Steve Jobs has been the icon in terms of the IT industry over the last 25 years. Apple was built, rescued and transformed by Steve Jobs. Apple has transformed the industry. In the last number of years Jobs has battled serious illness, continued to drive the company forward and developed and implemented succession plans.
As external business advisors we spend a significant amount of time talking about ‘competitive edge‘, strategy, succession planning, talent pool, etc. Clearly Apple has a real talent pool and has planned for succession. The real question is how much of the competitive edge was actually Steve Jobs. His innovative mindset, his emphasis on design, his demands around quality, his show.
It will be interesting to watch this play out. No doubting the talent of his successor, Tim Cook. Apple will be different. This does not preclude Apple being even more successful. But, to date, this has been a company very much focused on delivering the Jobs magic. The test of the succession planning is the continued development of the magic.