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Apple, Steve, and How the Industry Should React (but likely won’t)

When Steve Jobs took his first medical leave of absence, the entire world held their breath for six months.  Would the company survive?  What implications would his absence have on the company's product pipeline?  What would the industry say?  What would the industry do?  (and the million dollar question…) How would Wall Street react? Now that Steve is going out again, this time, with no announced return date, the world is again holding their breath, asking all of the above questions, and EVERYONE seems to be waiting to see what Wall Street is going to do, say, and most importantly, who is gonna wet their pants first and pull out. Everyone seems to be sitting on pins and needles waiting for the other shoe to drop, waiting for the stock to crash.  All I have to say to all of this is -

Apple Logo 2
Will Steve's cancer take a bite out of Apple?
 

Girl/boy…please.

Would someone, and I don’t care who, or which gender does it first; but would someone out there, please, PLEASE grow a pair and grow up?!

If at one point Steve Jobs is/was Apple and their future, that time SHOULD have passed by now.  How, you ask? Simple.  Very simple, actually… This isn’t Steve’s first medical leave.  This isn’t the first, “oh holy smokes, we need to figure out life after Steve” moment.  This is Apple…and their MASSES aren’t the only ones who have genius IQ’s…or at least they shouldn’t be. Their management team is equally as smart and talented.

Steve, as the CEO, reports to the Board of Directors.  The Board, at his last return, should have insisted (and honestly, if Steve is as smart as I KNOW he is, he should have started this on his own…) that Steve start looking for Apple’s Heir Apparent.  If that’s Tim Cook, great. If not, then who?  But there has to be someone that Steve has been grooming to take over as Apple’s CEO and general “The Buck Stops Here” guy.

If Steve hasn’t been doing this, then he is probably one of the biggest idiots to ever run a company anywhere; and we all know that isn’t the case.

I know many of you are probably running for the hills, making the sign against the evil eye, or just closing the browser window. Those that haven’t, will understand why, and may likely agree with me.  Pancreatic cancer is incurable.  If you get it, you’re GONNA die.  Period. It’s not a matter of IF, it’s a matter of WHEN.  We haven’t reached a point of medical knowledge, aptitude or capability where we can cure it like other cancers or simply repair or replace the organ.

According to Wikipedia, of all individuals diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this year, 85% of them will die…THIS YEAR.

The prognosis is poor, with fewer than 5% of those diagnosed still alive 5 years after diagnosis… [It] is sometimes called the silent killer because early pancreatic cancer often does not cause symptoms, and the later symptoms are usually nonspecific and varied. Therefore, pancreatic cancer is often not diagnosed until it is advanced.

Its been two (2) years since Steve’s last medical leave.  He has obviously gotten some really good medical care thus far…but again, everyone has to get past the “holy $hit” phase of this, and stop acting like children…ESPECIALLY THE STOCK ANALYSTS. No one…absolutely NO ONE lives forever, and I’m not sure we would want them to.

Interesting thought, that…huh?  What’s that mean in this context?  Simple – The natural evolution of computing is not, and CANNOT be tied to one person.  While Steve may have the juice now he may not 2 years from now.  The best thing he can do for Apple is to (and have been) train(ing) his replacement.  While it would be nice for Steve to continue on and give us as much of his time as he can until he quietly grows old and his legacy passes on, perhaps that time is NOT in the distant future, but is unfortunately here now.

Steve brought Apple back from the brink of disaster.  He’s launched new products, at least 3 new operating systems (Leopard, Lion and iOS…Snow Leopard was a Leopard upgrade).  He’s created a new multimedia eco-system in iOS and iTunes.  Apple has about $50 billion dollars in cash and assets.  If it IS in fact time to pass the baton, isn’t NOW a decent time to do it?

To Wall Street and all the rich, greedy bas…I mean to all the investors out there who want instant gratification and return on your investment, I say – shut up.  Sit down, shush and wait it out.  The rest of the world has to work for a living, and as one of those people, YOUR panic, DIRECTLY effects MY ability to generate income to support my family.  When you panic, markets turn down…INSTANTLY; and I’m not just talking about the technology sector. Gas prices go up.  Food prices go up. Utility costs go up; and my ability as a software quality professional to obtain and more importantly RETAIN stable employment is DIRECTLY effected because, it seems, the cost of TIME has dramatically risen to the point where no one can afford to pay attention, let alone pay for testing and process engineering.

Stop looking for Miss Right Now and start looking for Miss Right.  Keep your heads on your shoulders. Realize (as I HAVE to, each and every day) that you can’t have everything you want, exactly when you want it, and truly INVEST in America…for the LONG term.  Calm is the balm. (repeat that as you deem necessary… Calm is the balm.)

Your patience will give Apple the chance to make a smooth transition from Steve to a CEO of his choosing. Your patience will insure that Apple’s success stays on the straight and narrow.  Your patience will allow Apple’s first and third party partners, as well as the rest of the industry, to respond instead of react (and there’s a BIG difference…), and will, in the end, keep your money exactly where you want it – in your pockets.

1 Comment on Apple, Steve, and How the Industry Should React (but likely won’t)

  1. Just like the Hitchhiker’s Guide tells us…”Don’t Panic.”

    Tim Cook practically runs the company already and most of the execution we’ve seen over the past few years is due to his leadership. So, if we see a real market dip at all, it will be the sheeps getting slaughtered in a panic, instead of looking at the serious upside:

    – Blowout last quarter.

    – iPad 2 coming. No real competition in sight for that platform.

    – 10 Billion apps milestone soon.

    – iPhone on VZ = instant 8-12 million sales

    – Mac product pipeline picking up steam, and new products coming this year to continue that lead.

    And that’s just the stuff we know. My market advice…buy more pork bellies!

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