We wrote recently about Carol Bartz; unbeknown to many, the new Yahoo CEO was, like Steve Jobs, an ex-cancer sufferer who took 30 days off for an "aggressive" chemotherapy and fought all the way till her remission.
Jobs could have done the same but it looks like he kept it till late, till very late. Apple will be without its charismatic leader for six very crucial months and unfortunately, it couldn't happen at a worse period.
Bartz was then the anonymous CEO of Autodesk, a company operating in a niche market. Steve Jobs is at the top of his game, the head of a company who is often compared to Jesus or God.
What impact will that have on the company's bottom line?
Steve Jobs IS Apple. The symbiotic relationship the company and its cofounder has enjoyed is one of the strongest in the tech industry, matched only by Dell (and Michael) and Microsoft (and Bill Gates). He reshaped Apple in ten years making it one of the most respected and revered IT companies worldwide. The very fact that experts and observers are actually saying Apple is going to suffer from that could be a self fulfilling prophecy.
Like a talismanic football captain, Steve Jobs influenced Apple's direction by getting the best team around him. Jonathan Ivy for example, the man behind the iMac, the iPod and the iPhone was handed his current job title by Jobs personally, so did Bobs Mansfield, SVP of Macintosh Hardware Engineering. A CEO with managerial experience but lacking vision could freeze Apple and undermine the company's main assets, its people. Palm for example could well be looking to grab a few Apple engineers after ex-Apple execs bought a quarter of the company back in 2007.
The race for who will succeed to Steve Jobs has already begun. Already a few names have emerged but replacing such a revered personality is not going to be the easiest task. Tim cook, Apple's COO, appears to have the upper hand right now as he's taking over from the ailing Jobs. Could this be the beginning of a factional, subtle struggle for power inside the company?
One question that investors have asked is why did the company maintain a veil of secrecy over the health of its CEO, something that could potentially affect the shares of the company. There are already reports saying that the SEC could review Apple's handling of the issue surrounding Steve Job's health and possibly fine the company if irregularities were found.
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Although recent good news means that the company's shares are up significantly, one must not forget that sooner or later, gravity will catch up with the company. With the festive period long gone and the "back to school" one still eight months away, the company will have to show its resilience to avoid a meltdown. Although shares have climbed up by more than 10 percent in the past two days, one has to bear in mind that the shares are still more than 55 percent down over last year.
Jobs's sabbatical raises succession concerns at Apple