iPhonAsia comment: The Food for Thought article below is a Jan 15, ’09 post from an AAPL stock message board. Reposted here with permission from the author – Gr8Desertwind.
For a superb summation of the current media fixation on Steve Jobs’ health status, please read Cliff Mason’s post > Our Obsession Over Steve Jobs – Enough Is Enough
Food for thought
First let me say that I am very sorry to hear that Mr. Jobs illness is more complicated than originally anticipated. It is never easy on anyone involved in a protracted illness regardless of outcome. May he be in everyone’s prayers this evening for a speedy recovery.
Now, for the point I would like to make. We have been experiencing downward pressure on AAPL the stock for a considerable period of time despite record earnings and continued growth of the company. I, for one, think that most of this news is already baked into the current share price. Just remember how many days we have taken hits when rampant speculation about Steve’s health hit the media. And in fact, we often say buy on rumor and sell on news. But in this case, it has been sell on rumor and short on rumor so we may see some buying on news. It is very clear that in the short run, Tim Cook will be running Apple.
However, Apple these days is more than the people who keep the cogs in this machine oiled. Steve’s vision for Apple has been in place for awhile. And each and every product that comes out of Apple serves this vision. It is a vision that Steve had before he was ousted from Apple the first time. It was the vision that led him to found Next. It was the same vision that brought Apple back to him and inspired his return to Apple. And it is the vision that has returned Apple to a position of prominence in the world technology. It may even have been the original vision inspired by what he saw at xerox research center so many years ago. If I were to describe this vision in a sentence it would go like this: Steve developed technology that was to serve the user instead of requiring users to serve technology.
I think this is why Steve has kept Apple as a vertically integrated company. It is often said that Apple’s biggest advantage is that they control the whole widget. And in controlling the whole widget, they can truly be an industrial design driven company. In fact, if you have some design training, you would realize that many of the products that have rolled off Apple’s production line often seem like logical extensions of previous products. And many of the most brilliant moves made by Apple over the last ten years have simply been strategic moves to keep other players from marginalizing Apple by controlling digital formats.
If you remember back when, WMV looked like they would shut Apple out of the music business. Windows looked like they would be the only game in town. Office was becoming the only way to communicated in the work place. Exchange owned the enterprise for calendar, contact and email. Autodesk’s autocad drawing formats worked only on Windows. And so on and so on and so on.
Today, iTunes is the dominant digital media distribution source over the web. Apple can’t be marginalized in the music business by formats. They can’t be marginalize by WMV or any other priority format. They have won the format wars by forcing the discussion about open formats. They partnered with the open source community and have made MP3, ACC, MP4 and dozens of other formats either open or transparent so that anyone can produce competing software. All of this puts technology in the service of the user.
Everyone’s questions whether Apple’s innovation will continue without Mr. Jobs to drive this vision. And I would say that it took more than Steve alone to produce the success Apple has had over the last 10 years. It took an open source community that put out some really good products and standards that allowed Apple to create things like Safari. It took an open source community fighting to open up standard office document formats to allow Apple a chance at creating software like iWorks. But most of all, it took an army of unix programmers 50 years to create the underpinnings of OSX. And in some respects, Apple has forgone obvious revenue streams in order to provide the best user experience available.
This is Steve Jobs legacy should he be unable to return to Apple. But there are a number of talented people who worked closely with Jobs for a long period of time. And these people would have to know and embrace Steve’s philosophy or they would have never been able to survive the demands place on them daily. I once said that the products Apple has been bring out in the last 2 years have their origins in ideas expressed 10 years ago. Apple probably has a ten year road map that has carefully been reviewed by Mr. Jobs. If Apple should lose Steve, it would be years before we would see the loss of his vision.