Saturday, January 3, 2009


Recently, the speculation about the health of Apple's CEO, Steve Jobs, has escalated. His stewardship of the company since his return in 1997 has been so directly linked with the success of the company that concerns about his health have an impact on the value of the stock.

One can think of only a couple of modern equivalents, Jack Welsh at GE, but the company survived his retirement just fine. Perhaps Richard Branson of Virgin, but neither was responsible for building a singular, iconic product that built the company.

From the brink of disaster, Apple has risen to a level of greater importance and industry impact than ever before. The story was a Silicon Valley soap opera: how Jobs was forced out of the company he built, unable to manage as well as he had created, and how a string of managers had failed to continue the "Insanely great" idea that Apple was built on Can it continue without Jobs?

As a long time fan and user, it is hard for me to imagine an Apple after Jobs. One hopes the design and technical standards that define the new Apple are part of the company's fabric, but most accounts lead one to believe that the Jobsian autocracy is just that. We will see. In the meantime I think I have one more big Mac purchase left to make. Let's see what the Macbook Pro looks like in a couple of years.

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