Weekend Roundup: Apple can't cope without Steve Jobs, Microsoft plagued by Surface tablet failures and BlackBerry is lost

Goodbye Apple?

It's been a topsy-turvy week for Apple, with all types of rumours circulating around the iPhone maker. Between the usual whispers of new iPhone leaks (will it be the iPhone 5C or 5S?) came a worrying number of reports casting doubt over the future of the company and its ability to cope without its talismanic late co-founder Steve Jobs.

First off the press were claims that current Apple CEO Tim Cook's position is by no means safe. According to Fox Business News, the board believes that Apple has lost most of its innovative and creative skills, and Cook could be under pressure to pull something major out of the bag.

Larry Ellison of Oracle didn't help Cook's cause, saying midweek that Apple doesn't stand a chance without Steve Jobs. Speaking with CBS, Ellison deliberately raised a finger to describe Apple with Jobs at its helm, and lowered it to indicate the company's fortunes without him. During the period of Jobs' absence from Apple in the 80s and 90s, the company's value dropped drastically.

On the other hand, billionaire businessman Carl Icahn sent Apple's value soaring, when he announced to the world (on Twitter) that he thinks the company is "extremely undervalued." His investment in the company, known to be substantial, can't be bad for the Cupertino-based firm either.

Bad times for BlackBerry

Everything discussed above, however, pales in comparison to the sounds coming from BlackBerry these last few days. The rapidly-declining company has all but hung a 'For Sale' sign over its door.

At first, there were murmurs that the Canadian firm was looking into going private, but activities seem to have picked up quickly. It has now announced the formation of a special committee – headed by CEO Thorsten Theins and company chair Barbara Stymiest – and released a statement, saying that the group will "explore strategic alternatives," which could come in the form of a full-blown sale or range of partnerships.

BlackBerry needs to do something drastic to turn around its fortunes. From being valued at $84 billion (£54 billion) back in 2008, the company is now worth a measly $4.8 billion (£3.1 billion). King of the PC industry Lenovo has already been linked with a takeover, but nothing is by any means confirmed.

What lies beneath the Surface

It's also been a busy work for tech giant Microsoft, which is quite honestly never far from the headlines. To round off a pretty grim group of Weekend Roundup stories in appropriate fashion, most of the news surrounding the Redmond-based firm has been thoroughly negative.

As if woeful Surface tablet sales weren't enough to deal with, Asus announced that it is discontinuing its line of tablets running Windows RT because of poor consumer demand. Asus CEO Jerry Shen said, "It's not only our opinion, the industry sentiment is also that Windows RT has not been successful."

That is quite an understatement. Microsoft then received a fresh RT headache, as it has now been hit with a class-action lawsuit, with the plaintiff claiming that the company caused shareholders to lose significant money by misrepresenting just how badly Surface RT was performing.

To place a proverbial cherry on the disastrous cake that has been this week, Microsoft then announced that the launch of its Xbox One has been delayed until 2014 in a grand total of eight European countries.

Image credit: Top image - Flickr (Gizmodo.gr)