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Steve Jobs will certainly be missed. He was the master showman, the man who made (with apologies to John Travolta) the world's greatest comeback (and who led the company he co-founded to the greatest comeback in business history) and the one who thought different.
Jobs can't be replaced, but he's created a team that will carry on Apple's success. But more on that later. Jobs' passing has received the type of media coverage usually accorded only to world leaders.
The National Retail Federation President and CEO Matthew Shay released the following statement on news of the passing of Apple founder Steve Jobs.
"The National Retail Federation and the entire retail industry mourn news of the passing of Apple founder Steve Jobs, one of the most innovative leaders of our time who created an iconic retail brand through innovation and design. In a challenging economy, Jobs and the entire Apple team invented discretionary products that many Americans now consider necessities, from the iPod to the iPhone and the iPad. As a prime example of modern day ingenuity and creativity,
"Steve Jobs offered the world an inside look at what the future of consumer electronics can and will become, with generations of consumers now able to thank him for his brilliant innovations. He leaves behind a legacy that will inspire retail companies for decades to come."
The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) issued the following statement attributable to Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CEA, upon the death of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs:
"CEA extends its deepest sympathies to the family of Steve Jobs. We join the entire tech community in celebrating his momentous contributions to making our lives better through innovative products and leadership at the company he loved so much that is beloved by so many. Our thoughts are with the entire Apple family in this difficult time."
Steve "Woz" Wozniak, Apple co-founder, told the "Boston Herald" (http://macte.ch/tHVaC) that Jobs was a good husband and father and a great businessman who had an eye for details. He said Jobs was a good marketer and understood the benefits of technology.
John Sculley, who at one time ran Apple, called Jobs (http://news.cnet.com/8301-30685_3-20116606-264/erstwhile-enemy-sculley-j...) a "brilliant genius who transformed technology into magic." And he said a part of him "still lives within all of us through his beautifully designed products and his no-compromises media experiences."
United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron says, "Steve Jobs transformed the way we work and play; a creative genius who will be sorely missed. Our thoughts are with his family."
Jobs is often incorrectly described as the inventor of the Mac, iPod, iPhone and iPad. He certainly polished those products to perfection with his micro-management and attention to detail, but the world-changing products were the result of a team of people, of which Jobs was the head.
Steve Jobs' greatest talents were predicting what people wanted before they knew they wanted it, an insistence on perfection and the greatest marketing/hyping ability of all time. But it must be noted that Jobs had great products to market, the same advantage enjoyed by the current Apple executive team.
Canaccord Genuity analyst Michael Walkley notes that Apple will be fine in the days ahead. "While Mr. Jobs’s passion, creativity, and keen eye for consumer preference will be missed, we believe Jobs and Apple’s executive team have built an unparalleled talent base and corporate culture that sets the table for future success and innovation," he said in a note to clients. "While he is a remarkable visionary, we believe Apple has a strong team to continue its strong product roadmap."
Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu told clients that "It is the culture of innovation, thinking different, risk taking, and execution that will live on. n our view, the challenge and opportunity for AAPL is to maintain this culture. The good news is that Steve has put a strong team in place to execute with Tim Cook, Jonathan Ive, Eddy Cue, Scott Forstall, Phil Schiller, Peter Oppenheimer, Bob Mansfield, to name a few."
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster says Apple is in good hands” and its share price will rise to $607 in the next 12 months. "I think they are going to continue to expand in the mobile market and based on that, I think Apple can be a 30 percent grower for the next few years," he adds.
Speaking of new CEO Tim Cook, Munster says, "Cook is capable of running Apple, but his rare combination of extreme humility and insatiable motivation make him uniquely suited to continue Jobs’s work as CEO and carry on his vision with a peerless executive team."
And "Bloomberg Businessweek" (http://macte.ch/iq7F1) notes that, with Jobs gone, Schiller is likely to become the company’s primary pitchman. Schiller, vice president for worldwide product marketing, has been the second-most-public face at Apple for years.
"He’s been a fixture in Jobs’s keynotes, demonstrating new products and playing the comic sidekick," says "Bloomberg Businessweek." "Behind the scenes, he has run the marketing empire that hones and promotes the company’s products."
Wall Street doesn't appear to be overly concerned about Apple's future. Early trading on the Nasdaq today shows Apple's shares as of this writing to be up as much as 4% to around US$384. The company's shares started the day down in the $374-$375 range following yesterday's closing price of $378.25, but have quickly made their way back, "seeming to indicate that Wall Street has faith in Apple, even though its iconic co-founder has died," says "CNET" (http://news.cnet.com/8301-13506_3-20116626-17/apple-stock-trading-up-fol...).
Cook and Schiller are part of the team Jobs hand-picked to lead the company. The company's future is bright, and don't let anyone convince you otherwise. That said, the man who is arguable the greatest CEO in history will certainly be missed.
-- Dennis Sellers
(By the way, the photo adorning this article is from Apple's home page.)