Except for the hurricane that is moving its way up the East Coast, one of the biggest stories of the week is Steve Jobs stepping down as CEO of Apple. A few posts ago I wrote about the image of Warren Buffett and how he manages to be fairly forthright and accessible to the media and the public at large (especially to his shareholders). Jobs’ image and relationship with the public is much more complex. Stories about his exit have generated a massive amount of comments, some with a lot of vitriol towards the man. It seems as though his business image as a tech visionary and innovator seriously clashes with another image—that he’s not a really great guy to work with. The word “arrogant” seems to come a lot in online comments negative toward Jobs.
Despite the negativity, Jobs’ accomplishments speak for themselves. The most important question for Apple, however, is whether the company will retain that “cool” aura that it has possessed since Jobs took back the reins in 1997. To many people, Jobs and Apple’s sleek products were one in the same, and people just don’t feel that way with new CEO Tim Cook. My prediction is that Apple will look to long-time executives Phil Schiller and Jonathan Ive to try to fill this void. “Try” is the key word here, as no one can come close to Steve Jobs as Master Apple Communicator.
–Scott Van Camp