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What is Apple Without Steve Jobs?

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the different-colored-apple dept.

Businesses 281

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

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they'll find a way (5, Insightful)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#17581890)

In Pauly's worst-case-scenario, the SEC prosecutes Apple, and the board is forced to oust Jobs.

They'll just bring him back as an "independent consultant" and it'll be business as usual.

Re:they'll find a way (3, Interesting)

winkydink (650484) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582420)

No CEO would take the job under those terms. In fact, that's how Steve moved from iCEO to CEO... nobody wanted the CEO spot with Jobs in the picture.

Re:they'll find a way (2, Insightful)

keytohwy (975131) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582512)

I don't know. I saw the Jerry Garcia Band *after* Jerry died, and they sucked.

Re:they'll find a way (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582526)

He can become "Head of Entertainment" just like in a Mafia controlled casino.

Re:they'll find a way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17582730)

Why would the board "have" to oust Jobs? He *is* Apple, even if he ends up in Federal Prison, I can see them holding the board meetings in the visitor room, or Ives showing him the latest iPod/iPhone prototypes through the glass!

No Problem (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17581918)

No problem. They just need to replace him with someone else that's exactly the same.

Ummm, (-1, Troll)

cavehobbit (652751) | more than 7 years ago | (#17581944)

...perhaps a non-fascist technology company that embraces third party developers and applications, rather than a company that engages in propritary pogroms against any and all that think they can add to the glory that is Apple?

Re:Ummm, (5, Insightful)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 7 years ago | (#17581978)

> ...perhaps a non-fascist technology company that embraces third party developers and applications, rather than a company that engages in propritary pogroms against any and all that think they can add to the glory that is Apple?

No, that's what Apple would have been with Steve Wozniak.

Smell that? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17582038)

that's karma burning, baby!

Bad day at work? Or did your iPod shit the bed?

Quick, post a comment about the evils of Microsoft, SCO, RIAA, MPAA, etc... before your karma gets totally blown!

Oops! Too late.

Re:Ummm, (2, Interesting)

cavehobbit (652751) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582330)

MAN!

I guess the Apple fanboys are out in force early.

Considering that the couple of folks that tried to clone the AppleII way back when were mercilessly hunted down and killed, (legalistically speaking), by Apple, and the short time Apple tried to license out their OS to clone makers was such a miserable failure due to their overly restrictive terms and high fees, I think my opinion is an honest one, not a troll.

Contrast to IBM and M$, who let the IBM PC clones freak flags fly, welcoming any and all third party developers and apps.

The attempt to quash my opinion by modding it down just validates it.

Re:Ummm, (4, Informative)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582824)

> Considering that the couple of folks that tried to clone the AppleII way back when were mercilessly hunted down and killed, (legalistically speaking), by Apple, and the short time Apple tried to license out their OS to clone makers was such a miserable failure due to their overly restrictive terms and high fees, I think my opinion is an honest one, not a troll.
>
> Contrast to IBM and M$, who let the IBM PC clones freak flags fly, welcoming any and all third party developers and apps.

It was a weird time in the industry. Everyone was trying to figure out whether or not to go with open or closed architectures, and changing their minds about it every couple of years.

Compared to the Mac, the Apple ][ was an exceptionally open platform. It not only had slots, when you bought an Apple ][, you got the schematics for the hardware, and you got a commented disassembly of the ROM in your documentation. Whereas the Mac needed a special Programmer's Key [wikipedia.org] just to reset the machine.

And as for IBM, the same IBM that let the clones out of the closet... was the same IBM that came up with the PS/2 and MCA (Micro Channel Architecture [wikipedia.org] ). Sure the second generation of IBM machines had slots and ran DOS (whether it was PC-DOS or MS-DOS :-), but what good were the machine's slots if you had to sign a licensing agreement just to build hardware for 'em?

Apple needs a superstar CEO (4, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17581960)

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

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

Re:Apple needs a superstar CEO (4, Insightful)

Skadet (528657) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582164)

It's not Jobs per se that they need. It isn't Jobs himself that's important, it's the role of his position. He's far more publically involved than a lot of CEOs are. Apple has successfully turned the CEO position, and consequently Jobs, into the mouthpiece for Apple -- into the spokesgeek people adore. Jobs' successor would have to fill that role well, but it's silly to think that Jobs alone is the only one who can do the ... uh, job.

Re:Apple needs a superstar CEO (5, Interesting)

The One and Only (691315) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582398)

Apple had another CEO like that once. His name was John Sculley. Visionary, charismatic superstar...Sculley was even seated between Hillary Clinton and Alan Greenspan at Clinton's first State of the Union, for God's sakes! Long story made short, he burned out and made some mistakes, and Apple fell into the disaster that was the mid-to-late 90's. Jobs has been CEO longer than Sculley was, and he never made that mistake. (One crucial difference: like Jobs, Sculley had visionary ideas. One of them was the Newton. Unlike Jobs, however, Sculley was no perfectionist, and the Newton shipped prematurely. Sculley was also nowhere near the control freak Jobs is, and engineering fell out of his influence and under Gassee's.)

Re:Apple needs a superstar CEO (2, Funny)

blugu64 (633729) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582516)

Let us also note that it was Scully who helped oust steve back in the early 80's

Re:Apple needs a superstar CEO (5, Insightful)

MsGeek (162936) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582976)

John Sculley was not the problem. Michael Spindler was. Spindler presided over the fiascos that marked the early PowerPC period, like the dreaded "Performa" machines. And contrary to popular belief, Apple was on its way to a turnaround before Apple bought NeXT. Gil Amelio was responsible for the revival of the PowerBook brand after the "PowerBook Flambe" fiasco, hired Jonathan Ive as industrial designer, and had greenlighted the iMac. Of course, when Amelio bought NeXT, he basically signed his own pink slip as the purchase meant Steve Jobs was back.

I think after 10 years of The Steve back at the helm of Apple, the next CEO needn't be anywhere near as hands-on as The Steve is. They just need to avoid hiring someone as clueless as Spindler. The technological team Apple put together is good enough and strong enough to carry on unless a Spindler-level fuckup winds up at the reins. Amelio started the rebirth of Apple, The Steve kicked it into high gear. Apple will never be Dell. Perhaps that's for the best.

Re:Apple needs a superstar CEO (0)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582506)

Regardless of who sits in the big chair, that person must positively sweat charisma.


It's Jobs' "Hey, look at I'm a rockstar!" persona that invites the True Apple Believers.

It's just not enough to have someone who's an effective CEO, they must be a rockstar on top of being (or at least appearing to be) a creative genius.

Well, I guess that rules out at least 90% of Fortune 500 CEOs... Actually, I can think of one person who might be able to pull it off but would probably never do it, even if asked. Jeff Bezos.

Re:Apple needs a superstar CEO (1)

codemachine (245871) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582706)

Mark Cuban maybe? Not sure if he's actually be effective at leading Apple, but he's a rockstar tech guy for sure.

Not too many of those around though.

Re:Apple needs a superstar CEO (4, Funny)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582800)

Why not get an actual rock star? That would be a hilarious sight in the board room.

Re:Apple needs a superstar CEO (1)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582902)

Branson could pull it off, natch, but again he wouldn't do it even if asked.

Re:Apple needs a superstar CEO (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#17583070)

Maybe if they let him rename the company to 'Virgin Apple' ... :)

The obvious: (1)

QueePWNzor (1044224) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582000)

What happened last time was Apple fell downhill, as Jobs became rich on Pixar and, well, interesting with NextStep. I'd bet if Steve leaves, that will happen. But this time, he'll just run Pixar, and end up as the CEO of Disney as a whole. Jobs is charismatic, and, heck, his description of the iPhone was the only one that made it look good. In a time of Apple innovation, not only will Jobs stay, but will be the center of promotion, and loved by $$$-hungry investors, who see his talents in selling

Re:The obvious: (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 7 years ago | (#17583088)

What happened last time was Apple fell downhill [...]
Well, depends on your timeline.

While Jobs was there, back in mid-1985, Apple had it's huge reorg and layoff. Apple was losing money on Macs--sales were nowhere near meeting expectations and Apple II sales were dropping. I think this is when Steve was stuck in the corner as Chief Executive in charge of nothing.

Jobs left Apple in late 1985. It wasn't until after Jobs left that Apple produced Macs that weren't completely closed (ie, Macintosh II). Apple had it's largest marketshare and highest profits after Jobs left. Apple developed QuickTime, Hypercard, ColorSync, FireWire, and various other technologies while Jobs was gone.

So after Jobs left, things went uphill for about five years or so, leveled off for a few years, then went downhill.

We already know the answer (4, Insightful)

venicebeach (702856) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582008)

History says no. Apple without Steve was not the same...

Re:We already know the answer (3, Interesting)

Zaurus (674150) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582274)

Even more convincing, Pixar with Steve didn't do so bad.

Re:We already know the answer (1)

KH (28388) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582504)

Are you conveniently forgetting NeXT?

Re:We already know the answer (1)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582726)

True. Why look how successful the Mac was between 1984 and 1985, while Steve Jobs was in charge. Look how successful it was after he left.

What launch? (4, Insightful)

nelomolen (128271) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582030)

Successful launch of the iPhone? What launch?

They've only announced a future product, and the general sentiment seems to be that it won't be a hot seller. That's a far cry from being a success.

Re:What launch? (2, Funny)

bheer (633842) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582186)

> Successful launch of the iPhone? What launch?

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

Re:What launch? (1)

vespazzari (141683) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582602)

and the general sentiment seems to be that it won't be a hot seller
What are you talking about? where the hell did you come up with that? I have not seen one person speculate on the sales of the iphone that had anything negative to say. far from being the general sentiment.

Re:What launch? (1)

moronoxyd (1000371) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582744)

Then you seem to have very good (reality) filters in place. I've read very mixed opinions.

Re:What launch? (1)

JMLang (833136) | more than 7 years ago | (#17583028)

Well, the announcement was quite successful at driving Apple's stock price to a record high. Perhaps its just a matter of perspective.

Re:What launch? (1)

rob1980 (941751) | more than 7 years ago | (#17583162)

It was successful in attracting a lawsuit from Cisco, and as we all know bad publicity is better than no publicity.

More interesting question! (5, Funny)

ceeam (39911) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582048)

What is Microsoft without Steve Ballmer?

Re:More interesting question! (5, Funny)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582090)

What is Microsoft without Steve Ballmer?

A corporation that employs fewer chair repairmen?

Re:More interesting question! (0, Redundant)

Ucklak (755284) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582586)

You know, some jokes just get old but that one was pretty funny.

Re:More interesting question! (2, Funny)

malraid (592373) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582108)

I would be a place where the chairs are not bolted to floor.

Re:More interesting question! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17582198)

Less sweaty?

Re:More interesting question! (5, Funny)

Nemetroid (883968) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582270)

The same thing, but with 100% less squirting.

Re:More interesting question! (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582684)

As the first four responses to this question prove, less easily mockable.

Re:More interesting question! (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582760)

The more important question, what is the chair repair market without Steve Ballmer?

Investor confidence (4, Interesting)

kongjie (639414) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582058)

I guess there's a few questions in there. The article suggests that investors' confidence is based on Jobs. So if he goes, so will they.

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

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

Re:Investor confidence (4, Insightful)

cowscows (103644) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582496)

What I think is most important for a company like Apple is focus. And that focus needs to come from the top. Perfectionism is a double edged sword, and not really all that hard to find. It can enable you to make some really great things, but the nature of working that way means that you can only make so many great things, because perfectionism takes time.

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

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

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

Re:Investor confidence (4, Insightful)

poot_rootbeer (188613) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582640)

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

It's a peculiar argument to make that a greater tolerance for mediocrity could have in some way helped Apple's success.

Re:Investor confidence (2, Interesting)

kongjie (639414) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582938)

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

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

Use Gordon Ramsey as a parallel, in the restaurant business--which has many, many assholes, by the way--and ask if the quality of his cuisine and employees is helped or hindered by his habit of terrorizing underperformers. There are definitely great restaurants that are not run by assholes, but is that the exception?

Re:Investor confidence (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 7 years ago | (#17583168)

Let me be clearer. Jobs has a reputation for driving his employees hard and not accepting anything less than perfection.

Not from his Quality Control department. Apple is notorious for shoddy design and workmanship in their first generation of anything they make.

Re:Investor confidence (1)

mrandre (530920) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582666)

Is there *really* a question that having a perfectionist has helped Apple? Would we still be talking about the iPhone if it was, you know, pretty cool, not bad, really? What, exactly, is the argument that less intensity would be better? And what is the evidence?

Anecdotally... (5, Insightful)

Zaurus (674150) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582112)

(Jobs) I loved Mac's in the 80's. High-res screens. Mice. Cool apps.

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

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

So, anecdotally I'd say that Jobs makes a huge difference. That being said, I think Apple would still have a good chance if the Jobs appointees stayed in power after he left.

Re:Anecdotally... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17582848)

I love Mac's in the...2000's(?).
I prefer the 00's, pronounced "uh ohs".

Just like... (4, Funny)

zerrubabul (1050318) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582122)

Apple without Steve Jobs would be like what De Lorean was without John De Lorean. No one really wanted De Loreans after John De Lorean left either.

Re:Just like... (1)

heffrey (229704) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582314)

Nobody wanted them before he left either, he basically blagged loads of government subsidies and then ran off with the case as I recall

different distortion field, different apple? (1)

joeyspqr (629639) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582154)

a leader stands on the shoulders of his people. some other chief could inspire the same level of achievement from his tribe; it would be a different style of company, maybe just as successful.
apple definitely needs inspired, talented, and charismatic leadership to survive in its niche; that only Jobs can provide it is doubtful. whether they can find that some one else who can do it is another question entirely.

As the number one fanboy... (4, Funny)

Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582158)

it's an interesting question to ask the fanboys and detractors out there: could Apple succeed and continue to innovative without Jobs at the helm?"

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

Answer yes. Last time Jobs left, Apple was left with mediocre CEOs (who seemed determined to run Apple to the ground). It entirely depends on who replaces Jobs.

He's Not Indispensible (3, Insightful)

aalobode (758863) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582182)

Apple is too big to lose its viability on the basis of Jobs' departure. Remember that in c. 1984, he came out with the first Mac at a high price point, with a choice of features that restricted its power. The subsequent lackluster sales eventually led to his departure. Following that, he did not succeed with his NeXT project. And then he returned to a different Apple under different business circumstances etc. and both he and the company thrived.

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

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

It wasn't the Mac that was high priced... (1)

jdp816 (895616) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582866)

it was the Lisa. A $10,000 flop, even if they tried to clear out the left overs as Mac XLs. The Mac was expensive compared to, say, the C64. The Mac became a project for Jobs after he was *forced out of the Lisa project*. His grandiose-ness-ess as a personality helps move product, but he's always been the leader of high priced flops that had technology that later payed off. See NeXTStep/OS X.

Jonathan Ive (3, Interesting)

Andy_R (114137) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582190)

Jobs is certainly a more charismatic figurehead than Gates or Ballmer, but plenty of companies do just fine without a reality distortion field, so why shouldn't Apple? I believe the key man behind Apple's current run of success may well be Jonathan 'Jony' Ive, not Steve Jobs.

Re:Jonathan Ive (3, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582418)

plenty of companies do just fine without a reality distortion field, so why shouldn't Apple?

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

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

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

Re:Jonathan Ive (1)

kongjie (639414) | more than 7 years ago | (#17583090)

I don't buy your thesis that's Apple's success is due to its ability to convince us that its products are the best.

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

Can you name another corporation that has thrived because it convinced people its product was good and it really wasn't? If people didn't like iPods and Macs the company would be bankrupt or absorbed, like naysayers have been predicting for decades. And the company you name has to be something non-essential and non-physically addictive: big oil and tobacco don't count.

My point is that if Apple products weren't performing, they wouldn't be selling.

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

Spazntwich (208070) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582194)

I'm sure Steve's influence on the company's success is overrated. They did just fine [lowendmac.com] without him, launching many successful [forbes.com] products [wikipedia.org] under the wise leadership of their brilliant [wikipedia.org] interim [wikipedia.org] CEOs [wikipedia.org] .

You're kidding, right? (1)

kwerle (39371) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582214)

In Pauly's worst-case-scenario, the SEC prosecutes Apple, and the board is forced to oust Jobs.

Forced, how? Because if they oust Jobs, Apple's future looks brighter? It's stock goes up? You're kidding, right?

Re:You're kidding, right? (1)

ad0gg (594412) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582626)

Forced out by the SEC saying that apple can no longer employee steve jobs.

Re:You're kidding, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17582936)

This is the United States, a free country. Since when does government dictate who can work where?

What is Apple Without Steve Jobs? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17582220)

meh...

/that is all

Steve Jobs is needed (1, Insightful)

zoftie (195518) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582236)

He's the asshole in charge that knows his shit. He worked in electronics parts retail and I bet none of the MBA groomed directors/boardmembers/whatevers had ever such jobs pertinent to their business. He gets things his way, and most of the time he is right. I am not apple fanboi, I use many platforms, but you can really admire his affinity for simple things. Its almost like zen. He is a role model too for many nerds in that way.
Without steve jobs they still have long way to go , but slope will change direction almost immediately.
He's got the stone and knowlege to do things. Not many directors/whatevers have such initmate knowlege of technology feel. I some respects he is like Kevin Mitnick - when they started questioning about his expolitation of computers he got emotional and cried. Whatever.
Without jobs apple is just another e-bit hardware maker.

Mouthpiece (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17582244)

Without a mouthpiece, a horn is still a horn....

Re:Mouthpiece (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17582404)

Without a mouthpiece, a horn is still a horn....

indeed! and Apple STILL blows.

Consultancy (0, Redundant)

Aqua OS X (458522) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582258)

Well, if we're going to play the game of hypotheticals, in the unlikely case Steve gets booted out, Steve could hypothetically start his own product design consultancy and consult for Apple.

One thing is certain... (3, Insightful)

bealzabobs_youruncle (971430) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582266)

Wall Street will punish Apple in a huge way if Jobs goes, either by choice or force. For many people Jobs is Apple, and the useless analyst at places like Gartner will paint awesome forecast of doom when Jobs does go.

FreeBSD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17582290)

Just another x86 machine running FreeBSD

Don't Change Course (2, Interesting)

prozac79 (651102) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582312)

They would survive without Jobs since they now have some momentum in certain areas such as digital music and consumer electronics. As long as they make incremental, evolutionary improvements to their already-existing popular products, they will do fine. Now that they have a name with things like the iPod, they just need to make sure that it remains perceived as "cooler" than the other devices which means making small changes (bigger screens, touchscreens, higher capacity, smaller size, etc.). They might get in trouble if Jobs was replaced by someone who wanted to take the company in a "completely new direction". Just look at HP as an example of what new directions can do to a good company. Or look at what almost happened to Apple when they let Steve go before.

Innovate? (0, Troll)

L4m3rthanyou (1015323) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582318)

"could Apple succeed and continue to innovative without Jobs at the helm?"

Continue to innovate? Last I checked, they don't really innovate now. Or does adding "i" before the word "phone" pass for innovation these days? Or is it enough just to have a lot of fanboys? (like Nintendo? *cough*)

Face it, all they've got is a pretty OS and a bunch of expensive, pretty hardware that's not much different from the rest of any given market, aside from the fact that they try to enslave you with it.

Now, excuse me while I kiss my karma goodbye...

Re:Innovate? (1)

IflyRC (956454) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582380)

Or does adding "i" before the word "phone" pass for innovation these days?

Considering there is already a trademark dispute with Cisco over the term "iPhone" I think that should answer your question.

Re:Innovate? (1)

codemachine (245871) | more than 7 years ago | (#17583116)

You're entitled to your opinion, but I think their touchscreen phone with a full operating system (OS X) is fairly innovative. I'm not sure it is a good phone mind you, but it is certainly different, despite the unoriginal name.

Nintendo's Wii (now there is an original name) has real innovation as well in the WiiMote.

Sure, both systems have fanboys, and always have. However, both companies are selling a lot more units than they used to. That isn't because of fanboys, that is because of innovative and exciting products. Fanboys are the ones buying the crap no matter how good or innovative it is, whereas real consumers are the ones buying from these companies right now.

Hopefully you keep your Karma though. Not everything these companies do is gold. An iPod, while nice, is also just an expensive MP3 player which is trying to push their DRM'd music to the public. They aren't exactly the most open company all the time, as is the case with the phone too.

Personality cults aside, Jobs is replaceable (2, Interesting)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582322)

He's good, he's smart, he's richer than Cresus. He's the master of drama and slick stuff that works. He did very little himself, however, except running a tight ship.

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

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

Jobs ought to retire while we still like him, after choosing someone without a pony tail (sorry, Jonathon).

Re:Personality cults aside, Jobs is replaceable (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17582598)

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

Oh... you mean like Sony.

Re:Personality cults aside, Jobs is replaceable (2, Insightful)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582700)

Good heavens. You have a point ;)>

Disney would buy Apple (2, Interesting)

plusser (685253) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582326)

If Steve Jobs left Apple now, it is conceivable that the first thing that would happen is that he would become CEO of Disney. If Steve Jobs became CEO of Disney, the first thing he would do is buy Apple Inc - business as usual. Why - quite simple. Sony makes films and also makes consumer electronics. There are considerable benefits in doing both, so by buying Apple Disney get in on the market. It is something called Vertical Integration - an old business model that coming back into fashion.

Re:Disney would buy Apple (1)

winkydink (650484) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582500)

If Steve were forced out of the CEO slot by the Feds, it's likely that he would not be able to hold an officer position in any publicly-traded company. Nice try though.

Re:Disney would buy Apple (1)

Suriken (922504) | more than 7 years ago | (#17583156)

Jobs will always find his way back into apple. Apple is Jobs, Jobs is apple. Even the years at NeXT found their way back to apple. In the form of OSX, one of the biggest and best Operating System upgrades there has been. OS9 to OSX is the greatest form of punctuated equilibrium this millenia

High standards (4, Insightful)

moderators_are_w*nke (571920) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582338)

Somebody within Apple (strongly rumored to be Jobs) who has a lot of power has exceptionally high standards for design an usability, and this is why we get iPod+iTunes from Apple (killer app - even my little sister can rip CDs onto it) and Media Player+Some strange OLED WMA player from others.

Thats the key, somebody who will say no to an average product which would make a fair amount of money until its even better. If they lose that, they're the same as everyone else and they can't command premium prices anymore.

Seems unlikely for now (1)

ubernostrum (219442) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582374)

Jobs himself seems to be clean with respect to the stock-options fiasco, so I have a hard time seeing how he could be "forced out". And it seems highly unlikely at this point that Apple's board (which is a lot friendlier toward Jobs than the board which ousted him way back when -- these days, Apple is controlled almost entirely by friends of Steve) would ever want to get rid of him in the absence of legal force requiring it. A better hypothetical to pose is what would happen if/when Jobs ever decides to retire.

A better place? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17582400)

What is Apple without Steve Jobs? Simple, a company I could possibly then come to respect and maybe, just maybe, actually patronize.

But, seeing as how ingrained and pervasive company cultures tend to be, I doubt ridding itself of Jobs would help Apple any more than MicroSoft ridding itself of Gates and Ballmer would lessen the festering rot at it's core.

-1 Flamebait

Same without Jobs? Probably not... (2, Interesting)

w3woody (44457) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582490)

The one thing Steve Jobs has been is ruthless in getting well-thought out design and integrated software projects working across multiple product teams, so that the final user experience is a unified one across most of Apple's products.

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

I don't know if there is a technologically savvy enough uber-geek asshole out there which could replace Steve Jobs if he were to leave Apple--which means Apple would eventually fall back on the habits it had under Spindler and Amelio, where every division internally competed without any sort of unified direction, beyond the imperitive that the sell something.

Apple would do just fine without Steve (1)

lazzaro (29860) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582532)

Apple would do just fine without Steve, because the management under him understands why the company has been successful since Steve returned, and has enough common sense not to change the formula unless its obvious that the change makes the company stronger. These are not stupid people.

At this point, Steve immerses himself in product development because he has fun doing it, not because he doesn't trust the people under him to do a good job without his involvement. Does he think his presence in the process makes the product better? Of course! Does he think Apple products would be second-rate without his presence? No -- he trusts his people and he trusts the culture.

Yes, the "media superstar CEO" part of the formula needs to change. But with smart people making the change, there's no reason why a comparatively "faceless" Apple can't be just as successful as the Apple of today that has Steve Jobs as its face. There are many ways to successfully market a product, a rock-star CEO is a marketing luxury, not a necessity.

Apple will still be able to innovate (1)

flanksteak (69032) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582544)

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

The main problem is that Jobs and the company are viewed primarily as symbiotic to one another. Can we really imagine Apple run by anybody else?

He'd be a consultant (1)

smcdow (114828) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582616)

Even if they did have to oust him, what would keep him from consuting with Apple on new products, etc? Even if he couldn't do the keynotes, he'd sure vet whoever did. As a consultant, of course.

The truth (1)

vga_init (589198) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582650)

Apple needs Steve Jobs like a fish needs a bicycle. I think. Or maybe like a woman needs a man. No, that isn't right... when a man loves a woman... ugh forget it

Steve Jobs == Lassie (5, Funny)

dafragsta (577711) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582658)

When he dies, they'll just replace him with another guy in a turtleneck. No one will know the difference. Mac users are more emotional than logical anyway. ;)

The SEC will not let this happen (2, Insightful)

alms (871430) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582674)

I'm an investor in Apple and I also work in the investment industry. My take is that Apple would lose about 40% of its market value immediately if Jobs got the boot. At today's price that's about $37 Billion of equity going poof, supposedly in the name of protecting Apple's shareholders. Sure, some or all of that value might come back eventually. But the point is, it's never going to happen. The regulators might find some way to publicly reprimand him, but he's too important to the company --- and he's added too much value to the company --- to be pulled out for this. Technically speaking it shouldn't matter, so there is something of an ethical dilemma. But the market ultimately is more practical than that. It wouldn't serve anyone's good. Of course, I may be completely wrong. But my portfolio hopes that I'm not.

Just another gadget company (1)

Yath (6378) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582682)

What is Apple Without Steve Jobs?
Hewlett-Packard, post-Carly Fiorina.

Tagging Beta (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17582696)

The tagging utility is to make searching for related articles easier and for finding this one again in the future...

NOT for subtly expressing your own opinions about the subject. This defeats the purpose of tagging articles and bogs down the tagging system with nonsense.

(/rant)

"Success in launching the iPhone" ? (1, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582698)

Those are very strange definitions for "success" and "launching". First, they haven't sold a single unit yet. Second, they won't sell any for another 6 months. Third, the response among potential purchasers went from zealotry to "Actually, that kind of sucks" in less time than it took to break an iPhone touchscreen. The iPhone (in its current form) is shaping up to be Apple's PS3.

speculate? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17582764)

it's almost pointless to speculate, especially when all speculators are classified either as a "fanboy" or a "detractor".

can't we be trusted to make our wild, speculative guesses objectively?

One (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582774)

One thing not mentioned is that AAPL has split twice since Steve Jobs returned. Both were 2:1. So if you bought 500 shares of AAPL back then at $10 a share ($5000), at yesterday's record close, your shares would have been worth $196,000. That's pretty good for 10 years. If you had bought MSFT at the same price, in 1997, it would be worth $124,000. Still pretty good.

again an apple article that is full of nothing. (1)

mtjs (918147) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582854)

this is welltimed FUD to get the stock price down. Several articles from the same nature are spread to various different news sites with (the same OLD) Apple SEC Option backdating problem (that's already fully resolved) Jobs in trouble for the backdating 'under investigation by the FBI' like they will investigate if there is no complaint anymore, Jobs would be Ill again (not able to jump around on stage like MS balmer once did), he would be forced out by the other board members (yeah, that will happen), and so on and on and on...

main 'partner' in this is Citi bank. They've backed DELL too much and it gone bad. But they are in too deep with DELL. So they prais dell and FUD apple, moving apple money to dell. At the end, DELL will go down. They are REALY under investigation by the SEC, they DO have options issues, they DO strange things with money, they buy back own stock to get the stock price up, ...

Don't beleave it, ..? wait a year and see what happens next.

Don't beleave news sites and sites that 'pick up news' like slashdot should do RESEARCH before posting such BS. Why in the hell write an article about what would happen to a company should the CEO leave while there is NOT ONE sign he would leave ???

Ah well... business as usual

Who needs The Real Steve Jobs? (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582928)

Even if the real Steve Jobs is fired, we'll always have The Fake Steve Jobs [blogspot.com] to inspire and comfort us.

they'd be fine, he isn't just a CEO (1)

hejog (816106) | more than 7 years ago | (#17582960)

his influence and persona will have engulfed the company. They're fucking good at what they do -- making computers useable, for everyone. I think Jobs' has been planning his retirement/whatever -- look at the recent changes: a) Moving to Intel processors, offering huge speed and price benefits. A *monumental* step b) Diversity. Not just computers, MP3 Players, Phones, Software, Media! heck, even the little things like giving Apple a 2 button mouse. No one except Jobs could have put Apple on the road to success, now they're on it they'll easily continue to rock. ESPECIALLY with people like Ive and Schiller.

Willy Wonka (5, Interesting)

Pengo (28814) | more than 7 years ago | (#17583004)


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

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

you people are all insane (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 7 years ago | (#17583106)

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

It's like I've entered like a parallel universe where nobody remembers anything. Apple has ALWAYS struggled. Just because they succeed in one market doesn't mean they're some sort of divinely graced company. Even under Jobs' leadership they've had plenty of failures.

They'll Do Alright... (1)

WiseWeasel (92224) | more than 7 years ago | (#17583114)

I used to think that Apple would be doomed without him, but since his decision to lock down the iPod to open development, I have to question that. Obviously, the guy makes incredibly stupid decisions at times. The things he brings are 1) salesmanship, 2) perfectionism in design and usage (empathy for users), and 3) motivator for engineers at Apple. His skills as a salesman are undisputed and rarely matched. As a chief visionary and leader of the design teams, he certainly has beneficial impulses in usability, but seems frightened of participating with other players in the industry, and tends to favor controlling the ENTIRE device, to the detriment of interoperability. He fails to understand the value that openness and loose controls bring to a product.As for his skills as a motivator, there are plenty of horror stories floating around that speak of the (hate to say mercurial, but there it is...) way he can deal with people at times, so I'd say there's certainly possibility for improvement in this regard. This is not to say that his motivation techniques haven't proved effective, but they certainly must have had their toll on the lives of the engineers beneath him...

I think there's definitely room for improvement, though it will be tough to find someone with such a powerful reality distortion field to give keynote presentations...
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