Steve Jobs and Apple’s future

Leave it to Apple to construct the most fitting online tribute to their founder Steve Jobs.

Leave it to Apple to construct the most fitting online tribute to their founder Steve Jobs.

Leave it to Apple to construct the most fitting online tribute to their founder Steve Jobs. The company’s homepage today is simple, beautiful and delivers its message brilliantly – all hallmarks of the great man himself and his products.

As the world mourns Jobs’ death at the age of 56, many commentators, and in deed the general public, are looking back on his contribution to modern society. While the only Apple product I currently own is an ageing iPod Nano, the ‘Apple effect’ is widespread.

The music industry has been turned on its head with the creation and development of iPods and iTunes, and a similar process is underway in publishing with the iPads, and to a lesser extent, the iPhone.

However, while we will remember how he has shaped the way we communicate, arguably more than any other person in recent memory, many people are concerned about the future of the company he founded.

News of Steve Jobs’s death this morning drove the Apple share price down more than 5 per cent in Frankfurt. At 9.30am London time, Apple shares were trading 3.5 per cent lower at €273, after hitting a low of €270. They are expected to open lower when trading in New York opens at 2.30pm London time.

A similar event occurred when Jobs stepped down in August as chief executive of the company he set up in 1976 with his childhood friend Steve Wozniak. His death, coupled with the dull reaction to the launch of the iPhone 4S this week, have led many to believe that the continual innovation the company is renowned for may come to an end.

Tim Cook, the new CEO, has the tough task of settling investor nerves. Formerly Apple’s chief operating officer, he was responsible for all of the company’s worldwide sales and operations, including end-to-end management of Apple’s supply chain, sales activities, and service and support in all markets and countries.

Cook is an excellent choice to replace Jobs and UK SMEs should look at this transition and examine their own succession plans. Have you worked out who would replace you as chief executive in the event of an untimely death? If not, what steps should you be putting in place now to ensure the company is not left floundering at a critical time?

It may sound crass, and in deed these conversations are difficult, but planning is the only key to success. And as a founder of a company who obviously cares about what has been built, you must ensure that success continues long-term and not just during your term. I believe Steve Jobs has achieved that.

Apple’s Tribute: Steve Jobs, 1955-2011

Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.

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Todd Cardy

Todd Cardy

Todd was Editor of between 2010 and 2011 as well as being responsible for publishing our digital and printed magazines focusing on private equity and venture capital.

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