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Apple needs Steve Jobs back, here's why

Posted: 21 Jan 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Steve Jobs? Tim Cook? Apple stock price? Apple CEO?

Still, Jobs is one of a kind. In the event that Jobs' health issues prevent him from returning permanently, the company is likely to suffer in countless ways. Here are five of them:

The vision
Apple did not invent the personal computer, the MP3 player, the smartphone or the tablet computer. But, with Jobs at the helm, it dramatically redefined all of them with an emphasis on technology, industrial design and user experience.

Not to say that Jobs is the only smart person working at Apple. "I would argue that not only is this [Apple] team more than capable of understanding [Jobs'] vision, but Apple is by now a pretty well-oiled machine," Bajarin said.

It's impossible to know whether the company could continue to set the bar in electronic products with someone else calling the shots. But what is well known is that Jobs has an extremely keen new product sense. One reason why Apple keeps many of its product launches under wraps is that no one knows what the company will run with until the last minute before an announcement, when Jobs picks the products he believes will win in the market.

Jobs also has ties to Hollywood and Silicon Valley that have enabled him to build a digital music business with iTunes (Apple is the leading music distributor in the U.S.) as well as secure deals with studios and publishers for content that makes the company's iPods, iPhones and iPads engaging. His keynotes are often attended by senior executives of content and chip partners that seem to venerate him almost as much as the buying public.

The drive
At Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California, Jobs drives a driven culture. Former employees report that the work ethic at Apple is so high that it's not unusual to see employees at their desks after midnight. Jobs' aggressive, hard-charging nature and demanding personality are the stuff of Silicon Valley lore.

"There is no question that Steve is an incredible motivator," Bajarin said. "But to be fair, the people at Apple seem to be motivated by somewhat of a higher causewhich is to create great products. Even if Steve wasn't there as a cheerleader, these guys know what they are supposed to do. I just don't see that changing."

According to Bajarin, the keys to Jobs' success are his eye for design and the fact that he is a great technologist. He noted that Microsoft Corp. founder Bill Gates alluded to this rare combination in an article published in the Wall Street Journal years ago. "Even though Jobs has [Apple senior vice president of industrial design] Jonathan Ive doing the heavy lifting, he clearly has a real idea of what it takes to make something not only look good but easy to use," Bajarin said. "That's very rare. I don't know of any other CEO in the tech world who has that combination."

The showmanship
These days, Jobs isn't the only tech CEO who steps up on stage before a captive audience to describe the cool new products and innovations that his company is bringing to market. But Jobs does it with more flair than the rest of them put together. Striding the stage in his trademark black turtleneck, holding Apple's latest invention, Jobs has the uncanny ability to make it seem like absolutely the coolest thing in the entire world. The consummate salesman, Jobs creates user demand with a few well-chosen phrases. And he can whip up the Apple faithful like no one elsehis keynotes and product introductions can feel like yuppie revival meetings.

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