Virtually no Chief Executive has been as vital to the success of his company – and to its share price – as Apple’s CEO, Steve Jobs. Due to recurring serious illness, he has recently resigned as Chief Executive; his effective departure is a massive loss to Apple which he founded in the 1970s.
Following his return in 1996, Apple has thrived, due in part to the staggering success of iPhones, iPads and iPods, notwithstanding selling over 60 million computers since 1997. tOnly recently, Apple became the most valuable company globally, a status that oil giant, Exxon, has now regained. Significantly, too, Apple’s market value lies far ahead of Microsoft, whose Bill Gates is the only realistic competitor to Jobs as the sector’s leading light.
Increasingly, Jobs is being regarded as one of the great entrepreneurs in history. His business philosophy is based on the intricate design of electronic appliances that millions of consumers covet. Who would have thought, perhaps a decade ago, that iPhones would become a global phenomenon, especially amongst young people? Indeed, history may rate Jobs alongside such legendary names as the peerless Thomas Edison, arguably the world’s first professional inventor; Henry Ford, the father of mass production; and leisure’s Walt Disney.
Apple has thrived on the back of entrepreneurship, brilliant design and identifying consumer trends with a ruthless zeal. Its success has not been driven by endless subsidies that so many western nations offer across various industries: the UK chemicals sector is a particularly egregious example. Apple has thrived in a generally open market. As such, along with Microsoft, Apple has created a vast number of jobs in recent years, both in the US and throughout Europe.
As the media eulogises Steve Jobs on his retirement from day-to-day management, remember that the open market commercial environment, in which Apple has prospered, is key to its success.