Further Update On What Happens If Steve Jobs Leaves

This is to provide clarity to what happened yesterday at Apple’s shareholder event, and how it relates to the article that we’ve previously written regarding Steve Jobs and the possibility of another CEO at Apple.

Update #2: Yesterday, it was announced that Apple does indeed have a succession plan, but it won’t be made public, for fear that the company could see executives being poached if the name was revealed. Shareholders had clamored for the succession plan to be made public, but were ultimately voted down on it.

Gleacher & Co. analyst Brian Marshall said in an interview with Bloomberg that the plan will not be made public until it has to be.

This is an reprint of an article that was written on January 6, before Steve Jobs temporarily stepped down from Apple. It has some updates to the situation written below.

Update: With rumours coming out that Steve Jobs may have only a short time left, I thought it was pertinent we rehash this issue, so as to remind others of what could potentially happen.

Of course no one wants Jobs to return faster than I do, I wish nothing but the best for him and his family, especially during this time. It was a positive thing to see Jobs coming out of a cancer centre. If he wasn’t spotted coming out of there, it meant he was terminal, and there is no point in putting him through chemotherapy. It’s a very taxing event on a person’s body and if he only had a few weeks left, that is torture to do to someone. The picture that the White House posted on its Flickr  appeared to show a healthier Jobs than what I had expected, so that’s also positive news.

The original article in its entirety:

He is the P.T. Barnum of our time, the greatest showmen of the 21st century.

But what happens if Steve Jobs were to leave Apple either via death, or otherwise?

Jobs has already battled pancreatic cancer, not a disease many overcome. I don’t want to be bleak and morbid, but what happens if Jobs passed away? Would Apple’s stock plummet? Most certainly it would, probably for a couple of days.

Jobs is as important to Apple as Warren Buffett is to Berkshire Hathaway, so I would expect a couple of days of mourning and some selling in the stock, but I think this is only a blip.

Apple has a strong pipeline of products, including the iPhone  5, the Verizon iPhone, iPad 2, and refreshes to the Mac and iPod lines for years.

When Verizon gets its Long Term Evolution (LTE) network fully operational around the country, I would expect to see Apple launch additional products for LTE.

Then there’s the Mac App Store. Gartner thinks this market could grow to $25 billion + in just a couple of years, up from $4 billion today.

The Mac App store could potentially revolutionise the computing industry, much like the microchip. If it takes off, I would expect Dell, Hewlett-Packrd and other OEM’s to copy.

The management team, led most notably by Tim Cook, has become more accessible to investors over the past few years, not to mention the company has $50 billion in cash sitting on its books.

Let’s not forget that Apple’s product designers have revolutionised the music (iPod), telephone and (iPhone), and print (iPad) industries. All three of these devices support gaming, and has revolutionised this industry as well.

Apple has already started its entry into social, with Ping. No word on how that is doing, which some consider to be sign of a failure.

If Apple TV can really take off, now that the price has been lowered, Apple could potentially revolutionise the TV business.

There’s a reason that Foxconn has hired more than 1 million people so far.

Should something unforeseen happen to Jobs, shareholders will be just fine.

It just may take a couple of days.


— Roger Nachman

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