The business world certainly didn't think an Apple without Jobs would be a disaster, since the share price barely moved after the announcement of his resignation. Apple has long had a strong succession policy, and in addition to the elevation of Tim Cook to CEO, the company is loaded with very talented people. What is not clear at this point is whether Cook, or any of the other geniuses at the company can match the vision, leadership and personality of its founder.


Jobs was one of those rare entrepreneurs who is a brilliant visionary, a good leader and someone who is not afraid to make a mistake and admit it. In a commencement speech he gave at Stanford University, he advised the graduates to “Stay foolish”, not advise a twenty something normally needs. But it is clear that his successes could not have occurred he was not afraid of taking some foolish chances from time to time.

One of the other problems is that Apple is Job’s company, in almost every sense of the word. He started it, ran it, still owns a good percentage of it and therefore was comfortable with and felt free to take risks other future leaders may not. He knew what he wanted to see computers do, and he wanted his to do it better than the others. He didn't bother much with market research, because his gut told him what the market wanted.


The team at Apple may very well be the crème de la crème in the computing world, but they will never be able to duplicate the success that Apple has known under Steve Jobs, Jobs concentrated on being innovative and surprising in every way. How many CEO’s can command the kind of audience he did for the announcement of a new product or line? People literally held their breaths for every new development, or even rumor thereof.

The team at post-Job Apple will have their work cut out for them just staying in the market and growing their existing products, not pulling a new rabbit out of the hat every year or so. Jobs had the luxury of indulging his vision in a way that few business leaders before have had. Ford and Edison built a product (or a series of products, in the case of Edison) based on the same kind of dream, stamina and discipline that Jobs exhibited, but inventor/dreamer/leaders like them are rare. Apple will never be the same, or even as successful, without Steve Jobs as it was with him.

Will Apple still be “The Apple” without Steve Jobs? We really don’t know what future does Apple have without Jobs.


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