That Steve Jobs is taking a leave of absence has spread all over the place yesterday. (Read Steve’s internal email)
There has been a lot to do about the health of Mr. Apple and as Apple is a public company Jobs’ health influences the stock price. When Jobs announced the iPhone in January 2007 at Macworld Apples market cap rose by 6 billion dollars during his presentation. Jobs is a master in demoing new Apple goodies and many people hold him fully responsible for the success of the company.
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Wall Street is trying to figure out what exactly happens now. Early January Jobs told said he’s suffering from a ‘hormone imbalance’. Now he’s taking a leave of absence until the end of June. Meanwhile Apple stock has been bouncing up and down on any news about Steve. What will become of Apple when Steve leaves the company? Who will become the new CEO of Apple? Can they continue to grow and build superior products despite growing competition and without the genius and charismatic company icon Steve Jobs?
My mom doesn’t know Steve
Is Mr. Jobs is so super important for the company as Wall Street thinks? Sure for the press and the huge Apple fanboys base Steve is the Apple icon and success of Apple and Steve go hand in hand. But how about my mom, who bought over the last years several iPods, or what about my niece who bought a Macbook, calls with an iPhone and has some spare iPods for backup, when the iPhone is out of battery. Do they buy Apple products because of Steve? Will his resignation have any influence on future buys for these people? If you’d ask me, I’d say that the impact on the Apple company when Steve leaves is less then what Wall Street is anticipating. In the end this remains a huge problem for Apple.
So the question is how can we give Steve time off without losing (too much) market cap?
Ok, this is basically a PR problem, but isn’t PR just what Apple masters?
The Theory: Steve is not returning as CEO of Apple, not in June, not ever.
If Steve steps down permanently, Apple stock will plummet. They know that in Cupertino, so they have decided to do it in phases. First Steve takes a 5 month break, stock will go down when this news goes out (as it does now -5% today), but then shareholders and investors will think he’ll be back in June. Until June, Apple has enough time to show Wall Street that it can operate, make more profit and keep innovating even without Steve as Chairman. If Apple manages to live up to the expectations of the market, Steve will not return as CEO, if Steve is still needed he might return, but probably just for a short period.
Apple has six months to show that it is just as strong and cool without Steve.
One thing is for sure, we’re gonna miss him. Get well Steve.