Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Searching for the Next Steve Jobs - washingtonpost.com

A timely snapshot; read the full article for more context

Compare Jobs's recent recklessness to the way Microsoft managed the delicate hand-over of the company from Bill Gates to Steve Ballmer. Gates, you'll recall, was every bit as synonymous with Microsoft as Jobs is with Apple.

Yet Gates managed to slide out of his company with virtually no disruption. He accomplished this by setting up the transition years in advance, giving Ballmer the CEO post and letting him get more exposure even while Gates stayed on as the figurehead and official outside representative of the company. By the time Gates did step down officially, in June 2008, his departure was practically a non-event.

Jobs, in contrast, seems determined to hang on at Apple no matter what. See, in the world of Steve, it's all about Steve. When he does go, he will be remembered as a tremendous genius -- but also as a petulant narcissist with a grandiose sense of his importance and a sadly limited view of the world around him.

Searching for the Next Steve Jobs - washingtonpost.com


davesmall said...

Peter - you forgot to mention the fact that Microsoft has also slipped from a position of dominance in high-tech to the status of an 'also-ran' in almost every category. Great leadership transition while going downhill don't you think?

Meanwhile Apple has become the clear technology leader in categories that Microsoft used to dominate. So I guess we might say that Steve isn't 'all about Steve.' He's all about leading and bringing great products to market.

pbokelly said...

I respect a lot of Apple's accomplishments, both in its early days and over the last decade+ since Jobs returned, but it definitely has not displaced Microsoft in many categories Microsoft "used to dominate." Since when did Microsoft "dominate" smart phones and portable media players, for example, and what percentage of Apple's revenues and profits do those two categories represent today?

In any case, vibrant competition is good for everybody.