The internet has been awash with the news of Steve Jobs death over the past week that one cannot help but wonder if this was an armagedon for Apple Inc. Could this be the end of Apple as we know it, will it slide back into it uncreative Jobs-less past or will it rise out of the ashes to conquer the techology world again.
What happened was tragic, Apple has been referred to in many circles as Steve Jobs Apple and the effect of his absense still remains to be seen. That his health had been failing for some time sort of saved Apple some shocks. He had relinguished the CEO seat to Tim Cook earlier and this was a good sign of a succession plan in place. Apple as a company has been built around the vision of Jobs, his personality written all over it. It would be hard, perhaps impossible, for someone to come along and articulate this vision the way Steve did.
Insiders will attest that Tim Cook has had a hands on experience running Apple for some time and therefore one will conclude that the company remains in solid footing--for now. The near term plans might not be affected that much because any company of Apple's stature would have a clear vision of immediate future say three or five years. After this, a new pattern will emerge or the vision gets complicated. Luckily, Apple as a company is in great shape and it has insane amount of cash, $76 Billion at the last count. If vision and charisma of Jobs could be bought, it surely has enough cash to do that.
If the less than overwhelming reception of the launch of iPhone 4S is anything to go by, then Tim Cook and the rest of people at Apple have their work cut out. One might argue that Jobs shaped innovation at Apple and his demise might be the end of this fairy tale jouney. It is still early in the day to make such conclusion and Apple's competitors had better wach out because it has such financial muscle to buy a dream.
Whatever happens to Apple in the long term notwithstanding, one thing is clear, it has to get over Jobs death. Any moves it will make in post-Jobs era will enevitably be compared to Jobs track record and this is a very unenviable position to be in. Jobs is a legend, you can't argue with that.