Tag Archives: Jobs

The Apple momentum is strong enough to weather the Steve Jobs’ resignation

It was one of those moments in life, sorry if I sound over dramatic, but I am a techie and have become a big Apple fan. To see flash across my iPhone the news from the AP that Apple CEO Steve Jobs was resigning, effective immediately – was a shock. It is well documented that the founder of Apple has been ill and battled bouts with cancer. He has taken two leaves for medical reasons, one earlier this year. Clearly his health was in question, and based on his reputation as a driven and hard driving CEO, the day to day grind that comes with the role must not have been a good thing for his well being (rumor is he was not the most pleasant person to present in front of). The fact he has had to made this decision is an indication that his health has reached a point where he needs to allow himself the time and peace to concentrate on his health.

I do think this is not as dramatic as it might have been a few years ago, by no means do I think this will not impact the business and the stock just not the level of impact it might have had. Here’s is why:

  • Apple has created a momentum of its own, due in very large part to Jobs, but that momentum has a life of its own. Recently, Apple became the world’s most valuable company when it surpassed Exxon by $4b in market cap during trading, this lead was short lived. Then again when your company was seen as all but dead less than 2 decades ago, having a valuation of north of $300billion is nothing to be ashamed of.
  • Apple is generating tremendous amounts of free cash flow, to the point they have more cash on hand that Uncle Sam! I realize companies like Microsoft also have a large sum of cash on hand and that does not guarantee you keep your place at the top of the mountain, but it sure doesn’t hurt to stay close to the top. The cash on hand should afford Apple the opportunity to make mistakes as they  find their way through the transition period.
  • iPhone, iPad, iPod, Mac, iTunes, App Store, Apple Store….these have all become parts of our daily lives. The fact the family of products has become more present in the corporate meeting rooms speaks to how far Apple has come. Jobs was never known for wanting to cater to the corporate world with his products. Not that I believe Apple should see this as a target, might make them become too Microsoft or SAP like, but maybe a new leadership will be slightly less frigid to the corporation. Heck their devices are already all over the corporate world.
  • Apple and Wall Street both knew this day was coming, the signs have been there since he took his first medical leave. While I am sure there will be some share volatility due to the announcement, the market cap and price will bounce back once the new iPhone comes out or a new iPad. Granted this impact will not last indefinitely.
  • Steve Jobs himself. The man has made more than a few come backs. He is only 55. He clearly has a super natural drive and ambition. He remains the Chairman at Apple. Do not count him out and we cannot underestimate the potential influence he still has over the direction of Apple.

Apple knew this day was coming and I would trust had and have a plan they will execute. The influence Jobs has had on Apple’s rise cannot be truly quantified. I do believe in the statement that everyone is replaceable; however, I also believe some like Steve Jobs challenge that statement. Apple will continue making wonderful consumer products…at least in the short term. It will be up to the leadership and brain trust, as well as Jobs himself, to ensure that the creative and business magic they have leveraged is transferred and groomed within the next generation of Apple leaders.

God’s speed on your journey to recovery Mr Jobs.

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Steve Jobs leave of absence – raises question about Apple’s long term

The iconic leader of Apple will be taking another leave of absence due to medical reason.

I realize that we are all replaceable. Jack Welsh left GE, they seem to be doing fairly well. Bill Gates slowly diminished himself in the world of Microsoft and they still churn out massive amounts of cash every quarter. Bill Clinton could not run for a 3rd term and…never mind. Companies, countries and organizations can survive and do thrive after an iconic leader moves on. However, no company embodies its leader as does Apple. Jobs’ influence on the direction and strategy of Apple is legendary. The iPod, iPhone, iPad, iTunes, Apple TV and all the other products that Apple has churned out have Jobs’ fingerprints all over them. One might argue that Apple has developed its own momentum and could finally be able to thrive without their founder leading the charge.

I am not so certain. I think that Apple, while enjoying incredible success recently, might be heading into some rough waters ahead. Google and the Droid operating system are a real threat in the smart phone world. The Droid operating system is device agnostic so unlike the iPhone can be sold via a wide host of handsets. The aforementioned Microsoft seems to want to reassert themselves in the mobile game with their new Windows 7 phone. On the tablet side there are a number of manufacturers looking to take a piece of iPad pie: Blackberry, Toshiba, Dell as well as the Kindle and Nook are all looking to own a part of the tablet market. No doubt iPad is the clear leader, but there are some serious challengers on the horizon. Finally the battle for the home is only beginning. With Apple TV and iTunes, clearly Apple wants to own the content that goes to you shiny new 50inch LED HDTV. Then again so does Google – Google TV, Sony with their TVs and the PS3 system, Microsoft with the XBox and Kinect, as well as all the set top manufacturers with their DVRs.

Steve Jobs has been able to keep Apple ahead of these competitors, nothing short of amazing. Without him at the helm will Apple keep up this momentum? Not sure. This next year will be vital for Apple – ver 2 of the iPad, iPhone 5 and the push for Apple TV. Without a strong, visionary leader in place Apple might not be able to enjoy the success they have come to expect under Jobs.

I would hope that Apple has put in place a plan of succession for leadership, groomed or identified who will keep Apple going. Time will tell.

We are all replaceable, but when it comes to Apple, Jobs might be more difficult to find a replacement than in other organizations.

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