

But it is really Steve Jobs which, paradoxically, is holding Apple in the position of being the MOST closed company out there.

But is this unhealthy to the commercial result of Apple corp and the satisfaction of most Apple customers? Being closed also means that Apple has vertical control of everything from their online services to operating system to hardware, and Apple has generally been very good at using that control to deliver products that work very well if you stay inside Apple's garden.

I suspect most of us on /. (me included) would be pleased if Apple opened up more, but how much would Apple gain by doing that and risk alienating those that are perfectly happy in Apple's garden?

Not Possible (5, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159081)

How Apple Could Survive Without Steve Jobs

No, I'm sorry, it's just not possible.

You see, cancer was also a chance to have an operation where they inserted a tiny chip into his body to track his heart beat. In turn, it relays a message of his heart beat to his iPhone which is always on him. That relays it to a satellite receiver which sends the message back down to earth to the triggers on 4 pounds of C4 placed carefully around the support base of each Apple building telling it not to blow up. If it doesn't receive that message, no more Apple.

A bit eccentric, I know--but most geniuses are.

Re:Not Possible (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159117)

Been reading Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash [] , have you?

Re:Not Possible (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159763)

Stephenson didn't invent that idea; it's been an SF staple for a long time.

Re:Not Possible (1)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 5 years ago | (#26160031)

Been reading Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash [] , have you?

It was also in the 1997 movie Spawn.

Captain! Reality Distortion Field buckling! (2, Funny)

Chas (5144) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159199)

She kenna take much more of this!

Re:Not Possible (5, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159303)

Not necessary. If Jobs died, most of his followers would probably commit suicide voluntarily anyway.

Re:Not Possible (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26159417)

I hope that this happens

Re:Not Possible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26159711)


Re:Not Possible (1)

fartrader (323244) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159647)

Not necessary. If Jobs died, most of his followers would probably commit suicide voluntarily anyway.

Mod parent "Funny" dammit!!!!

Re:Not Possible (1)

fartrader (323244) | more than 5 years ago | (#26160027)

Not necessary. If Jobs died, most of his followers would probably commit suicide voluntarily anyway.

Mod parent "Funny" dammit!!!!


Uh (2, Insightful)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 5 years ago | (#26160221)

isn't suicide by definition a voluntary act?

Soo... what are you saying? (1)

denzacar (181829) | more than 5 years ago | (#26160239)

That their relationship is more like "Sauron and Orcs" than "Head vampire and his minions"?

Re:Not Possible (1)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159549)

I think Apple could survive for a while if they stockpiled on enough black turtlenecks. However, I'm afraid the RDF will pose a greater risk as its effect will steadily diminish after death, in a manner similar to radioactive decay. So the main question at this point is what's the RDF's half-life?

Re:Not Possible (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26159787)

I'm don't think the RDF will diminish. Look what happened when Jesus died.

Re:Not Possible (1)

FictionPimp (712802) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159861)

I see what you did there.

Jobs the magician (3, Insightful)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159085)

I remember reading in Freiberger's Fire in the Valley [] , his chronicle of the birth of the PC in the 1970s, that Woz and Jobs formed an almost ideal partnership, with Woz creating sublime technical solutions and Jobs knowing how to work people to make them sell. With Jobs, Apple might not have gone anywhere, but rather would have disappeared like so many hobbyist PC projects of the era.

I'm glad I didn't recently buy any Apple stock... (5, Interesting)

bytethese (1372715) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159103)

While initially it may go down with any news of him leaving Apple, I think the talent pool they have is great.

Whoever should succeed Jobs should be very aware of this talent pool and be sure to keep things running as smoothly as possible to ensure a bright future. In essence I wouldn't be too worried about Apple being Jobs-less.

Re:I'm glad I didn't recently buy any Apple stock. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26159977)

They'll be fine, he wrote down the secret recipe in pencil on a piece of paper which is locked in a heavily secured safe....

About as well as Disney survived with Walt (5, Interesting)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159137)

i.e. Not well at all. They company floundered from 1967 to around 1987 until a new CEO with vision arrived on the scene.

I suspect Apple would do the same, gradually returning to a state akin to how it was in the early 90s. Ultimately it might end-up in the same state as Commodore (which also lost its visionary CEO and slowly but surely died-out).

Re:About as well as Disney survived with Walt (2, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159207)

Disney without walt has exploded.

They own almost everything now, they plaster themselves on everything and almost every child has the "go to disney" zombie mantra imbedded in them.

If Apple does that, they WILL become bigger than microsoft.

Re:About as well as Disney survived with Walt (4, Funny)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159263)

Thats because it is owned by Steve Jobs. [Humor]

Re:About as well as Disney survived with Walt (4, Insightful)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 5 years ago | (#26160163)

Funny because it's true, Steve Jobs is Disney's largest shareholder [] and is a member of the board of directors. []

Re:About as well as Disney survived with Walt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26159329)

They're well on the road to that with the 'i'range of things marketed at the moderately techsavvy in the populous. Remember folks, embrace the youth, extend your influence over them, extinguish any other competitors ability to brainw^H^H^H^H^H^H influence them.
I wonder if Jobs beat cancer by developing his own version of iCancer.

Re:About as well as Disney survived with Walt (1)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159461)

>>>Disney without walt has exploded.

Did you even bother to READ WHAT I WROTE? I was specifically discussing Disney between the time of Walt's death, and the mid-1980s. I then specified that AFTER the mid-80s, they got a new CEO with vision who restored the company to what it is today.

Read the fucking, posts.

>>>If Apple does that, they WILL become bigger than microsoft.

Yes but if it follows the pattern of the Disney Company, it won't happen until 20 years after Steve Jobs' death...sometime around the year 2030. So don't hold your breath; you'll be holding it a very long time.

Re:About as well as Disney survived with Walt (2, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159591)

I think we give Steve Jobs a bit to much credit. A hidden key part of Apples growth in Mac Sales, is the simple fact most of programs we run today are via (mostly, kinda sorta) open standards AKA the Web. Think about all those crazy applications that you had way back then before the late 90's. An Encyclopedia and Full dictionary, other resource applications all needed to be on physical media which you put in your system and run by your system. A slew of games even ones of cheap quality (even for the platform of the day) which offered about 1 day of amusement then you never ran it again. Everything normally talked to itself and rarely with other application. Even network protocols wouldn't talk cross system (NFS, SMB, Novell, AppleTalk...). It was an era that In order to be productive you needed one platform and only one. Having platform diversity would only create overhead and problems. Microsoft won that game, First by offering good enough quality for less price ($80.00 for Windows for workgroup, or $800.00 for NT vs. $8,000 for a unix system) (yes Unix system could be 10x better then NT however NT is good enough for what they wanted it for) Plus you can get Microsoft Products without being bound to any hardware manufacture. (Cheaper, more hardware choices, and gets the work done... A good deal)

This is why Apple was getting creamed at this time. Even if Jobs was still there he may have done a better job (with better hardware and software) but not enough. It took the popularity of the Web to really get Apple out of the slump. it started with the iMac (the colorful ones) sure the computer was cute and all, however its focus was the fact that most of the stuff you do on it will be via the web. Hence no CD Burner or Floppy Disk (And externals were expensive and USB Flash drives were not available). But it worked on the internet. In a time where the internet started to get past the Geeks only club. And with pressure from Linux, Java, Netscape, against Microsoft it opened developers eyes to the fact that we need to find ways to make software available to people not to computer platforms. Created an environment where people started thinking about making Web Applications vs. Application that you run on your PC. So now we have an enviroment where we can say go to Slashdot and interact on an equal level doesn't matter if you are Using a Mac, Linux, or Windows. Where if this was released before the web was common you would have a Slashdot application which you would run. Probably only being a Windows Only App. With perhaps a MacPort.

Re:About as well as Disney survived with Walt (1)

Cally (10873) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159865)

Off topic, but your .sig needs an update [] :)

Re:About as well as Disney survived with Walt (2, Informative)

billcopc (196330) | more than 5 years ago | (#26160055)

Ultimately it might end-up in the same state as Commodore (which also lost its visionary CEO and slowly but surely died-out).

If being directly responsible for the computer industry crash of 1983 is what passes as "visionary" to you, well I have a C64 to sell you for the low low price of $99. Jack Tramiel was a loose cannon, so desperate to beat everyone that he beat his own company, by bargaining it out of existence. At that point, everyone was bleeding money, so he did the unconscionable and bought Atari's dying corpse for a song, and then used it as leverage to dick around with Amiga through his creative interpretations of contract and IP law. He still wasn't making any money, but he made damned sure no one else could either.

If that's the man against whom you want to compare Steve Jobs, well I must say I don't know what the hell you're smoking.

Re:About as well as Disney survived with Walt (1)

mini me (132455) | more than 5 years ago | (#26160217)

Out of all the companies you could have used as an example, you chose the other company in which Steve Jobs is the single largest shareholder and board director?

Jobs was working with Disney shortly after the "new CEO with vision" arrived. Maybe it was actually Jobs' involvement with the company that turned things around for Disney?

WTF? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26159147)

Someone is fighting his cancer and the media is already choosing a coffin?

Re:WTF? (4, Informative)

SausageOfDoom (930370) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159893)

It's actually very few forms of cancer that can be completely cured, which is why people working in medicine talk about cancer survival rates rather than the percentage cured. You're talking about the percentage of patients who survive the first 5 years after being diagnosed - after that, all bets are off.

It's quite heartbreaking to hear people talking about fighting their cancer and how it has been cured - when you have been treated successfully, your cancer goes into remittance, but chances are that it'll be back; usually the best you can hope for is that you've postponed the inevitable for a few more years. And when it does come back, it's often more aggressive and systemic than before; frequently to the point that all that can be done is treat the symptoms to ease the patient's passing.

Even though Jobs' form of cancer has an extremely good survival rate, he wasted time before getting treatment, increasing the opportunity for it to grow and metastasize. I'm not saying it will definitely come back, and no doubt his prognosis is better than many other forms of cancer - but it has been 4 and a half years since he was diagnosed, so shortly the published survival rates will mean very little.

We the public are not privy to his medical records, so all we can do is talk about odds - and the odds are rarely good when dealing with cancer. Although planning his funeral may be premature, talk of the future of the company is only fair, especially for a company that appears to owe so much of its success to just one man.

Re:WTF? (1)

SausageOfDoom (930370) | more than 5 years ago | (#26160273)

Err, that should have been remission, not remittance. Been writing too many invoices.

Re:WTF? (2, Insightful)

evil_aar0n (1001515) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159945)

Yeah, Lance's cycling team - Cofidis - gave him up for dead, too. In hindsight, I'm sure they still support that decision.

Apple and Ninnle together? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26159233)

It's simple. All they have to do is port Ninnle Linux for Mac. It'll work better than they ever thought OS/X could.

To be honest, they don't even have to do the port. Ninnle Linux will already run nicely on a Mac.

Same way Microsoft did it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26159239)

Gates left Microsoft and they moved on. Jobs is leaving Apple. So? Jobs isn't the 'cool' factor which makes them money. The company will simply move on. Fanboys need to stop making such a big deal of little news.

look at polaroid (3, Interesting)

cinnamon colbert (732724) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159251)

Which crashed and burned after its leader, Ed Land, died. Part of this of course was the film/digital transition, but even so, the collapse of polaroid was spectecular.
One thing apple employees might take particulare note of: polaroid employees had a lot of their pension in polaroid stock, and the CEOs afte Land screwed them royally beyond belief.

Re:look at polaroid (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26159843)

Really? I would attribute Polaroid's downfall entirely to the digital transition. If Ed Lane was immortal, the same thing would have happened.

The same way they survived before? (5, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159271)

Apple survived from 1985 to 1996, didn't they?

Re:The same way they survived before? (2, Informative)

Fahrvergnuugen (700293) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159375)


Re:The same way they survived before? (2, Interesting)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159403)

It was during this period that they introduced the Powerbook and PowerPC chip, so it was FAR from some complete failure.

Re:The same way they survived before? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26159557)

Just one Word: "Copeland" ;)

Re:The same way they survived before? (1)

andy9701 (112808) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159409)

They did, but only barely. I recall hearing that shortly before they acquired NEXT that the chief executives were shopping the company around, hoping to get bought out. However no one even wanted to buy them.

Apple of 1985 is very different from the Apple of 2008, however. I would say that Apple is much, much more popular now than it was then. While the Mac probably hasn't gained much marketshare since then, the popularity of the iPod and iPhone have given Apple a pretty solid foundation right now. In the short term, I don't see Apple having any problems, but the real question is if Apple's new leadership would be able to keep this track record going.

Re:The same way they survived before? (1)

dfdashh (1060546) | more than 5 years ago | (#26160215)

Quite. They took a hit in 1985 when Jobs left, but going by stock price alone (by admission not the best measure) they did just fine. Avg stock price until 1985: 3.37. From 1985-1996: $9.03. From 1996 until today: $40.12.

Lame half baked article with sliding premise (2, Insightful)

sleeponthemic (1253494) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159307)

Ah yes, nothing like journalistic scummery. Begin with offensively ludicrous theory, slowly injecting more and more practicality (if tabloid, do not bother) into the scenario being portrayed until such a time that the reader has read the article, clicked on the ads on the page, finally realising that what he/she read was a whole lot of nothing.

Rinse and repeat

a glimmer of light (1)

matto14 (593826) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159315)

dear fanboys where is your god now?

Two words (-1, Offtopic)

eeyore (78059) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159351)

Godwin's Law

Re:Two words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26159627)

Godwin's Law

. . . to which I reply, "Sig heil, mein Furher!"

Re:Two words (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26159669)

I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's law, I merely enforce it.

Re:Two words (1)

Cowmonaut (989226) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159953)

You apparently have no idea what Godwin's Law is so I'm guessing you bought that low userid rather than earned it.

Inevitable (3, Insightful)

Dan East (318230) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159383)

Already people are discussing Apple's time-line, and how poorly they did without Jobs. The real point is the product that turned Apple around was not a computer, but a music player. The reason the iPod did not exist sooner was because the technology did not exist. Hard drives could not be made that small, color LCD panels were too expensive for consumer use, battery life was too short, etc. So did Steve Jobs merely come back to Apple when the iPod was simply an inevitability? Was he responsible for that inevitability ending up under Apple's control instead of Sony or Pioneer, etc?

Re:Inevitable (2, Insightful)

TheLink (130905) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159441)

There were many portable music players before the iPod.

But none that captured the public's mind share quite as much and in such a great way.

Re:Inevitable (5, Insightful)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159487)

The iMac did a lot for Apple too.

It was a significant part of computer sales for a season, and Apple's first real stab into non-design for years.

The iMac is part of how Apple has been so profitable, market at every price point, but have your low end lack features, so nobody can make do that need a little more. The iPod shuffle for example has less features than the original MP3 player (no screen), yet it is Apple, and cheap.

If you want a real MP3 player, you need to buy the overpriced Nano (well it fluctuates between reasonable and overpriced, depending on where it is in life cycle).

The iPod already dominated before the color screens even, it was just better looking, and smaller. There essentially isn't even a competing HD based MP3 player market anymore.

Re:Inevitable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26159965)

was this a serious post? magically inevitable products?

when are /. linux/oss fanboys going to give Apple and jobs the credit they deserve?

Re:Inevitable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26160009)

the first iPods didn't have color LCD panels. Those came later after the iPod was already popular.

Well (5, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159413)

He's an excellent businessman, but let's look at what brought Apple back, in order:

1) The iMac, which was just a heavily consumer-oriented Mac desktop. This wasn't really a big innovation for Apple, but was the sort of smart business move they needed.

2) The iPod--which wasn't Jobs' idea.

3) MacOS X

4) The fairly high quality of the MacBook and MacBook Pro Line

5) The transition to Intel

6) The iPhone

I love my Apple TV, but it's not a very successful product, over all. Time capsule is probably about the same. The Cube was a failure, and quite frankly the MacBook Air ONLY has its form factor going for it (otherwise it is so hellaciously overpriced that it's like a time warp back to the mid 1990s for Apple).

I don't really see a whole lot in that list that is unique to Jobs. What Apple needs is competent management that are aggressive and willing to take risks. That is what has made Jobs a success, more than anything else. People tend to forget that some of his ideas have't gone anywhere, but many of them have because they were calculated risks that only a non-risk averse CEO would make.

Re:Well (3, Informative)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159735)

I love my Apple TV, but it's not a very successful product, over all. Time capsule is probably about the same. The Cube was a failure, and quite frankly the MacBook Air ONLY has its form factor going for it (otherwise it is so hellaciously overpriced that it's like a time warp back to the mid 1990s for Apple).

The fact that a lot of people buy a MacBook Air despite its ridiculous price/performance ratio and solely for its form factor, is saying a lot about the importance of the package technology comes in. Same for the iPhone: from a pure functional point of view it's not a very good phone, and it has a few issues that we would not accept from any other manufacturer, but still people are literally lining up to get their hands on one. Despite some important areas where the iPhone performs poorly, there are other things like the form factor, design and ease-of-use where it outshines the competition.

And it's precisely design, form factor and ease-of-use where Steve Jobs has a lot of influence. Perhaps not directly as a designer, but as a (purportedly) insanely demanding critic. Someone ascribed Apple's success as a trendsetter in design to this; where other companies design for an identified or assumed market segment, Apple designs for Steve Jobs, a rich gadget freak who happens to have a decent taste.

Apple's Post-Jobs Future (1)

mrsquid0 (1335303) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159427)

If Apple continues to aim at the people who think that they are part of the technological elite, and not worry too much about people who actually are part of the technological elite, they will probably continue to do well. The first group tends to have a lot of disposable income, and is so much larger than the second group, that sales should not be a problem for Apple. The real question is can they continue to come up with innovative products that the first group will want. There is no way to know if that will happen.

OpenSource Mac OS X (2, Interesting)

Quazion (237706) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159451)

I dont really care as long they just OpenSource Mac OS X if things go bad...

Apple would do a lot better if... (5, Insightful)

winningham.2 (666628) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159483)

I don't know how fair TFA is but...

Apple would do a lot better in my department (one of the biggest departments at one of the biggest universities in the world) if they would get serious about enterprise support.

My gripes:
1) If my Xserv fails, I need to call Apple, they will possibly send parts or repairmen but they really want me to fix it myself using my spare kit. I just don't feel that is optimal compared to IBM server support.

2) Their volume discount is a total rip-off. Again, I am at a major university and our discount is basically the same as the Apple Education Store discount. It is really hard for me to justify my purchases and commitment to Apple.

3) On a related topic, I know months in advance what machines are coming out and can thus plan accordingly. Apple, with its flair for the dramatic, wants to keep all this hidden and secret. Again it really hurts my efforts when compared to IBM, Dell, and HP.

4) The Apple support network is a total joke compared to Microsoft or even Novell. Basically I have the same support that non-enterprise Linux has. My best sources are AFP548, MacEnterprise, and sometimes the Apple Support forums.

5) For those of us that have to integrate with a Microsoft world, AD-OD integration still has a long way to go. Apple seems to break their AD support with every other service pack. I can't believe this couldn't be done better. I know Microsoft has issues with their service packs, but honestly, does it have to be this bad?

Basically I feel that Apple is such a consumer company rather than enterprise. This hurts Apple penetration, bottom-line sales, and future buy-in from potential customers who want to use the same platform at home that they use at work.
Steve Jobs just can't get out of his own ego's way to let the correct thing happen. Matt Feeman, our sales rep, is a total waste yet has carried his job for many many years now. There really is no fun left in Apple and only diehard fanboys (myself?) can continue to run what is, IMHO, the Unix-like distributions.

The small school perspective (2, Informative)

zerofoo (262795) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159855)

Is exactly the same as yours.

I'm the IT director for a small private school, and my "enterprise issues" are identical to yours.

My favorite question by Apple support, when calling about our xserves, is : "Is your xserve in a basic or advanced configuration?"

What does it matter? You sold me the product, support it no matter what the configuration.

Apple really needs to get their head around the enterprise. Why bother selling Xserves, and Xsans if you aren't going to support them properly?


How Steve Jobs Could Survive Without Apple (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26159541)

That's the real question!

Re:How Steve Jobs Could Survive Without Apple (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159707)

He's done it before.

a man with a plan for better or worse (5, Insightful)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159651)

The most efficient form of governance is a dictatorship. This is not to say that it is a universally ideal form of government -- for every example we have of an autocrat who was able to get what he wanted and happened to be correct, we can find many other examples of autocrats who got what they wanted and were dead wrong.

It is easier for a man of singular vision, foresight, and ambition to stand out as a dictator than as one of a committee but men of singular ignorance and venality tend to do less harm in committee form because they're like crabs in a bucket and it's hard for one to rise to preeminence and control.

By all accounts, Jobs is a bastard to work for. What makes it all the more galling is that is judgment calls are usually right so when your design needs more work, he'll tell you you're a fucking piece of shit, get the hell out of his sight, don't you fucking come back until you have something that doesn't make him want to vomit you cocksucker, you'll want to punch him in the throat. Yes, he could have been nicer about it, but by the time you finally come back with a design he likes, it'll also be the one the customers will go nuts for.

It's very rare to find that kind of person. When Jobs was booted out the first time, they brought in an airline executive as CEO. He didn't know anything about the industry and said all of Jobs' ideas weren't sticking to the knitting, were going out into left field and would waste money. Pragmatic business people agreed. Hell, I thought going into the music business when they were already struggling making computers was a bad idea. Looks like I was wrong.

What's driving Apple right now is a productive cult of personality. There's simply not a viable line of succession. Alexander the Great dies, the empire falls apart. Stalin dies, the empire lurches on but nobody in the party leadership will ever again risk letting someone gain that much power again. It's possible for a leader to rise up within the ranks of an existing organization and take it over with such force that you would think he was the founder. Jack Welch did that with GE. Because the market value went from $14 billion to $410 billion under his watch, he's lauded as a genius. Personally, I think he was more like an asshole who got lucky, got some breaks, and knew how to shaft the right people at the right time. He'd been picked as the golden boy to succeed to the leadership role by the previous CEO who later came to regret that decision because Jack poisoned the corporate culture much like a Carly Fiorina. Wall Street didn't seem to care because he made the trains run on time and that's all that mattered.

What's interesting is Microsoft seems to be struggling from both the lack of vision and the bureaucratic bloat that paralyzes large organizations and prevents meaningful action. This kind of strategic paralysis is usually the opening needed for a competitor to swoop in and steal the market. Apple would normally be in that position except for the huge questions concerning Jobs' prospects for this world. If both companies become wadded up with stupidity, will it finally become Linux's year for the desktop by default?

Re:a man with a plan for better or worse (1)

Gunfighter (1944) | more than 5 years ago | (#26160049)

I can be a bastard to work for. I'll succeed him. Jobs may not be a genius, but I am.

There... now a viable line of succession is available to Apple's shareholders. Apple is poised to continue their success.

One condition: I will not be wearing black turtlenecks during keynote speeches.

Re:a man with a plan for better or worse (2, Funny)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 5 years ago | (#26160065)

You just gave me the best idea ever to replace jobs. Hire Chef Gordon Ramsey, of Hells Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares fame. He has no problem telling you that your finely crafted and prepared dish makes him want to vomit, and call the police on you for attempted murder. He's great at reducing people to tears! And, they could make it part of a reality TV series, to increase brand awareness even more!

I am afraid (1)

DeltaQH (717204) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159665)

I am afraid another sugared water John Sculley will come and blew it, but this time there will not be any jobs to rescue the company.

Steve Wozniak maybe. No to easy I think, he is quite a different character.

A combination of salesman and visionary like job is hard to come by.

Doubtful times in Apple are coming.

Vision, standards, focus (4, Insightful)

BornAgainSlakr (1007419) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159741)

Jobs does not do anything magical. It might have been his idea to make a better phone, but he did not design the iPhone.

Rather, he had the vision of how a phone would fit into the ``iLife,'' he held designs to high standards, and he made sure that everyone focused on integration with existing products and the consistency of the experience.

Standards and focus are what most people view as his ``dictator'' personality.

This is pretty much what, I feel anyway, Microsoft has always lacked.

They have no vision. Remember Ballmer scoffing the very notion that the iPhone would have any success at all, let alone surpass WinMo as it just did.

I cannot say that they have low standards per se. Rather, their standard is to let the user design their software (the focus groups that designed Vista; something about which Gates was proud).

They lack any sort of focus. Vista is a prime example of this. It is obvious when using Vista that no one had a plan. No one provided any focus. Compound this with the myriad of products Microsoft makes which barely even work each other...even in the same product family (incompatibilities between Mac Office and Win Office).

So, yeah, those are the three qualities I want to see in a successor to Jobs. There should be plenty of people at Apple with those qualities. Actually, there are plenty of those people anywhere...people like Ballmer just do not recognize them or think they are important. I trust Jobs to find an appropriate person to replace him.

Also, let's not forget to embrace change. Even someone like Jobs needs to be replaced eventually. They just have to be replaced carefully.

MacWorld etc (3, Insightful)

fartrader (323244) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159743)

I suspect the ending of these big "look at the next big thing" conferences Apple runs on a regular basis are part of transitioning Jobs out of the public eye. They need to disconnect Steve Jobs from the "ergonomic/chic/cool/it just works", brand. His presentations enforce the assumption that Jobs and his product line are inextricably linked.

Apple without Jobs? (5, Funny)

actionbastard (1206160) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159891)

How could any company survive without an egotistic megalomaniac perfectionist anal retentive button hater [] at the helm? Well Jobs doesn't design the computers Jonathan Ive [] does, so designs are covered. He doesn't manage the hardware engineering, Bob Mansfield [] has that responsibility. Operating system is Bertrand Serlet [] and applications is Sina Tamaddon [] , with Scott Forstall [] managing iPhone software, so we're covered on those. Phil Schiller [] is the marketing brain behind Apple's recent successes, so that's okay. Retailing is covered by Ron Johnson [] and let's not forget that Tim Cook [] handles DTD operations. There's also a few 'heavy-set' bean counters around to rearrange the cash loaf they've acquired after Steve plays naked in the pile, so the money is okay, too.

So, why does Apple need ST_VE? Do they need him to run around all day screaming, "Your designs suck, Jon! Make them MORE minimal!", "Bob, your code is SHIT! Fix it!", "Ron! Sell more STUFF!", "The rest of you, if you can't make everything INSANELY GREAT, no more free Jolt Cola in the cafeteria!"? So Apple needs him, how, to survive? If they need a 'visionary', they can always find another crazy 'Steve', here [] . In the long run, the company is well manned to maintain it's position and 'grow the brand' even if Jobs is relegated to prowling the dark halls at 1IL in his bathrobe and Birkenstocks.

the elephant in the room (1, Troll)

youngdev (1238812) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159925)

fine. If no one else will say it, I will. If Apple got rid of Steve Jobs maybe we could finally get some products that are designed with more than style in mind. I think most of the things Jobs has brought to apple in the last 5 years are marketing successes not technical marvels. Let's be fair if it didn't have a giant apple on the back/side/bottom no one would buy this crap. I say this cause I fell for the hype and bought a mbp. Now I wish I had bought a real laptop. So lets go down the list:

ipod: six generations and 3 variations of this piece of shit and you can't get ogg playback support???? wtf?

mac laptops: sleek form factor but overpriced and WTF why is apple so obsessed with their keyboard layout? It's not 1985 anymore give me a print screen, home, pg up/dn, insert and delete keys already. Stop being snobs and just give me a real keyboard already.

apple TV: apple what?

Mac OSX: ok it's decent. But it still needs a package manager and real window manager. Aqua sucks and it makes my mac a real pain in the ass.

Intel Chips: Oh what happened to the "technically superior" PPC chip? Welcome to the rest of the world you stuck up assholes.

iPhone: OMG I can't stand this piece of shit. Earth to apple - a smart phone without a real keyboard is just retarded. I can't believe that people shelled out 300,600,800 dollars for a phone whose screen is about half an inch tall while typing. This makes using it as an ssh client impossible. plus what's up with those keys being so close together? Steve please think of the men who might like to buy your products next time you say "oh we'll have a soft keyboard it'll be awesome!!!" Idiot. The screen is way too fragile and oh big surprise still no ogg support. and what the hell is the deal with app store? What makes apple think they know better than me what apps should be on my phone? I can't stomach this level of a God complex from a singe corporate entity.

Btw, apple, thanks for bringing us the graphic user interface, the adults can take it from here.

Disclaimer: my phone is a G1 and my computer is a macbook pro running gentoo linux.

I have the answer! (4, Funny)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#26159987)

Hire Willy Wonka!!! If there is any character that is on par with Steve Jobs and his showmanship, it is Willy Wonka... preferably the Johnny Depp version, but even the Gene Wilder version would suffice.

Apple doesn't have to worry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26160227)

Jobs foresaw the potential for his reign to end years ago. The good news is that (in typical Jobs fashion) he has a technological answer for this perceived dilemma! His clone should be ready to take the reigns within the next few years... C'mon folks, MS will exist without Bill, and Apple will fade into obscurity again without Jobs. The problem of possible weak leadership, or leaders who won't listen to the innovators, will remain for both companies. MS just has a better shot of weathering the storm due to it's widespread use and popularity (don't slam me for that, I am not a MS fan... but I live in the real world where windows is still the rule).
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