Will Apple change without Steve Jobs?

By Clive Gold, CTO Marketing, EMC Australia and New Zealand

Wow.. talk about timing… as I was talking about the major changes in our industry ..today Steve Jobs resigns. I do think this is important for our industry.  You might argue Apple is a corporation and one individual should not make a material difference, but I’ve seen how much impact the head of an organisation has.  Just looking at EMC ANZ today, compared to a number of years ago, with David Webster as the new leader it’s a new place. Many of the same people are here but now ANZ is consistently in the top performing locations for EMC worldwide, we continue to take market share, and most importantly the people I work with seem to smile a great deal.

For those too young to remember the history of Apple, Steve Jobs has left before;  He hired John Sculley in the late 70’s, Sculley was working for Pepsi and had made Pepsi a major problem for the market leader Coke in what became known as the ‘cola wars’. He got people to take the Pepsi challenge, a blind taste test. And most people preferred the taste of Pepsi, or at least the ones they showed in their ads did! Pepsi gained market share, Coke panicked and invented ‘new Coke’.  Without a doubt one of the largest marketing mistakes for the 20th century!  It cost Coke an absolute fortune and almost ruined the company, because they didn’t ask people what they would buy! It turns out people don’t buy Coke because of the taste, they buy it because of the brand!

The urban myth is that Jobs asked Sculley if he wanted to sell sugar water for the rest of his life or come and change the world with Apple. As it turns out Sculley didn’t really achieve this, made some questionable decisions, like the PowerPC, and even got Jobs fired from Apple in the mid 80’s.

In the late 90’s Job’s new company is purchased by Apple and he takes over the organisation again, at the time the stock price is hovering under $10. If only we had all been like Forest Gump and purchased shares in ‘some fruit company’….

Well today, like them or hate them, Apple has changed the world! You just have to walk around any public place and count the number of Apple devices that people are using to see the impact. You read all the talk about the “Post-PC” era, and the iPad will be mentioned numerous times.  Personally I can’t wait for iCloud, it is going to solve so many of my personal ‘data’ management problems.

So I do think here is another one to mark down ….

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