Ill health has forced Steve Jobs to step down from his CEO role at Apple. The risk is as big as a rock band losing its star lead singer — a bad next album and the party is over.
In this edition of BTalk I discuss the Steve Jobs legacy with Jan Dawson, chief telecoms analyst with Ovum. He says Apple has repeatedly moved into a space (computers, music players, mobile phones) and turned the product category around. A big part in this, besides good product design, has been Jobs’ ability to say no to ideas he doesn’t like. If he steps out of the company altogether (he is staying on as company chairman for now) does that mean there’s nobody there to filter out the bad ideas?
For Apple this need to hit the spot time after time is vitally important. They do not offer a wide range of products, so when something new comes out it has to be a winner. A dud will get high exposure. It’s akin to a rock band launching a dud album; the damage to the reputation means it would have to work doubly hard to make a comeback.
Jobs was also a very visible front man for the company. You have to ask, since Michael Hutchence died, who listens to INXS?