commentary The future of Apple's executive leadership continues to be of intense focus to onlookers as the company forges ahead without its late co-founder Steve Jobs in the picture.
Apple celebrated Jobs' life yesterday in
It goes without saying this wasn't an every day affair for Apple, or any other company for that matter. To put it mildly, Jobs' passing marked the end of one of the most dramatic and fascinating executive comebacks in business history. And just as impressive is that every day people seemed to care about it--and Jobs himself--as much as the products the company released during that time.
That much came to light the day Jobs died, with Apple and Jobs fans
The big question now is whether Apple can get that kind of executive devotion back, or if it was exclusive to Jobs.
Part of the difficulty, of course, is that Jobs was positively dripping with charisma. The mercurial co-founder did not just gain his fame as the ultimate showman when it came to things like introducing products but also in how he managed the business of the company, pushing Apple to new heights and massive profits during his tenure. Even before Jobs stepped down from his post as CEO, attention shifted to whether those same traits can be found elsewhere in Apple's executive team, which is led by CEO Tim Cook.
It's patently unfair, of course, to ask any executive to fill the shoes of an historic business figure, someone, as The Wall Street Journal's Walt Mossberg put it, "could sell. Man could he sell."
Nonetheless, that rock concert-like excitement around Apple product launches is part of the company's DNA and integral to the its marketing strategy. When Coldplay
Could Cook or Phil Shiller say the same? Of course not. No one expects them to. But as Apple, the most valuable tech company in the world, gets back to the hard business of making innovative products and selling them in a crowded, hyper competitive marketplace, it will have to find a way to replace the irreplaceable--30 years of hard-won experience and even harder won celebrity.
Experience, business acumen; clearly, Jobs thought he had lined up the right people behind him to provide that. But the kind of cachet Jobs brought to his company can't be replaced. And for Apple to stay on top, it will need to find the next best thing.