Users buy Apple products because they are confident of design and functionality – and not because of Steve Jobs.
What will now become of Apple? No company stands so much in the shadow of its boss like the iPhone manufacturer. Now Steve Jobs must give up his role because he is sick. The whole world wonders: Can that go well? And what is Apple without Jobs? The answer: It can go well. And Jobs is more than just its boss.
Naturally the fear is justified —that Apple will be unable to sustain the steep rise of the past years without the charismatic leader. Apple nurtures these doubts with its history. After Jobs was forced out of the company in 1985, it went steadily downhill. After a long infirmity, Apple faced insolvency. Jobs was brought back Jobs and from then on it went upwards. Today Apple is the most valuable technology company in the world.
A Culture of Perfectionism
Today Apple is no longer the company of 1985. Because Jobs staged himself as extremely capable, he often disguised the view of what was behind him. Today it is an organization whose managers and designers have succeeded in meeting the taste of the customers so well and perfecting the logistics so much that competitors pale when looking at Apple’s profit margins. Apple is not only the market leader in the sales of digital music. The company revolutionized the smart phone and created a completely new category of computers with the iPad.
That is certainly largely to the credit of Jobs, but not only to his credit. He personally selected his closest colleagues and designated his right hand man, Tim Cook, as his successor. Jobs introduced a culture of perfectionism at Apple that didn’t always make working at Apple easy, but the results almost always proved Jobs to be right. Whether the firm has internalized the example that Jobs set will become apparent in the midterm. The product pipeline for the next two to three years is already set. So there will be no short-term setback.
Not until after that will it become apparent how good Jobs’ choice was and whether Apple then still has decision makers who don’t only assemble results of marker research, but are also ready to take risks. The brand Apple is at any rate strong enough: It will give the company the time to prove itself again. One thing must be clear to all: Users buy Apple products because they believe in them, and not because of Steve Jobs. At least not only.