Steve Jobs Must Pass the Torch
We apologize to those offended by the original title of this article, "Steve Jobs Must Die". Jobs has been dealing with cancer, and deth is no joke. We wanted to make the point that Apple needs to move beyond its dependence on Steve Jobs as Messiah, and the first headline was too much. We apologize to anyone we offended, and we wish Jobs a long life and the best of heath. Dan Knight, publisher
While I know that it sounds a bit dramatic, Steve Jobs' possible death has become a huge millstone around Apple's neck. We need Robert Scoble to report that the yogurt shop clerk has seen Steve Jobs - and he's fine.
But even with rumors being debunked by yogurt shop personnel, will questions over Jobs' health ever stop? How can you stop a rumor like this? Are Steve Jobs and his doctor supposed to pop out every time a new rumor starts and declare that he is in good heath?
Of course, just because Jobs (or his doctor) says so, that doesn't prove it's true. He could be lying - and conspiracy theories are impossible to disprove. If a person is inclined to believe an unsubstantiated rumor, then fiction is just as valuable as fact.
After all, the rumor could be true, so why not believe it as a hedge against the possibility that it really is true.
Stranger things have happened.
Steve Jobs Must Pass the Torch
Steve Jobs doesn't have to die; in fact, I strongly hope that he doesn't. He does have to die in the role of Savior of Apple. The switch from him delivering the Macworld keynote address is a big step toward that goal. Apple has to show that there really are people at the company who can continue the business without him.
The last time Jobs left Apple, the company didn't disappear overnight. The quality of the company and its products kept things going though a string of CEOs who weren't all that great. Heck, I didn't buy my first Mac until Michael Spindler was running the place.
The big difference between then and now is that in 1985 Jobs was forced out by John Sculley, who had different ideas about what to do with Apple. This time around, we expect that the board of directors would pick a person from Apple's own crop of top managers who share Jobs' vision of the company. A person like that isn't going to replace key people with his own old cronies. A good leader is most likely to continue on with things as they are, and thus the company vision will remain intact.
Passing the Torch
Yes, it is time for Steve Jobs to die as the Savior of Apple. The whole Apple management team has to take on a greater public role in guiding the company. What better time to do it than while the stock price is already low due to recession worries?
The real trick will be to have Phil Schiller deliver a killer Macworld keynote address. He has to show off some amazing new products and wow everybody into thinking that someone other than Steve Jobs is capable of standing in front of a crowd.
Jobs is taking the bitter pill and letting others stand in the spotlight, and we'll know that his spirit is alive at Apple as long as kick ass products coming out the door.
Our best wishes for continued health in 2009.
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