Life after Steve Jobs: What's next for Apple?

FILE - Apple CEO Steve Jobs holds up the new MacBook Air while giving the keynote address at Apple MacWorld Conference in San Francisco, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2008. The super-slim new laptop is less than an inch thick and turns on the moment it's opened. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
August 25, 2011 6:15:07 PM PDT
"What would Steve Jobs do?" is very much a part of Apple's culture. It is embodied in employee training. But now comes the test -- can Apple keep doing "what Steve Jobs would do" now that Jobs has stepped down as CEO?

Additionally, there is concern about a possible brain drain, that some of Apple's brightest people might consider leaving because Jobs is no longer at the helm.

"They liked being around greatness, I mean, that was part of the reason they were there," tech analyst Rob Enderle said. "They recognized that this experience wouldn't be repeated any time soon in their lifetime and they wanted to get the most of it. With Steve departing, now it becomes time to look for something else."

However, Apple invested in developing its employees in leadership and decision-making so they would be ready for a post- Jobs era. It hired a Yale professor to run Apple University, a brilliant move, according to Prof. Jeffrey Pfeffer at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business.

"The key to continued business success is the development of a set of talented people who can help the company grow and in order to do that, you have to invest in training and development," Pfeffer said. "Since Apple has lots of money, they have invested in training and development as they should."

What about consumers? Will sales be impacted without Jobs?

"Consumers aren't buying products because of Steve, they've never seen Steve, they've never heard Steve, they're buying products because the products are good products, they meet their needs," long-time Apple analyst with Gartner Research Michael Gartenberg said.

However, in China, Apple's fastest growing market, there is a certain Jobs "wow" factor. Consumers there say Jobs sold them on Apple products, even though they are expensive by Chinese standards.

Huang Xiang says there was a celebrity effect in Apple products when Jobs was the CEO. People went to buy his products for his name because they thought he was brilliant. Now that another guy (Tim Cook) is CEO, people will look at Apple products in a more objective way.

Apple's China stores are also its highest grossing stores. So what people think in China is very important.

Apple's stock price dropped 2.5 percent Thursday, finishing at $374 per share.


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