Leadership investigate

Three reasons Apple will succeed after Steve Jobs

Here's why Apple is very likely to continue its run of success despite Steve Jobs's passing. And, join our great debate on the topic.

As irreplaceable as Steve Jobs is, Apple has three factors that will keep the company on the right track in the years ahead.

Photo credit: Daniel Terdiman | CNET

First, Apple is in great shape in the smartphone and tablet markets, both are which are going to see explosive growth over the next 3-5 years. Even if Apple simply holds its ground at about 20% of the smartphone market and levels out to 50% of the tablet market -- both of which are highly likely -- it is going to continue to grow sales, sell hundreds of millions of devices, and remain very profitable. Apple simply needs to iterate wisely, even conservatively, on both products to continue its success and it's safe to assume that Jobs himself has helped set the direction and strategy of these two product lines for the next several iterations.

Second, Apple and Steve Jobs have been preparing for this for a long time. It's been eight years since Jobs was first diagnosed with cancer. Since then he's been on leave from the company several times and had to rely on his lieutenants to carry the company forward in his absence, even if it wasn't absolute at that point. Jobs has put the right people in key positions to keep Apple moving and innovating in the ways he preferred. As long as hand-picked leaders like Tim Cook, Jony Ive, Scott Forstall, and Phil Shiller stick around, Apple will be fine. And, I expect that they will stick around, since most of them have already been offered bigger, more lucrative gigs at other companies and decided to stay and continue their work at Apple. The real test will come in several years when the handoff is made from Steve's leaders to the next generation of Apple chiefs.

Third, as much as Jobs is legendary outside of Apple, it's even more so inside the company. The myth and legend of Jobs is going to sustain the company for a while. The principles he used in building products, organizing the company, marketing, hiring, and more are much better known inside the company, and they will use that for years to guide decision-making -- as long as the current leadership remains in place and keeps everyone united around carrying forward Jobs's vision. That doesn't mean there won't be some minor tweaks to the vision. That will have to happen, and I think it will. For example, I expect Tim Cook, who has an enterprise background from Compaq, to explicitly go after the enterprise market much more than Jobs ever did. That would be a good sign that Apple is taking the best of Jobs's approach and tweaking it to meet current market needs and opportunities.

The great debate

If you're interested in this topic, we're going to be discussing it live over on ZDNet as part of the Great Debate series on Tuesday, October 25 at 2:00PM Eastern. I'll be arguing that Apple is likely to continue its run of success (at least in the near future) while ZDNet's Jason Perlow will argue the counterpoint. ZDNet editor in chief Larry Dignan will moderate.

Here’s how it works. The moderator sets the topic. The two debaters make their opening statements on Monday. Then, we get together for a live one-hour discussion on Tuesday when the moderator tosses out questions and both of the debaters have a few minutes to answer and respond to each other’s comments. After the online chat, both of the debaters make a closing statement on Wednesday. Meanwhile, during the whole process, the audience gets an opportunity to vote for one side of the argument or the other, and can also join the discussion by leaving comments. On Thursday, the voting closes and the moderator declares a winner -- sometimes bucking the popular vote.

Join the debate: Apple: Stay the course vs. Must grow up

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

45 comments
charles.loose
charles.loose

Sounds like everyone is forgetting what happen to Apple in the late 80's when they booted Jobs from Apple. Management\technology people like Jobs are few and far between.

stgcs(sw)
stgcs(sw)

Your conclusions make prefect sense and it is hard to put forward a strong argument. But, who proof reads your work? Someone should because you have some glaring errors in grammar and sentence structure.

wouyang
wouyang

The market is a finicky thing. Sony use to be the one to beat. IBM use to be the one to beat. RIM use to be the one to beat. I-Omega use to be the one to beat. They all once dominated the market, and they all lost their vision along the way. Some are on the rebound, most are still chugging along. Apple will be no different. My hopes lie in Jonathan Ive, not just Tim Cook, and maybe someone else will rise to fill the hole of the one who creates markets.

chrisbedford
chrisbedford

Visionary leadership, "management by walking around", inspiring products and a revolutionary approach to manufacture - all lost within the space of a few years in a couple of rounds of appointing accountants and other bonus-chasers to the top positions. We can only hope Apple doesn't lose "the way". WWJD, guys - what would Jobs do?

adornoe
adornoe

that continuing to rely on iPhone and iPads is the growth path or even the "sustenance" path. They need more, and they need to diversify. There will come a time, probably soon, when the iPads and iPhones and Macs will have become very stale, and the competition will have caught up and surpassed them.

rhonin
rhonin

SJ had the "aura" to defy the board and stockholders to help drive the company to where it is today. Tim and crews do not have that. There will be a lot of focus on what they do and how they respond to the first "blip". That response by them and the stockholders will define the "new"Apple. I wish them luck.

Andre Richards
Andre Richards

You're oversimplifying so much it's almost funny. Apple didn't have influence and market share in computers when Jobs was booted out in the 80s comparable to what they have now in computers, phones, music, tablets, etc. Apple is king of the hill right now; back then, not even close. Secondly, the leadership was a shambles back then whereas nowadays, they are rock solid. It's almost meaningless to compare this to what happened back then.

desilvav
desilvav

The board of Apple did it. Ha, ha, ha.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

... getting booted out and dying at the top. This isn't a case where Jobs fought with the CEO and got kicked out this time, he created a team and an environment where his ideals can be carried on without him. Jobs created the new management team and has established a means to train newcomers to those ideals. It's a far different game from 1986.

hippiekarl
hippiekarl

There was only one 'error in grammar' (god forbid!), and in 'sentence structure' there were none. He useD 'parallelism' to make his point--which made prefect(sic) sense to you--and the phonic represented by the missing 'd' in "use to be" was even roughly supplied by the word 'to', that followed.... A good proofreader (that's one word, btw), would tear your own sarcasm and hyperbole up with a blue pencil for its........wait for it: 'grammar and sentence structure'. Most notable is your first sentence's second clause, whose lack of a qualifying prepositional phrase on the end hangs ambiguity at best; self-contradiction at worst. A good copy editor, on the other hand, would remove the 'but' from your title, add a period after the word 'sense', and can the rest. 'Education'? That's just prefect.... :O

heikodewal
heikodewal

If you want to point to someones errors you have to make sure that your message is perfect and not "prefect"!!!!!!!

warwickwakefield
warwickwakefield

It is not "Sony USE to be the one to beat." It is "Sony USED to be the one to beat."

rhonin
rhonin

For management plundering by other corps.....

desilvav
desilvav

as the great man said you can only join the dots afterwards, to paraphrase ... get a life and don't compare Apple or predict the future, just learn to enjoy what you are best at ...

desilvav
desilvav

Except for Agilent, that is not called HP, the rest if it is a dog. 5 years later they still cannot write a driver to scan and save a PDF file with more than 2 pages, on their printer/scanner for a mac .... Their PCs are a bloody joke Buy a Mac

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

At the HP test equipment spin-off, Agilent.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

You can be absolutely certain that Apple's not just going to rest on its laurels; Jobs had more concepts in mind and I can almost wager that Apple's future has been well-mapped for the next decade at least.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

Tim Cook is, from everything I've read so far, much like Jobs himself when it comes to 'driving' his staff. What he doesn't have is the kind of vision on his own to develop new project concepts. However, there are others in the upper echelon that cover that aspect of product design. No, maybe individually they can't be a Steve Jobs, but combined they should carry Jobs' methods on for another decade at least.

rhonin
rhonin

Is it a sustainable model?......

desilvav
desilvav

perhaps 'sentence structure' is singular and your use of "....." should be an ellipse (...) the definition of which is below: The most common form of an ellipsis is a row of three periods or full stops (...) or a pre-composed triple-dot glyph (???). The triple-dot punctuation mark is also called a suspension point, points of ellipsis, periods of ellipsis, or colloquially, dot-dot-dot.

GeoffMichael
GeoffMichael

You may wish to consider the use of apostrophes and commas where appropriate.

chrisbedford
chrisbedford

Please remember *Apple* makes the final decisions about printer drivers! HP have no say - I doubt HP even write any of the code that goes into Mac printer drivers - I do know that for instance an old printer that is still supported under Windows (and new drivers released for Vista and 7) was summarily *dropped* from Mac support with the release of Snow Leopard. The HP website says "if you want Apple drivers for this printer, go to apple.com". So let's summarise your post here: "1. Macs don't work, therefore 2. buy a Mac." And no, their PCs are not a joke. They are the best-selling PCs on the market - one in every three sold worldwide in fact - a little bland and "same old same old", perhaps, but just because it's not an Apple product doesn't make it a "joke". Get the stars out of your eyes. Apple stuff is just (expensive) pretty packaging, the rest is the same.

eqmhciatmc
eqmhciatmc

probably soon, when the iPads and iPhones and Macs will have become very stale, and the competition will have caught up and surpassed them. 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adornoe
adornoe

But, who knows... Perhaps they'll reinvent the radio too.

rpollard
rpollard

He handed off a 4 year plan for them to follow.

dband
dband

I read that Jobs had been working on a way to do TV right-- other than the ones he already tried. My bet is the combination of several devices to present a new all in one media and communications solution for the masses that can affordably rest in nearly every room of the house, in varying configurations.

rhonin
rhonin

He is behind the scenes type of guy. Not saying he and his staff don't have what it takes. He does not have the SJ "chutzpah" tha allowed SJ a lot of lee way.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

I can only guess, but considering how much he did in his effort to keep Apple moving forward, it appears sustainable, at least for a while--like maybe the next ten years or so. After that is anybody's guess.

chrisbedford
chrisbedford

...and then you messed it up with that apostrophe in "it's" "'grammar' was merely it is milieu" Too bad ;-(

hippiekarl
hippiekarl

'grammar' was merely its milleu. A great discussion was underway but all vfaris44 had on his mind was OP's spelling. .................................................................................................! edit: thank you, chris; you got my back.

mperata
mperata

Most of us spend way too much time reading blogs to have to waste more time pointing out grammar errors............................................ ('nuf periods?)

hippiekarl
hippiekarl

Structure is singular; structures are plural(!). The tri-dot 'suspension point' is used within a sentence; the use of four includes a period and ends sentences, typically. More than four end a sentence with a pause, for effect. You may enjoy the prose styles of such postwar novelists as Vonnegut and Heller for their sometimes unorthodox, but always utilitarian, grammar and usage.

desilvav
desilvav

you still have not got the point ...

chrisbedford
chrisbedford

User Experience has nothing to do with it - if an old printer works, and is demonstrably (by connecting it to a Windows machine, or older Apple) able to achieve the desired output, how is anyone's experience improved by throwing it away and spending hundreds of dollars on a replacement?

Xennex1170
Xennex1170

Actually this is pretty understandable when you think about it.. The #1 priority for Apple products is the User Experience. If they thought that supporting old printers and scanners and such would cause the UX to be bad, they will not support it and have you buy a more updated device. In the end in order to experience the stability that is at the core of Apple products you have to pay to keep your other devices up to date.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

Gremlins. http://www. youtube.com/watch?v=NQff4GpvM4w Link unlinked for your inconvenience

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

... it hasn't always been so and HP was writing their own software drivers for those older scanners/printers. I have an older scanner even now that worked just fine even under Snow Leopard using HP software and, unlike Desi I was able to make multi-page PDF scans with no difficulty at all (though I admit the software was a bit confusing on how to do it.) On the other hand, with the advent of Lion my Photosmart printer has lost almost all communications with my Mac--starts printing fine but can't get past 10% on even a simple text document where it was my primary photo and disk printer. Worse, HP doesn't make consumer-grade disk printers any more so they don't really have an available replacement for my printer. So, is HP at fault, or Apple? Did Apple change something that broke the USB channel or did the printer itself die for no apparent reason coincidentally with Lion's release? The printer itself is certainly dead--I've tried it with three different PCs, including Windows-only models--but the timing is certainly suspect. Has the same thing happened to my scanner? I don't know.

warwickwakefield
warwickwakefield

Hey, remember how the Soviet Union got on with its Five Year Plans?

adornoe
adornoe

years. All they need to do is repackage each one of them, into a shinier box, with an new Apple logo design, and, Voila!, another big seller.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

That's why it's called chutzpah, and not urbanicety ;p

warwickwakefield
warwickwakefield

This is the kind of statement that you might expect from a goodfella boss, not from an urbane competent business manager.

Vulpinemac
Vulpinemac

Tim Cook was the one who said in a meeting, "Somebody needs to go to China and sort out this supply problem," followed about 15 minutes later by him looking at one individual and asking, "Why are you still here?" Is that not "chutzpah"?