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January 08, 2009


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Carolyn Jung

So what do you think is going on with Steve Jobs? Should we be worried?


Hard to say, Carolyn, as we have few clues about his condition. We all wish him the best, of course.

In terms of Apple, I expect the stock will be clobbered until such time as investors see evidence that the company can weather his absence. Not clear whether the product direction and innovation will remain as focused without Jobs at the helm.

Frankly, investors and the company management should have been considering this all along. Having a strong CEO is a double-edged sword and Apple has never made visible any structure they may have to take his place. When Bill Gates stepped aside, he did so wisely and the company's direction (such as it is) was never in question. Apple (and Jobs's ego) has never allowed that. Oracle and Larry Ellison is another example. Starbucks and Dell are recent examples of companies that faltered so badly when their well-known leaders took lesser roles, that in both cases the CEOs took it back a couple of years later.


This thought triggered an article: http://feedme.typepad.com/my_weblog/2009/01/steve-jobs-a-lesson-for-strong-leaders.html

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