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.