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What happens to Apple now?

Posted: 26 Aug 2011 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Steve Jobs? smart device market? PC world?

The announcement that Steve Jobs was stepping down as Apple Inc.'s CEO was so sudden it caused an immediate panic among the company's shareholders. Stocks for the company dropped 5 percent in after-hours trading. However, Jan Dawson, chief telecoms analyst at Ovum, sees that this negative reaction to the news is hasty. Dawson believes that it would take quite some time for the effect of Job's resignation to impact the company he led, as well as the industries in which it competes.

There are several reasons why the resignation will not have an immediate impact, Dawson said. Firstly, Tim Cook, former COO and newly appointed successor to Steve Jobs, has been running the company since Jobs began his latest medical leave in January. The second reason, Dawson noted, is Jobs will now serve as chairman of Apple's board and will therefore continue to have a role with the company, at least in the short term. And thirdly, "the broad direction and strategy for the company and its major products for the short to medium term will already be in place, and will not be affected this change," he said.

Apple's Steve Jobs steps down as CEO
Apple Inc.'s iconic leader, Steve Jobs has announced that he is stepping down as CEO of the company he co-founded back in 1976. The visionary who led Apple to prominence cited lingering health issues as the reason for his resignation. Read more about Jobs' resignation.

According to Dawson, although Tim Cook is considered a safe pair of hands as an operational leader, he does not have a reputation as a visionary. This is one of the greater challenges Apple will be facing in the long term. Should the time come when Jobs no longer has a role with the company, Cook will have to depend on Apple's senior leadership team to provide an ongoing strategic vision. However, there is no single figure that obviously fills that role going forward.

Presiding over one of the greatest corporate success stories
Steve Jobs has presided over one of the great corporate success stories in recent history. He co-founded Apple and later returned as CEO of the company. Up until the announcement of his resignation, Apple has the highest market capitalization in the world. During his first stint as CEO, Jobs created a company that offered an alternative to the Windows hegemony in the PC world, but which always remained marginal in terms of market share. Following his ouster as CEO and his return, he began rebuilding an Apple that had been on the brink of collapse.

Jobs laid the foundation for the subsequent fourteen years of Apple's history by building a new version of Apple's operating system, Mac OS X, on technology from his previous company, NeXT. He then built in succession three products that would redefine segments of the technology industry in the next few years: the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad, the latter two running operating systems based on Mac OS X.

Without a doubt, Steve Jobs has been the architect of major shifts in the music market, the smartphone market and the personal computer market. Of the three major new products he created over the past ten years, the iPod and iPad gained dominant market shares, while the iPhone transformed smartphones from mostly enterprise-centric devices with hardware keyboards and buttons to a series of black slabs with touchscreens. At the same time, these products, the company behind them, and Steve Jobs himself have become the subject of resentment and criticism for their relatively closed and proprietary approach to these products and the related platforms and services.


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