Great Debate: After Jobs, can Apple maintain the momentum?

Moderated by Lawrence Dignan | October 24, 2011 -- 06:45 GMT (23:45 PDT)

Summary: Can Apple maintain its momentum in a post-Jobs world? Jason Hiner and Jason Perlow face off. Join the debate and cast your vote.

Jason Hiner

Jason Hiner

Stay the course

or

Must grow up

Jason Perlow

Jason Perlow

Best Argument: Must grow up

The moderator has delivered a final verdict.

Opening Statements

Yes. Apple will stay on track

Jason Hiner: Irreplaceable as Steve Jobs is, Apple has three factors that will keep the company on the right track.

First, Apple is in great shape in the smartphone and tablet markets, both of which are poised for explosive growth. Apple simply needs to iterate wisely, even conservatively to continue its success. It's safe to assume that Jobs himself has helped set the direction and strategy of these two product lines for the next several iterations.

Second, Apple and Steve Jobs have been preparing for this for a long time. Jobs put the right people in key positions to keep Apple moving and innovating in the ways he preferred. As long as his hand-picked leaders stick around, Apple will be fine. The real test will come in several years when the hand-off is made from Steve's leaders to the next generation.

Third, the myth of Jobs is going to sustain the company for a while. The principles he used in building products, organizing the company, marketing, hiring, are ones the company will use for years to guide decision-making.

No. Can't continue on great toys alone

Jason Perlow: For the past 15 years, Apple has been a consumer product-oriented company and reflected the vision of a single iconic leader -- Steve Jobs, its dreamer and Walt Disney-like figure who created its current success formula.

The company needs to figure out what it wants to be when it grows up. Yes, consumer products should continue to be an important focus area, but Apple cannot continue on great toys alone.

Apple's revenue is highly based on an annuity or semi-annuity model of repeat customers. Repeat customers are bread and butter, but they do not represent growth.

Post-Jobs, Apple must exist in a world of constantly improving commoditized technology being created by its competitors, as well as enterprises seeking next-generation, integrated solutions that it is not currently offering. Ones which are arguably more open and can more easily attract the partners needed to create solutions.

Anything other than moving on to the next Insanely Great thing should be considered an unnecessary distraction.

Talkback

121 comments
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  • RE: Great Debate: After Jobs, can Apple maintain the momentum?

    The only reason Apple is still around is because of Steve Jobs and his ideas. Without Steve it is only a matter of time before they belly up
    grhaigh
    Reply Vote I'm for Must grow up
    • RE: Great Debate: After Jobs, can Apple maintain the momentum?

      @grhaigh You are incorrect.
      His_Shadow
      Reply Vote I'm for Stay the course
    • A lot of potential impacts

      @His_Shadow - nice rebuttal. Any chance of some definition or substance with that awesome statement? <img border="0" src="http://www.cnet.com/i/mb/emoticons/wink.gif" alt="wink"><br><br>@grhaigh - I doubt SJ left them hanging and has mapped out several plans and devices/upgrades for the future.<br>There are however a couple of things I see that can derail any prelaid plans from SJ.<br><br>1. Steve had believability with the Apple Board and Stockholders. If he said "wait!" they would. I am not sure if Tim and crew have the same level with this group. We will find out when the first negative blip impacts Apple.<br><br>2. However great the path forward is, it has a lot of difficulty dealing with the unknown. The collective OEM engineering pool is rapidly outdoing Apple. As they continue to move ahead (it's a numbers game folks), new hardware and functionality will come to the forefront that is not in SJ's current mapped plan. As time goes, it will become harder and harder for Apple to stick with the original mapped game plan.<br><br>I wish them luck.
      rhonin
      Reply Vote I'm for Must grow up
      • RE: Great Debate: After Jobs, can Apple maintain the momentum?

        rhonin update:<br>One other aspect I thought about afterward: Apple management is ripe for shopping. These folks are considered as some of the top minds and it would really surprise me if other companies did not take advantage of SJ's passing and look to hire away one or more.<br><br>There are some really deep pockets out there.
        rhonin
        Reply Vote I'm Undecided
      • Many companies have already tried to 'shop' Apple.

        @rhonin : From what I understand, Apple loyalty tends to be just as prevalent inside the company as it is with its customers. Of course, that depends on how 'tough' those employees are.

        Jobs, Cook and (I forget the one's name who starts with an 'S) all have similar personalities to each other. Each of them has (or had) a very abrasive style that could drive away lesser people. In many cases those who would have left already have. Interestingly, in one case, the man in charge of creating the first iPods, now has his own company and has created a very Apple-like home thermostat. The implication here is that if someone is going to leave Apple, it's either to go independent or he's not the kind of employee you'd really want if you're trying to make yourself a 'copy' of Apple.
        Vulpinemac
        Reply Vote I'm for Stay the course
    • RE: Great Debate: After Jobs, can Apple maintain the momentum?

      @grhaigh

      We can only hope that those who follow in his footsteps at Apple will have learned from Jobs the innovation it takes to keep the lead on the markets. With the brilliant minds at Apple and its leaders, I am only hoping that they learned plenty enough from Jobs to improve on the legacy of success Jobs provided Apple.
      whip-r-snap-r
      Reply Vote I'm for Must grow up
    • I'd be doubtin' it.

      @grhaigh
      In fact so much so, I can only believe your either joking, a shill for some other company or you just want to kick up some gorilla dust here to get a reaction.
      Cayble
      Reply Vote I'm for Must grow up
  • RE: Great Debate: After Jobs, can Apple maintain the momentum?

    Apple does make great toys, but I'm not convinced the iPad & iPhone are the best fit for the business world.
    JMrrs
    Reply Vote I'm for Must grow up
    • RE: Great Debate: After Jobs, can Apple maintain the momentum?

      @JMrrs You are about 2 years too late...
      His_Shadow
      Reply Vote I'm for Stay the course
      • RE: Great Debate: After Jobs, can Apple maintain the momentum?

        @His_Shadow Some people also believed we would be using the metric system by now too.
        JMrrs
        Reply Vote I'm for Must grow up