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Steve Jobs: The perspective of Apple analyst Tim Bajarin

January 20, 2011 |  8:43 am

Steve Jobs told the world of his medical leave from Apple in a short three-paragraph letter, creating a lot of buzz and leaving many questions unanswered for those who work and live in the technology industry and consumers alike.

Steve Jobs in 2004 at the MacWorld Expo The next day, Apple announced record earnings with $6 billion in profit, and again some questioned just how long Jobs' had been facing health problems and what this meant for the company.

Tim Bajarin, a longtime Silicon Valley tech analyst and president of Creative Strategies Inc., shares his perspective on Steve Jobs, Apple and Jobs' fill-in, Apple Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook, in this Q&A.

Why is Steve Jobs so important to Apple?

He is a legendary figure who helped start the PC industry and then came back and saved Apple when it was six weeks from filing bankruptcy. But he is also the visionary behind Apple's thrust in the market and is the champion of creating products that are easy to use and people want. He is the only tech exec who understands technology [and] also has an eye for fine design. This is a rare quality. As a chief spokesman for Apple, he exudes that legendary persona and does this with a lot of charisma.

What will happen to Apple if Jobs doesn’t come back as the full-time CEO?

Apple will continue to grow and thrive as the current management team really understands Jobs' vision and how to manage the company for growth. Apple's products are not created overnight. Products that will come out this year were designed two years ago. Products coming out in 2012 were worked on and put in motion last year. And the products for 2013 were already on the drawing boards this fall and all have Jobs' stamp of approval on them.

Do you think Jobs has accomplished all he'd like as CEO?

Not at all. He has a grand vision of how technology can be integrated into every aspect of people's lifestyle. His vision for Apple spans decades, not just a year or two. And his top executives know this vision and even the road map he wants carried out. Jobs would like to continue to drive that vision, but if for some reason he can't, the team under him is more then capable of carrying out Steve's short- and long-term visions for Apple.

If Jobs were to step down as CEO, who would be a good choice to succeed him?

I don't believe they would look outside. They did that before and it did not work. The only logical candidate would be Cook. He has been there over 10 years, knows Steve's vision and management strategy and even has the road map as part of his duties now. He also has the respect of all of Apple's management and employees.

What has Jobs meant for computers, technology and consumer electronics?

He and Steve Wozniak invented the first real commercial PC and then reinvented it again with the Mac. He went on to reinvent the most successful MP3 player, smart phone and most recently the tablet. For decades, he has been one of our most colorful tech executives and is now the most influential one in the industry. He is and will always be the heart of Apple. But Apple is no longer a one-man company. To be as successful as they are now, it takes the hard work of dozens of top executives and thousands of employees who are dedicated to his vision to create and deliver to the market the great products Apple has to offer.


Steve Jobs and Apple probably picked the best day to announce medical leave

Apple quarterly profit up 78%; shares fall 2.2% on Steve Jobs' medical leave

-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles

Photo: Apple CEO and co-founder Steve Jobs in front of a projected Apple Computer logo during his keynote speech at the MacWorld Expo in San Francisco on January 6, 2004. Credit: John G. Mabanglo/EPA