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Apple's Life After Steve Jobs

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the cut-the-turtleneck-budget-in-half dept.

405

animusCollards writes "Slate ponders a post-Steve Jobs Apple, including possible successors, and the future is... boring. '..it's certainly true that Jobs' style is central to the company's brand and the fierce connection it forges with its customers. His product announcements prompt hundreds of millions of dollars worth of free press coverage and whip up greater and more loyal fans, generating ever-greater interest in the company. ... At some point, all that will end. Jobs will eventually leave the company. There are no obvious plans for succession; in addition to Schiller, observers finger Tim Cook, Apple's COO, and Scott Forstall, who helped develop Mac OS X and the iPhone's software, as contenders for the job. But Tuesday's keynote illustrated how difficult it will be for any of those guys to replace Jobs.'"

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Jobs leaving? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26358433)

Jobs will eventually leave the company? I thought he was immortal. Damn you reality distortion field!

Re:Jobs leaving? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26358499)

So a post-Jobs Apple will be 'boring'? Nowhere near as boring as the constant stream of articles about a post-Jobs Apple thinks this AC.

Pixar to the rescue (5, Funny)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358845)

Why do you think Jobs bought Pixar? to make cartoons? No they are working to cross the uncanny divide where live action animated figures are indistinguishable from humans. They will just have an all digital Jobs up there in a few years presenting the products and you will never know.

Indeed maybe they already have. Jobs maybe is not ill but actually just an early version like Tom Hanks in Polar express.

This site is filth. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26358437)

Let's clean it up! :)

This post brought to you by Dial Soap

Really? (5, Insightful)

Dupple (1016592) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358451)

How did Tuesdays Keynote illustrate 'how difficult it will be for any of those guys to replace Jobs.'? Just a bloggers opinion, nothing to see here, please move along

Re:Really? (5, Funny)

eln (21727) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358495)

How did Tuesdays Keynote illustrate 'how difficult it will be for any of those guys to replace Jobs.'? Just a bloggers opinion, nothing to see here, please move along

None of them look good in a black turtleneck. It's a little-known fact that Steve Jobs has not run Apple for some time now. Rather, the turtleneck is firmly in charge. If it can't find a suitable host when Jobs kicks the bucket, the company is doomed.

Re:Really? (0)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358529)

Wow. I think you've seen one too many episodes of the X-Files.

Re:Really? (2, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358873)

Wow. I think you've seen one too many episodes of the X-Files.

You may turn in your geek card at the door.

Re:Really? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26358883)

I think he has seen exactly the correct amount of X-Files episodes.

Re:Really? (2, Funny)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358973)

Wow. I think you've seen one too many episodes of the X-Files.

Well scully did oust jobs for a time. And moulder is no where to be found. It's not a turtle neck, it's the black oil.

Re:Really? (1)

Anonymous Monkey (795756) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358975)

I thought that he was making a Stargate SG1 joke. Black Turtleneck as Goa'uld.

Re:Really? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26359003)

And I thought it was a Spiderman/Venom joke. Clearly the turtleneck will seek out the man who hates Jobs most when he rejects it... Steve Ballmer.

Re:Really? (3, Funny)

Fear the Clam (230933) | more than 5 years ago | (#26359133)

None of them look good in a black turtleneck.

That video engineer guy was sure trying, though. Pity about the Office Space obsession, though.

"I'm just gonna go ahead and..."

Re:Really? (3, Insightful)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358621)

Likely, for the same reason that it would be difficult for Collin Powell to replace Barack Obama: Powell isn't Obama, and does not have the rabid, awestruck fan base.

You can not replace people who have a cult built around them. Someone different has to replace the cult. I would expect any successful heir to Jobs' throne to radically change the Apple Image (tm) without any drastic underpinning changes. Black plastic instead of white, maybe? That's probably drastic enough for the demographic we're talking about.

Re:Really? (5, Insightful)

El Yanqui (1111145) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358713)

Codswallop.

We know who Steve Jobs is because we're nerdy, we follow things like Apple's keynote address and read /. Do you honestly think the average consumer out there, you know, the ones who are buying up iPods, iPhones and switching to Macs are doing so out of adoration for Steve Jobs? They might be doing it on the merits, for fashion to follow the trends or whatever other reason but I seriously doubt it's due to a crush on a guy in a black turtleneck. Most people couldn't pick him out of a lineup.

Re:Really? (2, Funny)

lwriemen (763666) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358793)

Yes! The average consumer associates Apple with the Mac guy in the commercials. Maybe he should replace Jobs, at least as a figurehead. :-D

Re:Really? (5, Insightful)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 5 years ago | (#26359039)

They might be doing it on the merits, for fashion to follow the trends or whatever other reason but I seriously doubt it's due to a crush on a guy in a black turtleneck. Most people couldn't pick him out of a lineup.

You might be right, but the people who are setting the trend and extolling Apple's merits are those who do know who Jobs is. Apple can likely keep the position it has right now without Jobs, but if they can't replace his expertise, then they'll have a hard time expanding their product line like they've done in the past few years. Steve Jobs has an amazing ability to relate to the crowd, he's good at producing soundbites so he can relate to people on the internet, and he's already cultivated an image of excellence that's largely linked to the man himself.

Whether the average consumer knows it or not, the people that make the decisions and recommendations know who Steve Jobs is, and it's undoubtedly helped with their success.

Re:Really? (1, Interesting)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 5 years ago | (#26359093)

What I've found though, is that while the "average" consume buys iPods and iPhones, they don't buy Macs. Mac fans buy Macs, and all of them seem to be firmly in the Cult of Jobs. They also serve (via word of mouth) as big advertising outlets to the average consumer for those iPods and iPhones.

In essence, owning a Mac is a lot like owning a Harley. Most people owning one are either part of some subculture, or trying to participate in that subculture (even if they don't really understand it) because to an outside observer, it looks fun and cool.

If you tear down the center people though - the "hardcores" - in either group, then the imitators and the like will not have that secret society mentality to try to integrate into anymore.

I think Jobs leaving Apple could well hurt a lot more than some think.

Re:Really? (2, Insightful)

El Yanqui (1111145) | more than 5 years ago | (#26359285)

I know quite a few people with Macs that have no idea who Jobs is and don't care. It's anecdotal, sure, but I know more people with Macs than PCs. I still think there are a load of people who just want a computer for email, internet browsing, iTunes and an occasional video. Macs do appeal to those consumers quite well even if they're overkill for their needs.

As for your Harley analogy, how many bikers know, or care about, the Harley CEO?

I'm not saying losing Jobs wouldn't hurt Apple, just not for these 'cult of personality' reasons.

Re:Really? (4, Funny)

gnick (1211984) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358831)

You can not replace people who have a cult built around them. Someone different has to replace the cult.

Not entirely true.

Sure, I was upset when I had to remove my Tom Baker figure from my shrine and replace it with Peter Davidson. It was painful again when I took Peter down and put up Colin Baker. Recently I had to remove Christopher Eccleston and put up David Tennant, who'll I'll be removing soon again.

It hurts every time - Regeneration is a painful process. But I'm still a loyal cult member.

Re:Really? (1)

Legion_SB (1300215) | more than 5 years ago | (#26359181)

Can I have the Eccleston one? I'm still not ready to let go. Too short a time, way too short...

Re:Really? (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 5 years ago | (#26359021)

I think because most people have seen that keynote as downright uninteresting. Having not listened to it I'm not sure how the speaker did, but I can personally say that even Jobs himself couldn't have made those announcements any good. Aside from the removal of DRM from iTunes they basically announced nothing of any value to me (and from reading Mac fan sites, a lot of people feel about the same way).

No one lives for ever ... (4, Insightful)

olddotter (638430) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358455)

While stock owners of companies like Apple or Berkshire Hathaway may wish their CEO's could like forever. Jobs while "great" is still a double edged sword for Apple. Granted one side is sharper than the other at the moment.

But a less charismatic person could make different decisions that get Apple way more into the main stream. I could go on, but work is busy today.... :-(

Re:No one lives for ever ... (5, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358473)

But a less charismatic person could make different decisions that get Apple way more into the main stream.

Like Dell or Gateway?

No, thanks.

-jcr

Re:No one lives for ever ... (5, Insightful)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358635)

But a less charismatic person could make different decisions that get Apple way more into the main stream.

Like Dell or Gateway?

No, like John Scully.

No, thanks.

More, like, NO THANKS! Scully's time at Apple was disastrous. While everyone at the time said that "mainstream" line was the best strategy for Apple.

Re:No one lives for ever ... (1)

olddotter (638430) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358669)

I'm thinking more like an AppleTV with DVR capabilities, instead of being tied to the iTunes store.
I could give more examples. And might do a blog post when I have more time. Apple has some brilliance products, but some are close/locked down too much to have appeal to the masses.

Re:No one lives for ever ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26358955)

Maybe that's why they put a USB port on the back of it - add-on tuners. One can only dream.

Re:No one lives for ever ... (2, Interesting)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358691)

Meh. Yes, I realize that Apple going more mainstream would mean that Apple would no longer be "cool" or "hip", but I think that at the end of the day Apple needs to broaden their market some or face extinction. They've positioned themselves as a fashion accessory. The thing is fashion accessories eventually fall out of fashion.

Re:No one lives for ever ... (2, Insightful)

alexborges (313924) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358507)

However, that has never worked at apple. What has worked at apple is Jobs.

Of course, they SHOULD be able to find a charismatic developer insufflated in a jihad to change the computing and entretainment lifestyle of the world, the question is:

Aint that Jobs's Job?

He should go out and find his mesianical replacement so that the company can move forward without making investors nervous.

Re:No one lives for ever ... (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358629)

Apple is mainstream. Or maybe you meant Apple should drop the hardware to focus on OS X, go bankrupt, and open source OS X in a last-ditch attempt to make money from support. Too bad you're not the CEO!

Re:No one lives for ever ... (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358995)

Jobs while "great" is still a double edged sword for Apple.

I don't really see it. What's the other edge of that "double edge sword"?

Supposedly Jobs can be a bit of an a-hole sometimes, but it doesn't seem to hamper Apple's success. There are only a handful of things that I think Apple should do differently-- like including a mid-range mini-tower in their lineup to fill the gap between the Mac mini and the Mac Pro.

Who cares? He's the village idiot as far as I care (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26358471)

Hear, hear: Life at Apple without Jobs may be more than just a hypothetical. He had a malignant tumor removed from his pancreas four years ago. With concerns about his health following his appearance at the World Wide Developers Conference two weeks ago, it's fair to ask: who's on that executive team â" and which ones have a shot at ruling Apple once Jobs leaves (even if he exits years from now and not for health reasons)?

There are 11 men in all â" not counting Jobs. A handful are familiar faces to the small community of professional Apple watchers/Rob Malda shit-taco eaters. As far as the general public is concerned, they are invisible, hidden in the long shadow cast by Apple's high-profile (and some would say faggot) CEO.

Some seem more qualified to step into Jobs' shoes than others, but judge for yourself.

I for one was pretty let down with this keynote (4, Interesting)

utahraptor (703433) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358477)

I don't know if it was just a lack of Jobs or a lack of innovation, but this was the first one of these that really lacked something new and fresh. Quite frankly none of it excited me this round.

Re:I for one was pretty let down with this keynote (2, Insightful)

pauljlucas (529435) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358893)

... this was the first one of these that really lacked something new and fresh.

As stated elsewhere, it's supposedly because Apple is tired of being a slave to the MacWorld schedule whereby (1) they have to have all the new, cool stuff ready by January that (2) hurts their Christmas sales because lots of people wait until MacWorld to see what's new before buying. Apple is successful enough (and has been for a while) now that it doesn't need MacWorld they way it used to. This was Apple's last keynote address at MacWorld. Now Apple will get to release the cool, new stuff when it's ready. It'll still have "special press events" most likely and I'd bet that Jobs will still give those.

Come On... (4, Insightful)

db32 (862117) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358481)

Ok look. I love my Apple gear. My MacBookPro is by far the best laptop I have owned in a long series of laptops. I like hearing about interesting new tech stuff coming from Apple. New gadgets like the new MBP and its battery, the dropping of DRM, those are geek worthy stories. But seriously, how many damned times is slashdot going to rehash this "What will we ever do without our beloved Steve Jobs!?" story?

How about we just leave it at this. Regardless of who takes over the company next I am sure we can all agree, regardless if you love or hate Apple, that he will probably be more stable and qualifed that the Chair Tossing Google Killer that took over that other really big tech company...

Tony Fadell FTW! (Sorce:5) (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26358607)

He's the senior vice president, iPod division. With his American swagger, full bee-stung lips and hair bleached white, Fadell, 38, stood out at button-down Philips Electronics (PHG), where he led an in-house pirate operation designing Windows CE-based devices and arsehole expanders running Java.

It was there that he came up with the idea of marrying a Napster-like music store with a hard drive-based MP3 player. He shopped the concept
around the Valley before Apple snapped it up and put Fadell in charge of the engineering team that built the first iPod/Fleshlight.

Picture this: you're young, you're gay, and you just built the first iPod. But you want more. Enter buyouts by a company called Apple, headed by the ruddy fag ESR and his band of Open Source homosexuals, hand picked by Larry Augustin himself and charged with taking over the MP3 world. Got it so far? Good.

(Important note: VA Linux had, indeed, tried to hire Linux Torvalds away, but Linus had refused, so as not to favor any single company or distribution. VA Linux, in turn, had kidnapped Torvalds and had Rob Malda and ESR rape his mouth unil he couldn't feel his jaw. Linus also needed his stomach pumped. However, good ol' Linus, the stout Finn that he is, never gave in and so was returned to Helsinki soon thereafter.)

Ambitious, gay and charismatic (and no longer a bleached blond fag-hag), he now runs the hardware division that makes two of Apple's three key product lines: the iPod and the iPhone. And, it's rumored, he sucks a meeeaaann cock.

Re:Come On... (2, Insightful)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358723)

The only reason this keeps coming up is because so many remember the years when Jobs was not heading the company. I don't know about you, but I definitely don't want my future Apple computers looking like children's toys again.

Re:Come On... (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 5 years ago | (#26359189)

but I definitely don't want my future Apple computers looking like children's toys again.

I thought the iMac was Job's doing? Non-jobs desktop Macs were almost all beige boxes, some with nifty front-panel designs, but mostly beige.

Re:Come On... (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | more than 5 years ago | (#26359261)

Beat me to the post. Jobs returned to Apple in 97. The iMac came out in 98. The iBook in 99. The PowerMac G3 in the similiar "colored plasticy case" came out in 99 as well.

Basically, until Jobs got back, Macs looked, as you said, like beige boxes. More or less like PC's of the time. The goofy/kiddy designs were something tried after Jobs came back that, though sucessful at the time, seem to have ran their course and fallen out of fashion.

Back then they seemed to be a push to make the computer look "fun". Instead of those boring boxes that only nerds used, this was something that a care free teenager could have and not look like a nerd. Now, a decade later, the whole "computers are for nerds" thing is long past. Everybody has one, so it's no longer a case of getting those people to own a computer period.

Now, instead of selling them the "fun" computer so they don't look like nerds Apple is selling them the "chic" computer so they don't like like kids OR nerds.

w00t (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26358503)

I'd heard it praised
By drug store clerks
I tried the stuff
Hot dog!
It works
Burma-Shave!

Apple will be ruined by capitalism (4, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358513)

Say what you like about Apple (I usually do) but one thing that can't be denied is that Apple does what it does starkly in the face of existing trends and directions. They do it their own way regardless of whether or not the general consensus thinks it's a good idea.

This makes Apple a very popular trend setter and many people really like that about Apple.

This is made possible because Apple leadership is run by an asshole. And I don't mean that in a bad way either. Jobs does what he does from what appears to be pure inspiration. People just eat that up too. He is the Willy Wonka of the computer world.

There can't be another one... there will not be another one. Apple will become a blob of its former self and people will make decisions the way they feel most comfortable... incremental changes and improvements, following trends and very rarely will frighteningly new ideas get thrust into the limelight as they have been under Jobs.

But we will also see something that people have been begging for... something that competes HEAD to HEAD with Microsoft. And Apple will WIN.

Re:Apple will be ruined by capitalism (1)

egyptiankarim (765774) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358637)

Funny that you mention Willy Wonka... I just bought a new Mac laptop, and there was a golden ticket inside!

Re:Apple will be ruined by capitalism (2, Funny)

Jeppe Salvesen (101622) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358709)

I, for one, welcome our new overlord egyptiankarim.

Re:Apple will be ruined by capitalism (5, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358797)

But we will also see something that people have been begging for... something that competes HEAD to HEAD with Microsoft. And Apple will WIN.

I believe that would be rather errouneus. Apple isn't playing in Microsoft's sandbox. Particularly the Enterprise one. Too many big bullies there. Apple will be more than happy to play in it's metrosexual box with all the dolls and shiny things. Laughing all the way to the bank. Why does everybody think that Apple wants to deal with Enterprise issues?

Re:Apple will be ruined by capitalism (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358915)

Xserve [apple.com] ? Leopard Server? Just sayin'...

Re:Apple will be ruined by capitalism (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358965)

Why does everybody think that Apple wants to deal with Enterprise issues?

Because they're slowly creeping into it with online office apps, a Blackberry competitor, and server software. The iPhone is primarily targeted at the consumer. But the office apps and server software are completely targeted at small business.

Re:Apple will be ruined by capitalism (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#26359049)

This is precisely what I predict changing.

Apple strategizes as it does largely at the direction of Jobs. When Jobs is gone, this is one change I expect to see. I expect them to head straight for the enterprise desktop.

I think you have it backwards (2, Insightful)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 5 years ago | (#26359043)

Jobs is capitalism to a T. He is exploiting a market by any means acceptable and doing a damn good job at it. If anything Apple will fail when the person running the show starts to actually be concerned with what the public wants instead of telling the public what he wants.

Apple is marketed very well and a big part of marketing is convincing people they must have it even if it isn't what they want or need.

Re:Apple will be ruined by capitalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26359075)

Clearly capitalism has failed. We need to support companies like Apple with our tax dollars so that they never fail.

You know the economy is getting bad (5, Funny)

thetorpedodog (750359) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358539)

...when even Apple is forced to consider the possibility of losing Jobs.

I am the very model of a iPod fashion follower (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26358545)

I am the very model of an iPod fashion follower,
My waist is getting thinner but my head is getting hollower,
I know the name of every Mac, in Apple stores a wallower,
And at the MacWorld every year I tell Steve I'm a swallower.
(Yes at the MacWorld every year he tells Steve he's a swallower)

Re:I am the very model of a iPod fashion follower (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26358665)

I am the very model of a corporation CEO
My trousers pressed, my shirt is white, my laces tied up in a bow.
My armpits clammy and my cheeks are rosy as a sweet Bordeaux,
But if you cross my ample path a chair in your smug face I'll throw!

tgqwe

Apple = Style (1)

heatseeker_around (1246024) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358547)

Tuesday keynote illustrated how difficult it is to amaze people and answer to the expectations of your fans base. Apple = Style. product style, marketing style, keynote style, tatoo style... even toilet paper style. If you do not include style in your presentations, you fail to energize your fans. It's not good for your business.

This issue is ridiculously overrated (0)

mstroeck (411799) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358551)

EOM.

Apple is Safe. (4, Funny)

Gerafix (1028986) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358553)

They just need to go back in time with their Time Machine and set Jobs back to his uncorrupted state.

Make a Steve Jobs simulator (0)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358565)

If Apple really wanted to spend all that cash on something interesting, they could invest in building a super computer capable of simulating the human mind and configuring it to simulate Steve Jobs.

Never mind that it can't be done now. Give them ten years and tens of billions of dollars and they could probably make it work. Not only would they get to keep El Jobso at the helm, it would probably be one of the biggest advances in AI or computer science in general of all time.

Re:Make a Steve Jobs simulator (4, Funny)

aapold (753705) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358685)

Plus, it would create jobs!

Re:Make a Steve Jobs simulator (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358983)

The scary part is that they've actually been doing this for the last two and a half years. Jobs wasn't at MacWorld due to a severe failure with several defective Hitachi Deskstar hard drives.

The simple solution (3, Interesting)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358583)

There is a simple solution: just follow the mac rumour sites and skim the ideas which make sense (physical, technological, ergonomic, etc.) and turn them into products. Voila, instant fan-inspiring advertising, for free..

Part of me wonders if that isn't what they've been doing for the last couple years.

Of course, that's depending on whether Apple lasts. Apple has always ridden on top of the financial waves, so to speak, by catering to the upper financial strata... That strata might not be around much longer, and younger people, for the most part, don't regard computer differences with quite as much difference as we have in the past.

Re:The simple solution (1)

mstroeck (411799) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358687)

You aren't around young people a lot, are you? You must be an "industry analyst" or something.

Unfortunately it does not work that way (4, Insightful)

EachLennyAPenny (731871) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358695)

There is a simple solution: just follow the mac rumour sites and skim the ideas which make sense (physical, technological, ergonomic, etc.) and turn them into products.

There is a problem with that.

People tend to not know what they want. Noone demanded something like the iPhone.

The secret is to understand their wishes and offer them far more than what they've asked for.

Re:Unfortunately it does not work that way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26359241)

The secret is to tell them what they should want. Don't give them too many choices, don't let them wander off alone. A little of the opposite to linux. Too many choices and too much fighting. Two Bases: Phone or no Phone. The only real choice is storage size and people already understand that.

"Leave the company" (1)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358591)

"At some point, all that will end. Jobs will eventually leave the company."

Either with his shield or on it?

Wow. (1)

XPeter (1429763) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358597)

Don't you guys read? If so, you must have missed the article on the new "Macbook Wheel".

There is no Apple without Steve.

He's done it before - anyone remember NeXT? (3, Interesting)

Markvs (17298) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358603)

The same thing will happen: Apple will devolve again and be directionless, perhaps again bringing in a big soda company executive for CEO. History repeats itself. Market share will drop.
The problem with many firms (in IT especially Microsoft, Apple and Dell) is that they were built around their founders and really can't perform as a corporate culture without them. And without a vibrant corporate culture, the firm stagnates or fails. Commodore or Wang anyone?

USA Today ran a story on it a few months back... http://www.usatoday.com/money/companies/management/2007-08-21-founder-ceos_N.htm [usatoday.com]

Re:He's done it before - anyone remember NeXT? (4, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358747)

They already are!

Apple used to OWN the video editing market. Final cut WAS the defacto standard.

Well come 2009 and we have no update. we cant author BluRay DVD's because apple bet the farm on HD-DVD so now our DVD authoring app is useless. My only choice is some crappy 3rd party apps (Yes adobe's offering is crap)

Apple is dragging it's feet in it's professional lines and it's causing them issues. They have been focusing completely on the "oooh shiney" general public and ignoring their professionals on the backend.

I want my FCP Suite 3 that fixes the problems with the current one and give me native suite bluray menu authoring.

Re:He's done it before - anyone remember NeXT? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26358871)

Considering no one uses Blu-ray, I don't see why it matters.

Re:He's done it before - anyone remember NeXT? (0)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358943)

what's next? They are out of a jobs? Better to be one than many. He's the apple of their eye, so that jobslessness will hurt to the core...

Re:He's done it before - anyone remember NeXT? (1)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358953)

I'm dying for a Mac Mini with a Blu-ray drive and player software.

I don't understand what you mean when you say that Apple bet the farm on HD DVD. I don't think they ever released any HD DVD products. And they're not just members of the Blu-ray Disc Association, they're on the board!

I think they're backed into the corner by HDCP, but the situation was the same with HD DVD.

What am I missing?

-Peter

Re:He's done it before - anyone remember NeXT? (2, Interesting)

solios (53048) | more than 5 years ago | (#26359279)

Disc authoring.

Presently, DVD Studio Pro (the "end" component of the Final Cut Studio for many people) will author for DVD and HD-DVD. It will not author for Blu-Ray.

Why this is, is anybody's guess.

Until they pull their heads out of their asses, the ONLY way (that I'm aware of, anyway) to author Blu-Ray video discs on a Mac is to run Adobe Encore on an Intel-based machine. This not only screws over those of us who can't stand Adobe's video software (I've used Encore, and only because I had to - I'll never, ever use Premiere for anything), it bones those of us who are still getting what we can out of our PPC macs.

Apple could fix this by addressing the problem (and any other issues) with a new version of Final Cut Studio.

And until they do that, Adobe's going to be eating into their market share.

So then, (-1, Offtopic)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358609)

we are gonna at last be free of the fanboi extremism ?

( watch this post's moderation for clues - news at 11 )

Replacement Actor? (0)

aapold (753705) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358615)

Can't apple just hire some actor to play Steve Jobs at conventions and press announcements?

Michael McDonald [youtube.com] already has experience at it and could do it quite nicely I think...

Re:Replacement Actor? (1)

pauljlucas (529435) | more than 5 years ago | (#26359013)

Michael McDonald already has experience at it and could do it quite nicely I think.

Except Noah Wyle [imdb.com] looks much more like Steve (or at least Steve when he was younger).

Wait... Steve can die? (2, Funny)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358643)

I thought God was immortal!

This is an important issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26358659)

The thing people are forgetting is that Jobs already left Apple once. The next CEO tried as hard as he could to turn Apple into Dell and very nearly killed the company. It wasn't until Jobs came back and introduced the iMac that Apple was saved.

On a scale of not getting it. After Jobs came back, I read an interview with the former CEO who was griping that Apple was doomed because the iMac had a 66Mhz bus instead of 100Mhz like the PCs of the time.

Apple without Jobs Redux (1)

thethibs (882667) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358715)

It wasn't interesting enough to get my attention at the time, but didn't Apple do without Jobs for a while a few years ago? What happened then is probably a fair prediction of what would happen now.

Is anyone here old enough to remember?

It is the end of an era (2, Insightful)

mamono (706685) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358727)

I am no fan of Apple as a company, but I do appreciate what they've done. The same thing holds true for Microsoft and Bill Gates. Apple was doing well because of Steve Jobs, then went into a decline when he left. Because of his return Apple enjoys the popularity and success it holds today.

Bill Gates has left Microsoft (sort of) and Microsoft is rapidly declining. Hewlett and Packard left HP and look where that company is now. These were all visionaries and good businessmen. You can't just replace someone like that. ESPECIALLY not with a financial person (CFO, etc.) Finance people know one thing, numbers.

In order for a company like that to continue it's momentum it needs an Engineer (software, hardware or otherwise) with charisma and good business sense. That is unlikely to happen as these people generally create their own companies and become the next Apple or Microsoft.

Re:It is the end of an era (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358951)

I think it's pretty safe to say that neither Bill Hewlett or David Packard will be back to lift the HP back into glory.

All kidding aside, I don't know how much Jobs or Gates can be considered engineers or developers any longer. Does anyone really know how long it's been since either of these guys has done hands-on anything? My guess is that Gates hasn't coded in well over 15 years. I wonder if the boy could even do a group policy edit if he had to.

Re:It is the end of an era (1)

sunderland56 (621843) | more than 5 years ago | (#26359275)

Bill Gates no longer works at Microsoft full time, and is only their chairman when he does show up. So his role is 0% technical.

Funny, there wasn't all of the discussion and hand-wringing about Bill leaving Microsoft two years ago.....

Steve Jobs has been dead since 1988 (5, Funny)

Gizzmonic (412910) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358733)

Steve Jobs died in a car wreck in 1988. The current "Steve Jobs" is San Jose session musician, Roland Trisk. Trisk, who often doubled for Steve Jobs before his death in sales meetings and conferences, had plastic surgery in order closely resemble Jobs. There are hints everywhere-in the enclosure of the Mac LCII, the first NeXT CUBE, even Pixar's first full-length film, Toy Story. Wake up people! The truth is out there!

Apple's last decade (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26358751)

I was going to say that Apple's present and decade or so since Jobs Second Coming have been boring too, but I decided to think before I post.
  1. The iMac re-introducing the idea of an all-components-in-one non-laptop computer. It's a bad idea IMHO but some people really like that and I think there will always be some sort of market for that. So I guess what I mean is that it's a bad idea to buy one but a brilliant idea to sell this crap, and Jobs realized there really is a sucker born every minute.
  2. A kernel transition and Yet Another CPU arch transition. Sure, Apple had done an arch change once before, but doing it a second time will help keep MacOS developers on their toes. Now an arch switch isn't so much a historical exception, as it is something that happens every decade or so, so keep your code portable. ;-) The kernel transition (MacOS 9 to X) isn't quite as interesting (even though its consequences were much bigger to developers) but the new kernel is so much better than the old one, that it deserves mentioning anyway.
  3. The iPhone. Lame product but now people really expect phones to almost the same thing as personal computers. There has been a shitload of new products and competitors (and as much as I don't like to talk about them, followup products from Apple) hitting the mainstream because of this. It's almost like personal computers in the early 1980s again. Yeah, not quite, but almost.

Difficult, not impossible, look at Scientology (2, Interesting)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358769)

I love Macs, so this isn't disparagements or drawing Apple customers like a cult (perhaps corporate culture?). But Scientology had one of the most wacked out, eccentric, but strangle charismatic (to some people I suppose) founders. After his death, its not just thriving but even gets people like Will Smith hooked. It's headed by David Mascavige [wikipedia.org] although few people heard of him. I would argue that this state of Scientology is due purely to it's organizational structure rather than any one man.

Having a good leader will be important. But the corporate culture will have to be in place. I think Jobs is very talented, but his talent was letting the good ideas and people already in Apple (or outside, like NeXT) rise while he steered them towards this greater vision. I think Jobs has a very clear vision in some ways (he said back in 90s interview Sculley destroyed everything he sought to achieve), and when he expects to be leaving, he should write it in a book what it is - so that it can inspire his company towards it.

I think though, in the end, having a strong leader with a vision at the helm is what Apple as a company needs. What that means, is that they have to avoid putting in business men/accountants who only have the imagination to see the bottom line at the end of the day. But a pure artist is often equally disastrous with less business pragmatism. For instance, Steve was inspired by a previous calligraphy class to put extra effort in fonts in Macintosh. Most pure business men wouldn't have bothered at the time. Reading his bio, he often obsesses about aesthetic appeal.

To nix the scientology thing from above, I could draw Apple as a design studio like Wiener Werkstatte or Bauhaus. Earlier last century, they made lots of distinctive but beautiful objects (Art Deco), going so far as to build entire houses and furnishing them. An integrated solution. On the downside, neither lasted long. It is the nature of such things, it seems. In another industry, perhaps Apple can be compared to Porsche and the father son team Ferdinand/Ferry porsche.... it survived but to me it's arguable that, while, the design spirit lives on, whether successive innovative spirit has since those two passed away.

No such thing (4, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358787)

First off, there is no such thing as "Replacing Steve Jobs", there is only following him.

ANYBODY who is trying to "duplicate" the Steve and his infamous RDF is going to fail, and miserably. In fact, if I was on the committee that was choosing the heir to the helm I'd ask how they plan to "replace" Jobs, and if anyone mentions anything other than .... "nobody can replace Steve" (or similar) is clearly not good enough to fill the vacancy.

People wanting to continue the mystique after Steve leaves is going to fail . There is only one Steve Jobs.

That doesn't mean that Apple will fail after Jobs, but rather, they need to find a new "leader", one that doesn't replace Steve, but rather one that mealy follows him.

Re:No such thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26358825)

Wow. I think the only reason my fanboi detector didn't go to 11 was because you didn't mention Apple/Jobs in your sig. That's pretty impressive.

Missing Option (2, Funny)

rlp (11898) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358817)

Cloning

(Maybe that's what Obama meant when he said he was going to create "millions of Jobs")

Oh nos!!! (1)

irn_bru (209849) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358835)

He's not gone and died again has he?

Steve isn't magical, or even that good (1)

realmolo (574068) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358849)

The one true advantage he has, is that he doesn't seem concerned about pleasing people. That goes a LONG way.

He needs to be replaced by someone that isn't concerned with their own press, and with what the shareholders think, and what the tech industry in general thinks. They need someone that is their own person, and not simply a mouthpiece for the shareholders and other upper-level managers.

I think a lot of companies suffer from insidious "group-think", and Apple has avoided that, probably because of Jobs. I get the impression that he is not above calling someone stupid, and stomping on other managers/employees that don't contribute anything except ideas on how best to preserve the status quo. The irony is, Apple's *customers* are very much into the "group think" thing. But at least they are "group-thinking differently".

Re:Steve isn't magical, or even that good (1)

sandbenders (301132) | more than 5 years ago | (#26359263)

I figure all of Apple's customers thought differently once. That was when they decided not to go with Windows. Then they stopped.

As a software designer, I think Jobs and Co. are the tech equivalent of a movie director, author or musician who insists on their work being created without outside editing. 90% of them are crap, but there are shining examples of artistic visions being fully realized and truly great works resulting.

I think the unique thing about Jobs is not his "I'm right and everyone else is wrong" attitude, it's the fact that he IS right. Not that Macs are perfect, but that they are a fully realized vision that successfully meets the needs of a specific segment of the population.

If only there were Jobs-like companies to fill all the other niches...

Superficial Branding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26358865)

Apple, the Paris HIlton of the Tech companies. When the value of the company depends on the salesman rather than the product.

Is he dead? AGAIN?! (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358877)

That would be... how many times has he died this week in the news?

Yeah, And? (0)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358913)

Nobody wants to talk about just how stupid it is to make a company with a net capitalization somewhere above $160 billion dollars based entirely on one persona. Microsoft might have had Bill Gates at the helm, but nobody ever said Bill Gates is Microsoft. Microsoft was Windows, not Bill Gates. But what's Apple? Apple is ________. Apple might have a great marketing group, but Apple as a brand identity doesn't actually mean anything. It's smoke and mirrors. You the Pepsi logo and you think "Soda". You see the Microsoft logo and think "Windows". You see CNN, T-mobile, Coca-cola, Ford, and you can put something on the other side of that equals sign.

But not for Apple. Apple means __________. And when Jobs is out of the picture, it's going to be very obvious to the rest of the world that Apple doesn't have a core identity. It's just a big tech investment firm run on image and glitz. And it's ruin will be textbook material for business majors for decades to come, for both how unique its promotional campaign was, but also how flawed it was as a long-term strategy.

I'd like to Apply for CEO of Apple (4, Interesting)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 5 years ago | (#26358959)

Here are my qualifications:

  • 15 years in the software industry
  • I have no problem saying 'no'
  • I believe that removing stuff can add value
  • I do not try to include all features possible
  • I only include features to make a useful device
  • I will not accept "it can't be done"
  • I will create technologies needed to achieve my concept
  • I will look to see what other companies aren't doing, and do it

or..... WOZNIAK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26358961)

maybe somebody that actually knows about computers could take over the company. i hear they used to have a guy that knows a Lot about computers but all he does is hand out doughnuts at the apple store and play polo in silicon valley.

maybe then some of their stuff would work with everyone else's... you know, "a free exchange of information, the way it always should be". woz.org

i mean, it is amazing overkill to have ridley scott do you tv commercial... but you can only coast for so long before people figure out that you do counterproductive things like take one pin off a mouseport so you can make everyone buy stuff from your store.

maybe when the effeminate guy that says LSD is the most important thing he ever did in his life finally dies, then the artsy people will listen to their computer friends about computers.

When the company is the guy... (1)

ehud42 (314607) | more than 5 years ago | (#26359015)

Sounds like a lesson in business I (and others I know) learned the hard way. When the company is the guy, then when the guy goes, so does the company.

For anyone out there contemplating taking over a small business run by one or two people, think carefully. Most of their customers are probably loyal to the people - not the company or name. Once the existing ownwers leave so will the good-will / business / "loyal" customers and you'll be stuck with the warranty claims, unsatisfied customers and a deeper hole then if you had started out cold.

Once Steve leaves, Apple _WILL_ take a hit. They are large enough that it probably won't be fatal, but it will be a hit none the less. Compare Apple to IBM, GM, Walmart, pick any bank - I cannot name any of their CEO's and probably few others can as well. Those companies are riding on their name and products - not their CEO's fame.

Good gawd (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26359041)

How can apple survive without jobs there. What will the fanbois do when it comes time to watch the 'keynote speeches'. I imagine suicide rates will probably double maybe even triple now.

You fail It (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26359063)

A better question. (1)

neo (4625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26359103)

People shouldn't be asking if someone can replace Steve Jobs. That's a no-brainer and the answer is no.

The real question is who will Steve Jobs let follow him.

Jobs has a real ego that drives the company from his central gravitational field. It revolves around him like planets around a sun. But he wont let someone with that kind of magnetism follow in his wake.

If they hire from within you'll get someone who was drawn to Jobs and who could follow his vision and guidance (not a good leader).

If they hire from outside it will be someone Jobs hand picks and that person will be set up for failure.

Barack Obama (1)

bjornte (536493) | more than 5 years ago | (#26359229)

Barack Obama is the only man I can think of that would fill Steve Jobs' shoes.

Even more exiting would be the vice versa.

If this is Apple, it is not boring, it is holow. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26359243)

That Keynote was really empty of any meaning.

And I actually had money (cash) put aside to buy something new "Apple". Really, who needs iLife or iWork? This kind of software does not matter to me, not to most on my friends (geeks mostly). And it does not matter because there are so many alternatives - to name a few - MS Office, Lotus Symphony, Open Office; some are even free.

Yes it is true I shoot a lot of photos, but, frankly, nobody serious about photos will use iPhoto ever, and you know, there is Picasa, why having two application that are like twins? Almost all the time I use the Nikon CaptureNX (if I switch to something it may be Aperture, but not really).

The 17" Macbook Pro? Who really needs and can use this? 17" laptop is ridiculous. Yes, I know a number of people that at some point bought a 17" portable (architects, civil engineers and such), yes they need the resolution and the power under the hood, but it is not feasible to wear protective gear on the building site and work on that. So their laptops ended hooked to the desk at some office.

Personally - I would have very much liked a lighter 13" with more energy conservation, removable battery (to be able to carry a second charged one as spare). All to fit nicely in a small vertical bag, with some converters (serial mostly). I would have liked to see an upgraded Mini, even if it had to be the size of the Cube. Small, highly integrated, noiseless and portable "desktop". The only thing it lacked - video card, so they could have just put the nvidia mobile chip in the Mini and voila. It's a no brainier. I use a pumped up Mini (4G ram, 7200 RPM disk) now.

The songs, well this may have been something useful. But with so much work, and TV who buys music anymore and has time to listen to it? But iPhone, really I have never used more appalling music player with embedded telephone. After a year of using it I will be going to Nokia. The iPhone lacks basic functionality my Alcatel had 9 years ago.

They could have at least shown Snow Leopard, I know - no new features, but they must have shown it.

Apple were a good hardware company, and I wold like them continue as such. Now all think about is new ways to take you money with giving little to noting relevant back.

Scully will save the day! (1)

NitroWolf (72977) | more than 5 years ago | (#26359267)

I mean, he ruined Apple once before, why not let him do it again?

A liar, a cheat, a complete idiot. He had it all! He's just what Apple needs in this day and age and will fit right in with the Enron, Auto makers and Banking executives!

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