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“The last time Apple lost Jobs, it also had a very talented team. But they managed to make a huge mess out of the company."
——from an email to the N.Y. Times
WHAT WOULD A WORLD WITHOUT JOBS LOOK LIKE?
It Seems That Everyone Has an Opinion About the State of Apple Should the Company’s Visionary Leader Not Come Back to Work
With the future leadership of Steve Jobs uncertain following his decision to take a six-month leave of absence in order to deal with his health issues, the big question is whether, in the 12 years since he returned to Apple, a culture has been built that can survive him. The three key executives under jobs are COO Tim Cook, who led the company during Jobs' treatment for pancreatic cancer; Jonathan Ive, the designer behind Apple products: and marketing head Phillip Schiller, who recently raised his profile whan he stood in for his boss to deliver the keynote at MacWorld.

A number of industry watchers weighed in on the above question in an informal survey conducted by AdAge.com. Here are some of the responses.

"Certainly it would have been interesting to learn a bit more about the chief of design," said David Murphy of ad agency Barrie D'Rozario Murphy about Ive. "It would have added more depth and texture to the Apple brand, because he and his teams and Steve Jobs have created some beautiful products."

"The good news for the Apple brand is the one thing he has done is created an organization to deliver Apple-ness brilliantly," said Allen Adamson of branding firm Landor Associates. "The next two or three product launches will be critical—will they have the Jobs magic?"

"If anything, it stirs up more buzz about him and the company and his role at the company, maybe to the benefit of the brand, but to the detriment of the stock," said Piper Jaffray analyst Andrew Murphy. He added that Apple has had a succession plan worked out for some time, but hasn't made it public.

"If he were to leave it would be very complicated; Apple has the most unique, compelling, consistent voice of any company," said Alan Siegel of branding firm Siegel & Gale.

"There's a underlying sense amongst some of us in the Apple community that Jobs may never return as the company's CEO, and that he's slowly saying his goodbyes," said Jasper Jade, editor of Appleinsider.com.

Meanwhile, the N.Y. Times received the following email (from someone with the screen name SLim) in response to a similar question: “The last time Apple lost Jobs (mid-1980s till end-1990s) it also had a very talented team. But they managed to make a huge mess out of the company. The problem was that there was no singular vision at the top, no one with the authority, drive and hunger for innovation.” 

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