Steve Jobs and Apple: Beginning of the end?

Many believe that the fate of Apple has always rested in Steve Jobs hands. In this blog, John M. McKee considers the outlook for the #1 tech company in the world.

Can a single leader make -- or break -- a huge organization?

Is Apple finished?

This week it was announced that the founder and visionary of Apple, Steve Jobs, is again leaving the company for medical reasons. The trade papers and general news organizations have been filled with comments and observations about "what's next" for Apple.

Many expected that their stock price would tumble. Pundits reasoned that the company has been so successful because Jobs is a uniquely talented leader and no one can replace him.

Others said cooler heads should prevail, stating that no organization of this size is entirely driven by one person. Beside, we've already seen that the company's COO, Tim Cook, will be very capable in Job's absence -- having filled in for him previously. Reinforcing those opinions, last night the company released its results. They blew away even the most optimistic forecasts.

Where do you stand? Has Apple seen its best days? Is it all downhill from here? Or will the company continue to lead and grow despite Job's absence?

Looking forward,