The success of Apple has been doubted since its inception. Its unorthodox methods span every aspect of the organization from the design of the product all the way to the point of sale with the introduction of the Apple Store. However, some could say that Apple’s success came from Steve Jobs and regardless of how much you believe Apple’s success can be attributed to Jobs, he was most definitely an integral and essential part of Apple’s success. In the history of Apple the only constant during Apple’s runs of success has been Jobs and yet I would argue that this time Jobs has left Apple set up for success.
To understand Job’s significance to Apple one must first understand its history. When Jobs founded Apple he did not want it to be like any other computer store, he wanted to take a completely different approach. For example, at the time of the original Macintosh, all of computers were made for business or military use, not personal use. While not only was the concept of the Macintosh different from its competitors, the way it was conceived was also fundamentally different. Apple built and continues to build its devices based off of consumer’s desires and the desire to provide the most simple and yet holistic machine, essentially built with the customer in mind. Essentially, focusing on the root of a problem(s) first and then working your way up rather than being set in a plan of building a computer a certain way without the customer itself being a prominent focus. This philosophy is evident in the iPod mini which actually had less memory space than the original but was only slightly cheaper. The one new feature the mini had was that you could buy it in numerous colors. While seemingly trivial, it allows the customers to customize their product more and make it more appealing to each individual.
When Jobs left, the company immediately started to go downhill. The sense of commitment to the product itself, simplicity of use for the consumers, and the desire for perfection left with Jobs. Over time, originality left the company and it slowly became less and less different than its competitors. So much that, when Jobs came back twelve years later in 1997, its stock price was $5 and the company’s future was uncertain. However, Jobs proved how essential he was to the company when twelve years later the stock price was up to $600.
How essential to the company is Jobs still today? The answer is determinant upon how much Apple bought into his philosophy the second time around. Job’s proved his worth to the company when he was fired the first time and Apple almost collapsed. However, at the end of the day it was his ability to convince people to buy into his philosophy, some call the Apple Way, regardless of how unconventional or even bad an idea sounds. Frankly, only time will tell if Apple will succeed without Jobs. However, as of the writing of this case report Tim Cook had been CEO for roughly nine months following Jobs death and stock prices had risen 60% in just those nine months. The question is if this is due to Jobs’ residue in the company and his fanaticism will slowly leave the company like before or if Apple has actually bought into his philosophy and will continue to bring in management and employees of like minds. While Apple is shrouded in secrecy, some may say it is hard to determine their future success because of this. Yet this is a good thing. Though by no means hard proof, this continued devotion to secrecy is something Jobs instilled and if it is still being followed by Apple then most likely the company is still following Jobs’ philosophy of the Apple Way.