Apple – Steve Jobs = Apple

Apple is a lot more than Steve Jobs, and you can be sure that Apple has plans to go on without him. Don’t forget he’s still very much alive. It’s much too early to start writing his obituary.

The media craziness has reached epic proportions with people like Michael Wolff writing drek such as:

Indeed, the logical answer to what happens at Apple without Jobs is that it dies. What you have, demonstrably, is a company without any managerial wherewithal beyond Jobs; these are Stockholm syndrome people. The big guy is dying and his crew is ready to go with him (taking the shareholders’ money along).

Apple is in very capable hands with Tim Cook, who already had experience running Apple while Steve Jobs was out for his surgery. Apple still has other great people like Jonathan Ives, who is responsible for the design of most of their products. Enough of Steve Jobs’ vision has permeated every level of Apple that almost any Apple employee can ask themselves “What Would Steve Jobs Do” and know what to do.

Microsoft seems to be doing just fine without Bill Gates and I never saw any predictions that it would die when he retired. I can see a similar path for Apple and I’ll go out on a limb and predict that Steve Jobs will still be alive at the end of this year. I predict that Jobs will live long enough to go into a retirement similar to Bill Gates, probably in the not too distant future. In the upcoming months Apple’s leadership plans will be made clear.

My take on the Steve Jobs health rumors

Webomatica nails it:

Because Apple has managed other, daunting transitions expertly, I fully expect them to manage a “post-Jobs” transition with equal skill. Have a little faith, people. This is Steve Jobs we’re talking about, the stereotypical control-freak. There’s no way in heck he’d leave something like this up to chance.

I have no inside information, but just based on publicly available information, I don’t believe Steve Jobs is dying. Apple would be in big trouble with the SEC if they were holding back information or lying about his health.

I do believe Steve Jobs is planning to retire in the next year. He may make the announcement at Macworld Expo and pass the torch to Phil Schiller, Tim Cook, or someone else. I’m sure he has a transition plan in place, which he has most likely been planning for the last few years. If you watch any of his keynotes from the last two years, you’ll see that he has gradually started bringing other executives into the spotlight and giving them a chance to do parts of the presentation. This year’s Macworld is merely the final step in that transition.

Retiring doesn’t necessarily mean Steve Jobs is having health problems. It’s common for people who have had a health scare, like his pancreatic cancer surgery, to reevaluate their priorities and want to take time to pursue other interests.

Some people have suggested Steve Wozniak as Jobs’ replacement, which is a bad idea on several levels. Woz is a brilliant engineer who will always come up with amazing hardware & software solutions, but, like many engineers, he probably wouldn’t be happy in a management role. Woz also doesn’t share Jobs’ obsession over form & function – he’d rather work on nitty gritty implementation details than absolutely perfect usability. Woz is a left brain thinker vs. Jobs’ right brain. The leader of Apple needs to be a visionary like Jobs, not necessarily a brilliant engineer, although he does need brilliant engineers working for him to make his vision into reality.