The announcement yesterday that Steve Jobs is taking a leave of absence from Apple is one of those events that leads to a reflexive  spasm of half thought out commentary. The mad rush to publish something often leads to some pretty silly statements making the rounds.

As a long standing Apple fan, I deferred piling on yesterday, waiting until I after a few hours of quiet contemplation had passed.

Thus, I have some thoughts to share with you:

1. Timing of the announcement: I heard a few accusations from the tinfoil hat crowd that this was a purposeful holiday release. I doubt that was the case here. I suspect that in response to some triggering event over the weekend (Saturday) — a medical test, a doctor’s advice — Jobs reached out to his COO and the Board (Sunday).  The next day was when the announcement was made.

Consider the alternative — had they waited a day until the market was open, the delay itself could have been an SEC issue. And, the chance of a leak from outside Apple (i.e, the medical side) was a distinct possibility. (Note: The sleaziest corporate announcements are late Friday afternoon on a 3 day weekend. Those are, by design, attempts to bury bad news) .

2. Apple has a deep bench: It may come as a surprise, but the world’s largest Tech company is not a one man operation.

-Jonathan Ive:   Chief Industrial Designer If you love the looks of your iPad, MacBook or iPod, Ives is your guy.

-Ron Johnson: Retail Honcho ex-Target guy, the brains behind the Apple Stores

-Bob Mansfield: Mac Hardware Engineering Oversees products like iMacs and Macbooks. Reports directly to Cook

-Scott Forstall  iPhone Software Designer Developed the simple (yet revolutionary) iPhone  user interface

There’s lots more talent at Apple behind Jobs.

3. Why Wouldn’t you use Jobs?   Someone asked “With all this talent, why didn’t Apple trot out these guys more often?”

Let me phrase it this way: If you owned/managed a Consumer products company, and your CEO was a cross between PT Barnum and Henry Ford, why on earth would you ever use anyone else?

4. Apple needs a 10 Year Plan:  No, Apple does not, as one analyst suggested, need a 2-3 year plan. Apple has managed to place itself at the nexus of media, consumer gadgets and technology. What made Jobs contribution so brilliant was his ability to see just beyond what was possible today to conceive of things for mass consumption devices.

Regardless of the outcome of this recent scare, one day, Apple will have to operate without Jobs. They need to continue identifying products that are both just possible to create as well as highly desirable. How they can do that without Jobs remains a valid concern.

5. The Bigger Risk in Apple Remains that Momentum Traders Fall out of Love:  Back out the cash, and Apple trades at a reasonable P/E.  That’s why fundie guys like David Einhorn own it. But when you see the list of less fundamentally-driven Hedge funds that own Apple, there can be little doubt that momo players are big in the name. The risk to stock price is that they simultaneously fall out of love. If that happens, and the stock gets hit, some of the shine could come off of the Apple halo. THAT is never good for sales . . .

6. This introduces a new Uncertainty: Not to be morbid, but when Jobs first got ill, we learned what the various parameters were of his ailments. The latest claims of uncertainty are silly.

We know what Pancreatic Cancer survivor tables look like, we know what Liver Transplant survivorship math is. The longevity tables for a liver transplant recipient/pancreatic cancer survivor are not unknown. My point is, there isn’t a lot of uncertainty here

>

See also (some of the less hysterical coverage of Apple):

• Without Jobs it’ll be Apple 4.0 (Fortune)

• Apple’s Comeback: 3 Reasons Stock Has Bounced From Lows  (Marketbeat)

• The CEO’s previous leaves have not had a long term negative effect on the stock (Alphaville)

• Top Hedge Funds That Own Apple (AAPL) (Marketfolly)

• Apple Is More Than Just Steve Jobs (Forbes)

Bizarre: Christopher Bonavico says Apple “is destroying value by sitting on its cash hoard” (WSJ)

• Buying Blind: Should Jobs Disclose More to Investors About His Personal Health ?  (Slate)

>

Previously:

Popular or Best? (ATPM January 1998)

Analysts Still Underestimate Apple (Real Money, Jan 13, 2005)

Is Disney/Pixar the sequel to Apple/NeXT ? (January 30th, 2004)

Apple morphs into a Consumer Electronics Co (April 25th, 2004)

Apple to Music Industry: Monetize Your IP (April 28th, 2004)

Category: Philosophy, Technology

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

49 Responses to “A Few Thoughts on Steve Jobs / Apple”

  1. Orange14 says:

    I am a contrarian as far as Apple is concerned and believe the products to be over-hyped and the stock overvalued. In the early days their designs and technology was cutting age. Today the design is there but I’m afraid the premium pricing of their products is nearing an end. The Android phones do almost everything the I-phone does and have a battery that can be swapped out when the juice is low. Mac computers are no better then Windows machines and to think that you need a Mac to do graphic design is a past legacy. Where is the accelerating earnings stream going to come from to support a $1000/share stock price (if one is to believe the current growth trajectory)? Call me confused.

  2. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Agree that Apple has bench depth, and that people outside Apple shouldn’t be telling the company how to plan. (They only make themselves look foolish, IMVHO.) Also agree that Jobs is extraordinary; and also a great public presence. But the ‘past tense’ used to describe Jobs in this post seems a tad unnecessary.

    As for the hedge fund guys… sigh… if they overreact and mistake Apple for Jobs (or Jobs for Apple), then it’s just more evidence that their activities are more social (think junior high gossips) than economic.
    Apple has attracted phenomenal talent.
    My last conversation with one of my local Apple store geniuses was a bit of a muse regarding the fact that at present, applications to work at an Apple Store (retail) are currently more competitive than applications for Ivy League schools.

    It’s a tiny little data point, but it suggests that the bench depth exists regardless of what happens to any individual.
    Wishing all the best for Jobs.

  3. cognos says:

    Yeah, this is all silly… but thanks for the $10 (I buy the dip).

    This is the SAME announcement as last year and really represents that Steve Jobs is a part-time CEO. He took the same 6-month leave last year, announced basically at the same time, in the same way.

    Looks like the company will do $25/shr in eps this year… conservatively $35/shr next year. What will that be worth?

  4. Apple is riding a consumer tech fad. Remember Motorola’s razor phones a few years ago? They’ve done it better and longer than most, but fads always fade. It’s hard to tell how much of what they’ve accomplished is due to Jobs, or just a sort of critical mass of people looking for something new and cool. But it’d be hard to say that, with Apple’s $50b in cash, it can’t find a new wave to ride and then another new wave, etc., for a long time.

  5. Bruman says:

    I agree that what makes today’s AAPL great is a combination of the organization (including the top leadership) and the personality of Steve Jobs.

    My concern is more an organizational behavior issue than anything else. Since SJ is the founder of the company, he can basically run the organization in any (legal) way he sees fit, and people will feel that “it is true to the spirit of the company,” because he in many ways *is* the spirit of the company.

    Without SJ, you still have a competent team in place, but the question now will be how to manage the inevitable tensions that come up between different parts of the organization… the concerns of the design team vs the engineering team versus the marketing team. Without SJ as the arbiter of what the Apple brand will be, I think that what will creep in over time is a kind of bureacratization and the subjugation of Apple’s historic creativity to “rational business processes” of the sort that turn companies like Microsoft and Palm into companies that can make a profit, but do so by making pretty ordinary things.

    So I don’t think Apple is in serious trouble as a company, though it may stop growing at the enormous rate it has in the past. I just get worried that the things that really made marks on the industry: the iMac, the iPod, the iTunes music store, the iPhone and iPad may start coming once every 8-10 years rather than once every 2-3.

    Remember what Apple was like between 1985 and 1998, when Jobs was gone?

    I hope that Steve gets better, both as someone wishing a fellow human being well and as someone who wants more fun stuff to come out of Apple, and it is encouraging that there is a strong team there. I just hope it doesn’t get whittled away by standard business principles like “don’t take risks; make only incremental changes; wait for your competition to test the prototypes; etc.”

    Just offering my two kilobytes. ;-)

  6. “I deferred piling on yesterday, waiting until I after a few hours of quiet contemplation had passed…”

    “Pussy!~”

    BR,

    get w/ The Program, “‘Real Men’ don’t Think(anymore..)”

    (light the “sarcasm”-indicator, por favor)

  7. more seriously, I find interesting that peep, late-90s, couldn’t wait to escape from AOL’s ‘Walled Garden’, now, scarcely 10 years later, they’re clamoring to be let into AAPL’s (read: iTunes/related)..

    curious..at the EOD, does GUI, really, mean that much?

  8. cognos says:

    So… it wont be too long before AAPL has $100b in cash (maybe 18 months).

    But to you guys, “its a fad”.

    Invest much?

    Think much?

  9. No cognos, every company that has ever made money is doing so because it is the very best at what it does and will continue to be the best at what it does, forever. S&P earnings are like annuities, guaranteed for life.

    Indeed, I rarely ever think. I just look at whatever is happening at the moment and assume it will continue happening until infinity. There’s no such thing as a fad, particularly in technology. That’s why I listen to cassette tapes on my Sony Walkman these days.

  10. anonymous says:

    “He took the same 6-month leave last year”

    get it straight cognos- it was 2 years ago when he took a sabbatical

    maybe he will take some time this time around to scarf down some cheeseburgers and put some meat on those frail bones-

    dude looks like skeletor- Denniger may not be far off from his “Warm up the Hearse” headline

    (Denniger- always keeping it classy)

  11. [...] Applephile Barry Ritholtz reacts to the Steve Jobs news.  (TBP) [...]

  12. Sechel says:

    -Gotta go with the majority here.
    -Feels like they timed the release. I’ve gotten used to the gov’t doing this, it’s not a stretch to assume Apple followed suit.
    -Apple does not have a great history of transparency. Fortunately they’ve executed very well in the past.

    Investing in technology is high risk. One or two bad quarters and sometimes the company can’t recover. Very different than investing in say a Coke or a Philip Morris.

  13. Fred C Dobbs says:

    Interesting contrast between today’s cool, calm, collected expressed thoughts, and those a few days ago about those to the political right of center hypnotizing their views somehow into Jared Laughner and turning him into a robot who shoots a bunch of innocent people. That being said, having worked at the very top of large companies, I can only say that one man can make a lot of difference, a huge difference. Jobs is a very rare animal. If you don’t think so, show me another who has rescued a public company (subject to be constantly harassed and told how to run it for the benefit of Wall Street stock salesmen and speculators), and consistently produced products of the highest quality across the board the past 20 years. As the CEO, Jobs may be replaced by another person, but it is almost a certainty that when Job goes, the company will go into a slide and eventually turn itself into an unimaginative enterprise. Jobs insists on finding, attracting, and keeping smart, driven people like he is, people that insist on high quality results, not excuses or explanations, and if he is succeeded by some person who is not, and it is likely he will, then those who take pride in being a member of the best of the best team (and they are, make no mistake about that, having made all of the cell phone manufacturers look like Sleepy and Dopey of the 7 Dwarfs fame), they will leave, and the company will “mature” and go to seed. It is inside the Board of Directors that the mistake will be made, if it is going to be made. Every board has one or two strong personalities, and the rest are sheep, and the strong personality directors will try to satisfy their own selfish ends at everyone else’s expense. Finding no one as good as or better than Jobs, they will probably compromise and go for some lesser person. For example, if they appoint a successor outside the company, or a relative or a political person such as Vernon Jordan, good by Apple, its been good to know you.

  14. ron32 says:

    Having had personal contact with Steve and his staff regarding marketing and design issues his favorite expression “this is not a democracy” sums up his personal style and why the company has had a specific targeted look and feel for many years. Staff talent exist but without his authoritarian point of view the product output will lose focus. IMO

  15. machinehead says:

    Along the lines of Mark Hoffer’s comment, Apple is beginning to remind me of Sony, trying to imprison customers within its high-margin, proprietary hardware and software boxes, limiting their options.

    Microsoft apps still suck, but Windows 7 is not too bad an OS. Yeah, I know, PCs and netbooks are so Stone Age. But I’m too old and clumsy to type on (or even see) chiclet keys or tiny touch screens. Google’s Chrome is a great browser, and Android looks like becoming a ubiquitous open-source OS for mobile devices.

    Apple rules in design, user interface and quality. But (as compared to a decade ago, when I eagerly frequented Apple rumor sites) none of their products really seem compelling to me anymore.

  16. Robert M says:

    This is in response to point four. I have to give a hat tip to andrew sullivan blog on this. It explains my thought that everyone clutching their phone in their hands in winter w/o gloves really are acolytes of God awaiting the word from on high.
    http://www.culture-making.com/articles/a_world_without_jobs#more

  17. Robespierre says:

    I have an Iphone and can’t wait to get rid off it. One reason is that android is a better OS. But above all, I’m tired of the Nazi-like system that Apple uses to force everyone (developers and consumers) to pay the apple store toll. I own the phone stop telling me what I can or can not install on it!

  18. Thor says:

    Here’s a question – how many of you folks who think this Apple thing is just a fad own an Apple product? If so, which one’s?

    Robespierre – Huh? Telling us what we can or can not install? Is there a particular app you’d like to install on your iPhone that you can’t? There are over a quarter of a million iPhone apps, – to the best of my knowledge Android still hasn’t caught up in total number of apps. Seems to me like Android would be the one restricting your choice here.

    Apple is a successful American company making innovative, quality products. That are the classic American Comeback story as well, I don’t understand the strong negative opinions some of you have toward this company. Some of the very same people who will now, I’m sure, call me a Fanboy. Well yes actually I am a big Apple fanboy, why would I not be? I work with this shit for a living and from a professional standpoint, Apple makes a better product, by far – period.

  19. holulu says:

    OK, I had one too many Jack Daneil

    Should I SELL

  20. louis says:

    I hope they bring Woz back and then Van Halen Reunites for the US Festival 2011.

  21. Robespierre says:

    @Thor Says:
    “Is there a particular app you’d like to install on your iPhone that you can’t? ”
    It is impossible to know that since Apple decides what goes (or does not go) into the Apple store. Now tell me why is it that if I own the Iphone I must have to go to the Apple store to get anything? When you buy groceries do you like the freedom of going to any store or just the ones that say a Kroger would dictate?

    “to the best of my knowledge Android still hasn’t caught up in total number of apps” But it is caching up very fast even though it started a lot later: “Google’s Android platform has eclipsed both Apple and Research in Motion in sales and is poised to surpass both in market share.”

  22. anonymous says:

    Thor asks-

    “Here’s a question – how many of you folks who think this Apple thing is just a fad own an Apple product? If so, which one’s?”

    and then goes on about how great Apple is- and doesn’t even answer his own question (i.e. – such as- you own an iPod because of simplicity of design, ease of use and years of service- conclusion: not a fad)

    but instead we have a fallacy- example as follows:

    Thor owns a pair of Crocs (which I am sure he does)- ergo- Crocs are not a fad.

    Thor- always good for a laugh- one meandering post after another

  23. constantnormal says:

    I’m as big an Apple fanboy as the next partisan, but I can’t help wonder what the point to all this is?

    Has anyone subjected HPQ to such a soul-searing emotional examination, with virtually no examination of the business issues at hand?

    Not to be coarse, but what if Steve Jobs never returns to Apple? How much does this impact their business, on an immediate basis, an intermediate basis, and a long-term basis?

    I think that Steve Jobs has built well — exceedingly well, and his company will prosper either with or without him at the helm.

    How about Hewlett Packard, which has had a series of management failures (I see no other way to describe what has transpired there)? Now THERE’s a topic for discussion and analysis … And not to pick on HPQ, there are MANY major companies that have been and are being mismanaged to a HUGE degree, all the while forking over obscene amounts of compensation to the bozos running those circuses. The financial community provides an abundance of such situations.

    WHY aren’t people dissecting those companies? I find all this blather about Apple to be rather a waste of words and more important, TIME.

  24. bulfinch says:

    Orange14 Says: “I am a contrarian as far as Apple is concerned and believe the products to be over-hyped and the stock overvalued.”

    The Ipod/Ipad, et al, utilize technology filched from Hong Kong tech companies coupled with cheap components constructed by chattels and housed in a facsimile of the future as envisioned by Bang & Olufsen thirty or forty years before. What really unnerves me is the ready acceptance of built-in-obsolescence over built-to-last. I also don’t know how great you can feel buying this junk in light of the working conditions at Foxconn, to which Apple had turned a mostly blind eye until all the worker suicides the past two years. I personally have a hard time decoupling the cheap thrill of a shiny new distraction from the grim trade-off of exploitative production in faraway lands, and the further diminution of industrial America/working class.

    This per Wikipedia: Foxconn guards had been videotaped beating employees. Another employee killed himself in 2009 when an Apple prototype went missing, and claimed in messages to friends, that he had been beaten and interrogated.

    ~~~

    BR: Look at the food you eat, the clothes you wear, the shoes on your feet. Do you want to even guess what went on there. . . . ?

  25. ron32 says:

    constantnormal: HP has a group think culture if you have ever done any business with them it would be clear but APPPLE is a Jobs run company it has a completely different culture.

  26. anonymous says:

    I personally have a hard time decoupling the cheap thrill of a shiny new distraction from the grim trade-off of exploitative production in faraway lands, and the further diminution of industrial America/working class.

    that’s the beauty of it- Apple pays cheap labor like everybody else but charges 3 times as much- and people pay up for the satisfaction of owning the latest in “metrosexual” chic-

    who cares about a few chinamen?

  27. constantnormal says:

    @Bruman — “Remember what Apple was like between 1985 and 1998, when Jobs was gone?”

    Yes, I do. He was a kid back then, a great salesman, with a vision, and a strong sense of taste, but without much in the way of managerial ability. He hired a guy who had managerial ability, but none of the rest of the things that had allowed Steve to drive Apple to the place it occupied there, which was frankly, not all that great a position.

    After Steve Jobs was ejected from the company he built, there followed a series of management failures, each having single strong points but not enough to manage a company like Apple in the turbulent world of personal computers.

    Meanwhile, Steve was out in the world, thinking about where he had gone wrong, and learning about steering a company to become a large company. When he returned, Apple was on Death’s doorstep, and he knew what had to be done. He made it great again, and this time, he built a deep management bench infused with a common corporate culture.

    The situation today is a lot different from the situation when Steve was ejected from Apple earlier. Today, the Grim Reaper himself could eject Steve Jobs from Apple, but nothing can remove the spirit and passion that Steve has imbued the company with. It would be as if he had never left, for a long, long time afterward.

    THAT is what I mean when I say that Steve Jobs has built well.

  28. constantnormal says:

    ron32 — HP also has a tradition of divisive management and board room battles that can only damage the company over the long haul.

    The culture that you refer to is an echo of the long-gone presence of founders Bill Hewlett and David Packard, and has nothing to do with the management circus that has been working so diligently at destroying that culture over the past decade or so.

    Just as Steve Jobs runs Apple, so did Hewlett & Packard run HP, greats in their own manner (and superior in many ways to the way that Jobs manages the rank & file). But the fact that Hewlett & Packard were giants in no way excuses the series of bozos that have mismanaged HP over the past several Chairman-CEOs. In fact, it rather makes my point about a strong corporate culture lasting longer than the people who imposed it.

    I’m not trying to say that every company needs to be like Apple. I think they broke the mold and there is unlikely to ever be another like it — ok, Pixar also had a very similar corporate soul and culture, with people working toward similar ideals. And back in the day, I think that the original Disney operation also had many similarities. So maybe that particular corporate mold isn’t broken, but it for sure does not apply universally.

  29. ron32 says:

    Steve Jobs was not a kid in 1985 he was 30 years old and had taken Apple from a start up Partnership to public company in 7 years and when he left Apple in 85 bought Pixar and turned that into a power house. Not a salesman or dreamer but a solid businessman who understood what was required to make it happen in the marketplace.

  30. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    @Robbepierre: It is impossible to know that since Apple decides what goes (or does not go) into the Apple store. Now tell me why is it that if I own the Iphone I must have to go to the Apple store to get anything? When you buy groceries do you like the freedom of going to any store or just the ones that say a Kroger would dictate?
    _____________
    First, Kroger doesn’t have to worry about **what** you cook or how you cook it. Nor does Kroger have to worry about capacity if 20,000,000 people all want to each cook three meals each at the same time.

    In contrast, an iPhone has battery and memory management issues – as does every single device made by any company. In addition, the iPhone apps (like many apps) often access data over networks. For the integrity of the device, as well as the integrity of the network, Apple tests apps and controls access to the App Store. It’s a function of the technical factors involved in device batteries as well as network resources.

    Your Kroger analogy is erroneous. It does not allow you to make a valid comparison, because a grocery store is not analogous to a device. Just because a grocery can find shelf space for any vegetable does not mean the App Store can find room for any app.

  31. nertopia says:

    To whom it may concern:

    I have been following Apple before the Analysts followed Apple… I was selling Apple products when Steve announced that he had hired a new CEO to run the company… John Sculley…who later worked to oust him.

    I was invited to Steve Wozniaks house for few beers after I sold him one of the first small stereo systems (AIWA) that he wanted to hook up to his Apple IIe computer. 2 weeks later he sold 20,000 shares of stock and staged the US Music Festival. I was at the launch of NeXT at the “Digital World” conference in Beverly Hills where Steve announced to the world he was back with the next revolution in Computer tech… which later became OS X… He almost knocked me over on the way to his car. You could feel the guy’s aura from 10 feet away. And I was at MacWorld Boston when he announced he was back to make Apple great again.

    So I know more than a little about where Apple might be headed… Steve is the Walt Disney of the Tech world… and Barry has it right. His people are his generals and they know how to deliver his vision of the future. I wish for his sake that he comes back better then ever. He is one of a kind but the company can and will flourish no matter what happens.

    If for whatever reason he does not… Apple will continue to be a great company and will continue to innovate sans Steve. His people are that good. And they are smart enough to choose a new leader from within or without who can deliver the goods.

    Don’t bet against Apple. Don’t bet against Steve.

    Apple is one the most recognized brands in the world and when I talk to many people overseas you should hear the high regard they have for Apple products. Steve and Apple are one of the true icons of American business innovation. I think they will keep it that way for a long time. Buy on the dip… you won’t be sorry.

  32. mathman says:

    off-topic, but interesting:

    http://cryptogon.com/?p=19988

  33. “….I was at the launch of NeXT at the “Digital World” conference in Beverly Hills where Steve announced to the world he was back with the next revolution in Computer tech… which later became OS X…”

    this, above, is the part of the “Apple”-story I find interesting…

    “Everybody” was gainsaying Jobs for his NeXT ‘adventure’…”They” were wrong..

    NeXT was, simply, ‘ahead of its Time’… and, really, too bad, it had to be grafted to AAPL in order to grow..
    ~~

    cn, above, makes a good point re: H-P .. it’s a good study in contrasts (v. Apple)

    LSS: today’s HPQ has torn-up and, subsequently, shredded “the HP Way”
    ~~
    BR: Look at the food you eat, the clothes you wear, the shoes on your feet. Do you want to even guess what went on there. . . . ?

    ah, Yes, actually, BR, not you?
    ~~
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  34. Robespierre says:

    @readerOfTeaLeaves Says:

    “an iPhone has battery and memory management issues – as does every single device made by any company. In addition, the iPhone apps (like many apps) often access data over networks. For the integrity of the device, as well as the integrity of the network, Apple tests apps and controls access to the App Store.”

    That is not the reason they do it. Apple controls all of that to control content and to get revenue from every thing Iphone, get the reasons right. As a business model it is good in the short time but eventually backfires. One of the reasons that people embraced the personal computer was the ability to do your own thing without having to go to the “high priest of IT”. I don’t think that Apple will implode without SJ. However, most fans of Apple seem to ignore that technology is always in flux and tomorrow some one may start a company that eats apple’s lunch regardless of SJ.

  35. phb says:

    Nice analysis, but the timing of the Jobs announcement was clearly pre-determined. He/they choose the absolute perfect spot to announce his leave. Perfectly situated between the most anticipated AAPL news of the decade and record earnings as the company is functioning at a very high level of productivity, this was no “triggering event” announcement. The company is being left in very capable hands and it is as healthy as any company in the world. Get well soon Steve.

  36. carrottop says:

    microsoft without bill gates has sucked .

  37. Thor says:

    Robespierre – I’m not sure you have a very good understanding of exactly what opensource is, or what the pros and cons are for a company to either embrace it or not. Don’t be fooled into the MSM headline BS that opensource is always good for the consumer. Droids crash, quite a bit – we have five of them in our office at the moment and I’m on the team that supports and purchases all our mobile devices.

    Ahab – Hah, that was cute, but again, predictable. I’ve worked with technology for 15 years gramps, I can argue a detailed technical case as to why Apple makes a better product. Can you? Or are we just going to get more of the usual negative insults out of you? It’s bad because it’s trendy? Really? That’s your logic?

  38. Thor says:

    Rob – Also – what makes you so sure Apple’s main goal with locking down their technology is to control content? They do the same thing on the computers they build as well, and have done so for far longer than the iPhone has been around. The better argument to be made is stability. Apple controls what goes onto their devices because one of their main selling points is the stability and ease of use of their products. If you’d like to see an example of this – ask any one of your friends with a Mac how often their machines crash.

  39. [...] Some thoughts on Steve Jobs.  (Big Picture) [...]

  40. bluebox says:

    BR: “1. Timing of the announcement: I heard a few accusations from the tinfoil hat crowd that this was a purposeful holiday release. I doubt that was the case here.”

    Andy Zaky: “Since 2007, Apple has always chosen to report earnings during the last week of the month in order to avoid the manipulation that usually comes with options expiration week. If you go back at least 14-16 quarters, Apple has reported during the last week of the month in every one of those reporting periods. I remember that it started doing this in response to reports of complaints of share manipulation during OPX.

    But now that we have the Steve Jobs news, the reporting date makes a whole lot of sense. Moreover, the fact that Apple chose to release its earnings right after a 3-day weekend in order to give investors time to soak in the news of Jobs’ indefinite departure lends support to the idea that Steve Jobs has been planing to take a leave for a very long time. At a minimum, plans must have been drawn at least since mid-December and maybe even earlier.”

    http://seekingalpha.com/article/247170-a-hint-that-steve-jobs-departure-date-has-been-planned-for-a-while

    Coincidence? Hardly. I think Andy’s right. Apple knew the quarter was going to be a huge beat, and they knew if anything would offset the Jobs news, that would be it.

    Tin Foil Hats:1 Ritholz:0
    :)

  41. Robespierre says:

    @Thor Says:
    January 19th, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    “Robespierre – I’m not sure you have a very good understanding of exactly what opensource is, or what the pros and cons are for a company to either embrace it or not. ”

    More than 15 years in SW and FW development so yes I have a good understanding of what opensource is… BTW I have multiple apple apps crashed on my Iphone. Heck release 4.0 made my phone a very expensive brick. Also why is it that you consider a phone that you have to swap when it needs a new battery a good thing? How can you possibly consider that if you are downloading new FW to for your Iphone and for whatever reason the download stops after 20 minutes there is no way to pickup where you left off and instead you are forced to download from the beginning wasting another 20 minutes? You know what I wrote code that could handled download failures my first year after college.

  42. diogeron says:

    Of all of the words spilled on this topic since its posting, the ones that resonate most powerfully with with me come from “nertopia”: Don’t bet against Apple.

    ….Cryptic, but a thesis we can likely ride to the bank, to mix an especially ugly metaphor.

  43. Thor says:

    Rob – Why would swapping the batteries out matter to you? Do you make a habit of keeping your phones longer than a couple years? The battery issue is irrelevant to the vast majority of consumers, as should be evident by iPhone sales numbers.

    You mean your 3G or 3G2 started crashing when you upgraded to 4.0? I would say that’s the price you pay for being such an early adopter of the technology ;-). I’m also surprised your phone is still acting up – we’re not currently having any problems with the 3G’s here after we ran the most recent 4.0.x updates. Did you jailbreak your phone?

    Look – we could go back and forth all day about this, but the bottom line is that both devices have their pros and cons. There are great things about the iPhone – it’s ease of use, it’s flawless and seamless integration with iPhoto and iTunes, and there are great things about phones written on the Android platform – they’re cheap, it’s opensource, etc. To say that Android based phones are better phone that the iPhone is simply disingenuous. Every complaint you have made about the iPhone can also be attached to the Android phones.

    Let us know when you get one though, I’d like to hear your take on it once you’ve used it awhile.

  44. mitchn says:

    BR wrote: “We know what Pancreatic Cancer survivor tables look like, we know what Liver Transplant survivorship math is. The longevity tables for a liver transplant recipient/pancreatic cancer survivor are not unknown. My point is, there isn’t a lot of uncertainty here.”

    Sadly, this is where any discussion should begin…

  45. Andy T says:

    It would be cool if some of the fucktards on the board knew the difference between discussing a stock and discussing the products made by the company with the publicly traded stock.

    Hint: There can be a big difference.

    Of course Apple makes “cool” products. Of course AAPL strictly controls the content on iTunes, etc. And, of course AAPL, the stock, is WAY over-owned by the public and hedge funds.

    Yeah, and they have a huge amount of cash. So what? So does Mr. Softie. At some point, these large (successful) technology firms become inefficient banks. I know that’s hard to even imagine…
    ~~~~~~~

    And to the comments that go along these lines….”I’ve worked with technology for XX years, therefore….blah blah blah.”

    Not sure whether that line of argument should engender respect or sympathy.

  46. bulfinch says:

    BR said: “Look at the food you eat, the clothes you wear, the shoes on your feet. Do you want to even guess what went on there. . . . ?”

    Little late to this, but, uh…that would be a resounding YES!

    I really do care. I’m pretty sure you do, too.

    ~~~

    BR: Most of what we buy from China is made under awful conditions — then there is Sri Lanka, VietNam (much improved conditions), Philippines, etc.

  47. chris says:

    duh within 2 days great earnings revealed.You must be kidding barry that this timing was not planned.

  48. dsawy says:

    Having worked for companies that brought out third party products for the Mac since ’86, and having worked with Apple in the first Jobs era, the No Jobs Era, and the “New Jobs Era,” I can say this:

    Jobs has a very rare gift in Silicon Valley. He has a vision of what he wants, which he can not only communicate to his engineers, he can turn engineers into zealots for his ideas. Jobs has long-range plans – which he’ll tell his engineers. The public might not get to know his long range plan, the board might not necessarily hear about his long range plan, but his engineers certainly hear about it.

    That isn’t new, either. Jobs has done that since the days of the Lisa. The Apple II was Woz’ show (for both the hardware and software). The evolution that became the Macintosh (Lisa->Mac…) was Jobs’ show. The ideas were there for the taking. Only Jobs had the gumption to wander over to PARC and see for himself what the future looked like. Xerox certainly never had a clue as to what to do with all their technology. Jobs saw the D-machines, early Ethernet networking, laser printers (Xerox had ALL of this) and saw the future in a flash. All that Jobs had to do was figure out how to get the price down from about $16 to 20K to something people could afford.

    This, he did. The rest, as they say, is history.

    Apple without Jobs will be like HP without Bill and Dave, or DEC without Ken Olsen.

    It will survive, but the “wow” factor will be gone.

  49. dsawy says:

    @constantnormal: The corporate culture of HP from the Bill and Dave era is long gone. Long, long gone.

    HP, under Bill and Dave, was an engineering company, started by engineers, run by engineers, making products for engineers. We used to call the HP catalog (which in the 80′s was a hard-bound book over 1″ thick) “Nerd Porn.” HP products were not just computers. Matter of fact, the HP of Bill and Dave’s era was only partly computers. A huge chunk of their business was test equipment, medical equipment, solid state devices, RF assemblies, etc.

    After Bill and Dave stepped down, the company went through two CEO’s, and then…. the board decided to hire Carly Fiorina, a liberal arts bimbo, to run a company started by two EE’s.

    The result was entirely predictable.

    Today, all that is left of HP is consumer-grade PC’s and printers. All the test equipment, medical equipment, semiconductors and RF stuff has been spun out into Agilent (ticker “A”). What you see as HP today cannot recruit engineers of the caliber that HP used to have knocking down the doors to work at HP in the Bill and Dave era.