Monday, January 5, 2009

Business analysis of Steve Jobs latest health info...

Not that I am a callous person in any way, but I don't really pay much attention to other people's health matters unless they are a close friend or family.

My health is private, so yours should be private, too. In the Internet age, there are way too many things for snoops to pry on these days--and your health should be the last of them.

So, its with business in mind that I comment about Steve Jobs current state:

The letter flat out states Jobs isn't leaving Apple as CEO. Regardless of his weight loss, he probably feels fine.

So, if he feels OK then why did he drop out of Macworld 09? Simple--he probably doesn't look good.

If he has been losing the kind of weight he mentioned, his figure is probably fairly gaunt--so why bother with a repeat of the rampant speculation ala WWDC 2008?

Tons of flacks mentioned that Jobs' cancer looked like it had returned, but Apple attributed his appearance to a "common bug." However, the precedent had been set--if Jobs shows up looking bad, comments will be made. And the stock price may suffer.

Easy solution is to have Phil Schiller take over this year's keynote while Jobs gets his weight back.

But...without Jobs--people simply think Apple doesn't have anything to show. And while that may have been true in the past at a couple of keynotes, it doesn't seem likely for this one. Here are some of the possibilities:

New iMac
New Mac Mini
New LED Display
New 17" MacBook Pro
New Mac Pro
Updates on Snow Leopard

Plus one that Andy Ihnatko is talking about:

So where is Steve Jobs in all the product-release madness? Again, its simple--he's not there and he won't be there.

Times are changing. Apple is not doing trade shows anymore--they see WAY more people in a week at their retail stores than they see at Macworld. Plus, with access to the Internet--even people who can't make it to an Apple Store have access to way more information than anyone could have by making it to a Macworld show.

Jobs can't run Apple forever--this is just part of the separation process for the Apple community. Even if he is there for another 10 years, the community has to accept that it won't be business as usual at Apple going forward. Best to get used to it now.

While Apple is Steve Jobs, and vice versa--it can't always be that way. Part of the mystique that is Apple is the mysteriousness of Mr. Jobs. But while there may have been a time when it was flattering, the cult of personality which has been built up around him can't be a pleasant way to live.

And now this obsession with All Things Steve is so bad that when he gets sick, it affects the stock price?

The board of directors can't allow a company like Apple to externally manipulated by forces outside their control. Apple has to be bigger than one man.

So, MWSF 2009 is Apple taking the leap to show that its more than Steve Jobs. The Keynote? Performed by others. The One Last Thing? Done by someone else.

My educated guess: Phil Schiller will do a great job on the keynote. And Steve Jobs will not make an appearance at all.

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