Apple Will Still Be Apple, Even Without Steve Jobs

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Ben Bajarin is the Director of Consumer Technology Analysis and Research at Creative Strategies, Inc, a technology industry analysis and market intelligence firm located in Silicon Valley.

Although the news of Steve Jobs’ resignation was sudden, as most news is, many of us in the analyst community have been prepared for it. To some degree, those in the media have been prepared as well but it has been interesting to see all the ways the news has been covered.

Obviously the biggest question is that of Apple’s future without Steve Jobs at the helm as CEO. I feel like I have been asked this question a thousand times already and my answer has always stayed the same. Apple will be fine.

(PHOTOS: The Long, Extraordinary Career of Steve Jobs)

I became a technology industry analyst 11 years ago and studying Apple has been almost a daily task of my career. My firm has been studying Apple for over 30 years. We are confident Apple will continue to innovate, break new barriers, and create new categories of computing.

Many articles have come out rightly pointing to the many fundamental strength’s of Apple’s business. Things like culture, the Apple ecosystem, and their five-year product planning cycle. Those who have said that Steve Jobs is Apple—and therefore Apple is weaker now that he’s stepping down—are simply wrong. Smart people know better. Even Jobs himself knows better.

Steve Jobs has gone well out of his way to acknowledge the people at Apple: the teams of human beings who believed they were working on the greatest technology products in the world. Apple transcends any one individual to instead represents the sum of its parts, which are many.

The other question that has come up often is what does this mean for Apple’s competitors? Do they now have a window of opportunity to gain ground and compete? The answer I give is if the competition couldn’t compete when Jobs was CEO then it’s doubtful they will compete when he is not.

(MORE: Why Competing with Apple Is So Difficult)

In fact I would argue that Apple’s competition should be more concerned now that he has stepped down. Here’s why:

First of all, Jobs has said he will be an active chairman. I would contend that’s basically the role he played while he was on sick leave, and Apple did fine. More importantly, however, all of Apple is now even more laser-focused on proving they can live up to and maybe even surpass the vision of Steve Jobs.

Everyone at Apple—from the Tim Cook, the new CEO, to the most recently-hired intern—now has something to prove.

Apple already has some of the hardest working employees on the planet. They work long hours, working weekends and evenings because they will not release a product they are not personally proud of. Now this hard working group of people may have even more fire in their bellies. I contend that may be even more dangerous of a concept for Apple competitors to wrestle with.

VIDEO: Steve Jobs’ Career at Apple (in Two Minutes)

Ben Bajarin is the Director of Consumer Technology Analysis and Research at Creative Strategies, Inc, a technology industry analysis and market intelligence firm located in Silicon Valley.

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