Jobs Report

Following Steve Jobs' resignation this past week, we got an avalanche of stories detailing his time at Apple, trying to anticipate what might be next for the iconic company, and paying tribute to Jobs' many accomplishments during the course of his career.  My thoughts on the future:
  • It will be five years or more before Jobs' absence is profoundly felt in Apple's strategy or product line.  He is enough of a visionary, and his management team is cohesive enough, that the company will continue to thrive without Jobs as CEO.  Nevertheless, Steve's presence is already notably missing, and deeply felt throughout the company and the broader Apple community.  He was the animating force behind the Apple brand.  He will continue to inspire, but probably not in the same way he has these past ten years.
  • I expect Apple to "stumble" ever-so-slightly sometime in the next year.  No matter how small the misstep, people are looking for fulfillment of the prophecy that Apple post-Jobs is doomed, and the next mildly negative or even not-wildly-successful effort will be woven into that storyline.  Ping is generally considered a flop, but it hasn't noticeably set Apple back.  If it had been launched under Tim Cook's supervision, it would've probably let to a gradual 5-10% slide in the stock price over a couple weeks.
  • Many are asking whether Tim Cook can replace Jobs.  Of course, he can't.  But Cook is reputed to be an operations genius - more so than Jobs was - and a wonderfully humble leader.  Now look at the number of patents that bear the names of both Jony Ive and Steve Jobs.  To me the relevant question is:  What do Cook + Ive lack, and where can they get it?  I suspect that Chairman Steve will continue to provide the intangibles that Cook and Ive need, for as long as he can continue as Chairman.  But...
  • I hope and literally pray that Steve Jobs lives a long, healthy, and happy life.  If anyone deserves a restful retirement, it's him.  Like anyone at the pinnacle of his career, I'm sure it will be hard to step away entirely from something that has consumed so much of his energy for so long, but I hope he can step away, if only to regain his strength and health so he can grow old with his family and friends.  It's none of our business what his current ailments are, or what his prognosis is, but we know he has fought off some truly terrible diseases and we know that he is stricken enough in his present state to conclude that he could "no longer meet [his] duties and expectations as Apple's CEO."  We must therefore be brace for the worst.
  • On a lighter note, has any company ever had such a celebrated CEO as Steve Jobs - one so thoroughly and universally considered to be the heart and soul of the enterprise?  Has any company's success ever been pinned so completely to their visionary/genius/messiah CEO as Apple has?  And, if you look back at #2-100 on a list of companies that had to weather a sudden change of leadership, has any of them been up 2% within two trading sessions, like AAPL?