Apple after Steve Jobs

Steve Henn Jan 18, 2011


Kai Ryssdal: First of all, that nosedive Apple shares took at the opening bell this morning? The company got most of it back in the course of the day, once people had gotten their minds around the news about CEO Steve Jobs. Jobs announced yesterday he’s taking his second medical leave in as many years for an indefinite period this time.

Apple’s profits — announced after the bell this afternoon — should allay immediate fears about the company’s fate. The numbers blew past already high expectations. And no wonder. Its phones have redefined what it means to be mobile. The company’s sitting on a $50 billion pile of cash. And yet — with or without Steve Jobs — Apple’s going to be facing some challenges.

Marketplace’s Steve Henn reports.

Steve Henn: In the 18 months since Steve Jobs returned from a liver transplant, he’s knocked a lot of items off Apple’s to-do list: the iPad, the Mac Apps Store, the Beatles on iTunes, the iPhone on Verizon.

Yari Reiner: I think the story of Apple since the introduction of the iPhone has been basically initiating the post-PC world.

Yari Reiner is a tech analyst at Oppenheim Securities. He says Apple’s created a series of beautiful, easy-to-use devices that put the Internet in your pocket. Apple’s hooked us into Google Maps, Netflix and millions of apps. And Reiner says this has changed computing, the Internet and how we live — maybe forever.

Reiner: Now that Apple has started that new revolution, the challenge will be maintaining the value from here on out.

So what will it take for Apple to continue to thrive — with or without Steve Jobs? Reiner thinks the company should create services to compete with the Googles and Netflixes of the world. But most analysts disagree, like Bill Fearnley at Janney Capital.

Bill Fearnley: I think the big thing with Apple continue with the product innovation that they have done on multiple products.

Innovations that surprise us. Create products that millions instantly lust after — even if they didn’t know they wanted or needed them ahead of time.

Fearnley says Apple’s genius hasn’t been creating totally new technologies. What Apple has done is to take ideas that have been around for a while, like mp3 players or smartphones, and refine them — make it easy to use and understand and even desire. If Apple can continue to do that, Fearnley says the company has nothing to worry about.

In Silicon Valley, I’m Steve Henn for Marketplace.

Ryssdal: Apple shares closed down a couple of percent today. You can check out our chart of Apple’s product releases and executive changes against its stock price here. By the way, the iPhone? Not that big of a bump, in case you were thinking.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.