Consumers Don't Care If Steve Jobs Is Apple's CEO

If Apple CEO Steve Jobs — on medical leave until June — announces his retirement this summer, Apple’s (AAPL) stock could hiccup. But sales probably won’t.

Some 80% of consumers surveyed by ChangeWave say Jobs’ retirement would have no effect on their likelihood of buying Apple products in the future. The next biggest group (10%) say they don’t know. Just 9% say they’d be less likely to buy Apple products, down from 14% last September and down from 18% last June.

That’s fine, but consumer opinion of Apple’s CEO is not the important issue. (And in fact, Apple is kicking butt without Jobs so far.)

The bigger problem is that Apple without Jobs — for a long enough period, not just a short-term leave — could make worse products than Apple does under Jobs. That’s the real concern for Apple investors — and not something that any market research survey can predict.


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