AAPL Stock: 128.46 ( -1.96 )

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Focus on Steve Jobs is misguided, says analyst

updated 11:05 am EST, Tue December 23, 2008

Kaufman on Jobs' worth

The emphasis on Steve Jobs' role as CEO at Apple is misplaced, says Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw Wu. Wu notes that while Apple shares managed to break the $100 barrier on December 10th, they have since fallen "under pressure." This is due not only to economic recession, says Wu, but continuing worries over Jobs' health, and what might happen to the company should he die or be forced to step down from the company. Jobs is a survivor of pancreatic cancer, and in recent months has appeared unusually thin, prompting worries of recurrence. Apple stocks plummeted briefly in October on false rumors of a heart attack.

All these concerns are in fact beside the point, Wu contends. While Jobs has been critical to projects such as the Apple II, Mac, iPod and iPhone, much of the same attitude is said to have been institutionalized at Apple, a necessary feat when the company has some 32,000 workers and is projected to have approximately $36.5 billion in revenue next year. The company is further thought to be attracting Apple fanatics as a rule, many of whom are willing to work hard and change how things are done.

Following its current course, Apple should thus be able to survive just fine without Jobs, Wu proposes. The business has in fact had a number of hits without the executive, most notably QuickTime, the IIgs, the Quadra, the PowerMac and the PowerBook. Kaufman is holding to a $120 price target.

by MacNN Staff





  1. Peter Bonte

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Steve Jobs

    Agreed, Steve Jobs had a big part in bringing Apple back to the game and simplifying the productline but he is not indispensable for the company anymore. His current role is overstated in the media and that is having a unwanted effect on the stock price, that is why he seems to be taking a step back.
    We'll see him moving away from the stage to lessen his impact on Apple's stock price. At the same time strengthening the brand with new iPhone/Touch models would be a good move, maybe a new product line.

  1. simdude

    Joined: Dec 1969


    even better integration

    I would like to see even a better integration of devices. Right now, I have a family MobileMe account. Yet, I can't share editable calendars (although I just learned last week you can shared editable address books).

    I want to be able to sit at any computer in my house, log in with my name and see my desktop. Yeah, you can do screen sharing etc, but that is not the same thing. I want my environment and files whereever I am. Ditto for the rest of the family. I can do this at work (and have for the last 18 years) with NIS. There should be a nice clean Apple way to do this.

    Maybe the answer is a true hub/server running virtual machines. You set this up, then buy thin clients. Now, I buy one powerful mac, and maybe 4 thin clients and a laptop.

    Apple has generally been good at coming up with great ideas, but, what do you do if what may be the best idea for people, isn't the best idea for your bottom line? Obviously, thin clients would have to be cheap and couldn't be used for games etc, but for working on documents, browsing the web, email, they could be great. But, there's not much room for markup.

  1. chefpastry

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Shaw Wu = Manipulator

    Shaw Wu is a market manipulator. He says whatever will help him make more money on AAPL.

  1. macnixer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I want to believe

    Gods don't die. Steve is the proverbial god at Apple. While Apple had a sort of a good run with the IIcs and quadra and PowerMacs, the company was still in red and the whole company was being run by sales folks. There was no focus. Apple was manufacturing everything - computers, handhelds, printers, cameras, you name it. Add to it the licensing to cannibalistic companies - motorola, power computing, umax etc.

    Steve never did it all alone but the portrayal of the single Master has been very well done at Apple. I am sure there are more designers at Apple but have we heard any more names other than Jony Ive? Exactly that is the problem. Apple not only promotes its products, Apple promotes champions.

    Apple will continue without Steve but the vision that he has will not be transfused into someone else's head.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re: I want to believe

    Apple was NOT in the red during the early 90s. They went into the red when they got into the mid to late 90s, with their 16000 product models (I need a PowerMac 6336 CD, NOT the 6335 CD!) and complete implosion of their OS attempts (Copland and Gershwin, let alone Taligent).

    NeXT was no savior for the company (how long did it take to get OS X out of NextStep? 5 years? And many thought they should've gone with BeOS). It was all Steve bringing them back into focus.

    The concern should be not what happens 2 years after Steve's departure, but 5-10 years after. Will the company stay focused, or will they end up getting run by another egomaniacal charmer like Gil Amelio?

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    And bear in mind that Steve Jobs who left in 85 was a lot different then the one that returned in 96, who was far more level-headed and had a clue (although after 10 years, he still couldn't get NextStep out into general use). I guess it helped to have the devoted following of Mac Users that he could rely on.

    And story has it that Steve thought computers should be appliance like, not even allowing or needing to add memory (128K, who needs more than that?).

  1. Peter Bonte

    Joined: Dec 1969


    re: Oh

    Appliances like game consoles, net-radio's, iPods and not to forget the iPhone that will have the same specs for a long time. Computers rapidly move into being appliances geared towards a speciality function.

    Having a computer with the same specs for the rest of its useful life is easier to program for and prices would go down until they become ubiquitous everywhere, money would then have to be made on software via a App-store of some sort. This model wasn't possible for the PC, prices go down but there is no App-store to earn the extra dollar. It did work for the iPod and iPhone, we can expect Apple do move even more into this model with other products, the PC is a dead-end for Apple because an App-store is hard to force onto its users but prices go down anyway.

    Apple has more profit on its iPhone than the Mini, Macbook or lowend iMac, Steve did see the future.

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