Writing this, one day after the passing of Steve Jobs, I have an inbox full of news articles speculating as to the future of Apple without Steve. After all, how well did Apple fare during the years after he was ousted by the Board of Directors back in 1985? Fact is: Steve Jobs is leaving behind a much more capable Apple than he returned to in 1997.
Apple Inc. is a much larger company, with product lines that now include the most popular music players, phones, and tablet computers. Apple is more than a computer company, and Microsoft is no longer its only real competition. Now, Apple is in markets where it is the force to beat, and that means it’s in a better position to grab the best talent and drive further development in ways other companies are currently struggling with. Even if Apple Inc. has seen its last “One more thing…” the company itself has a massive amount of talent at its disposal and will no-doubt continue to grow and prosper as a leading force in the world of technology.
Apple, as a workplace, is a remarkably different environment than you would find at a more traditional company. The workers are laid back but productive, and everyone from their front-line customer service agents to upper management share a unique sense of ownership over their work. This makes Apple feel more like a community effort and less like a corporate machine with a few individuals setting the standards for the company. That was the company Steve Jobs rebuilt, and one of the main reasons Apple Inc. is doing so well today.
Steve had a meticulous eye for quality, and his input was present in virtually everything Apple did from marketing to product development. This sense of style and passion wasn’t kept to one man, however. Everyone that was around him knew what his expectations were, and has evolved their own sense of “Steve vision.”
Steve Jobs leaves behind a much stronger Apple. Plans for his stepping down from the company had been planned and implemented well ahead of yesterday’s events, and you can bet that Steve had a hand in making sure that every aspect of the company was ready to operate as well as it was before he stepped down in August. The events of yesterday changed little about the future of Apple.
Tim Cook, after 14 years at Apple, knows this better than anyone. He served as Apple’s Interim CEO during Steve Jobs’ initial leave of absence in 2004, and has been acting as CEO for nearly a year now. Apple hasn’t crumbled. The walls are still standing, products are still being developed, and the entire staff is still just as dedicated to the success of the company as it has been for over a decade.
Apple may have lost a visionary, but not before becoming the company Steve set out to build so many years ago.