The Next Apple CEO Needs to Stay Focused

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2011-01-18 Print this article Print

5. The next Steve Jobs?

Just as likely as it is that Apple won't find a suitable replacement for Steve Jobs, the company could also find its next great leader. Currently, Apple has several top executives, including Tim Cook and Jonathan Ive, who have worked alongside Jobs for years. And they have undoubtedly learned quite a bit from their CEO. With a little bit of luck and a keen eye, it's possible that Apple's board might find the next Steve Jobs already working at its company.

6. Mac market share slides

With each decision Jobs makes, he's showing that iOS is integral to his company's business going forward. The iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch are cash cows for Apple. And Jobs wouldn't have it any other way. However, Jobs has still been able to maintain the Mac's positioning in the computing space. It's an important consideration that's often overlooked. And any CEO with lesser abilities than Jobs could focus their efforts in the wrong areas and see Mac market share slide.

7. The iPhone loses its way

Apple's iPhone is successful today because Jobs had enough foresight to determine what it needed and what it didn't. He was also able to successfully navigate his way through a sometimes hostile U.S. marketplace that wanted an end to AT&T exclusivity for years. But would another Apple CEO be able to do the same? As the performance of every other smartphone maker on the market shows, no other CEO can achieve what Jobs has. And that could come back to haunt Apple after Jobs' departure.

8. Major management changes

When any new CEO takes over a company, top management is usually left in shambles. Folks toward the top feel they were stepped over, while others think they might have better opportunities elsewhere. Still others feel no allegiance to the new boss. When Jobs leaves and the company has a new CEO, the same will likely happen at Apple. Then folks will need to question if a new CEO with new top management will be able to run Apple the way it was under Jobs.

9. The end of secrecy

One of the key aspects of Jobs' success throughout the years has been his desire for absolute secrecy. While other companies routinely let new product details leak out to prime the marketing pump, Apple hasn't. In the process, he has created a shroud of secrecy that has helped build hype for Apple's products and drive demand. But few other companies have enjoyed such secrecy. Depending on who takes over, Apple's ability to maintain high levels of secrecy could come to an end.

10. Nothing changes

What if Jobs leaves Apple and someone else takes over the company and absolutely nothing changes? It might be more possible than some think. Jobs is a dominant figure at Apple. He has had enough contact with the company's top executives to teach them something. If Apple's board picks well, it might not see any changes at its company. And in the process, Apple will be recognized as the best incubator for top CEO talent in the world

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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