Earlier this week, Apple started a firestorm by telling its shareholders that Steve Jobs' health is a private matter. I argued both here on The Digital Home and on CNBC's Closing Bell, that Steve Jobs' health does matter and with no heir apparent in sight, how can shareholders feel secure in their investment?
I won't rehash the argument here, but it does beg one question: where is that heir apparent and who is he or she?
Apple, unlike almost every other company in technology space is so tied to its CEO that whenever he appears on TV or says anything of substance, it becomes a major media event and has an impact on the company's stock price. Beyond that, I would argue that there hasn't been one CEO currently sitting atop a company that has had the kind of impact Steve Jobs has had.
Think of it this way: before he was ousted, Jobs was the most important element in Apple's strategy. Sure, he made mistakes and the company suffered, but his tenacity was what kept that company going.
After this ouster, Jobs watched on the sidelines as his company fell into a malaise. The company's executives presided over an extreme degradation in the Apple product and practically everyone was wondering how long it would last.
And then, Steve Jobs came back and, well, saved the day. He presided over the greatest gain in shareholder value the company had ever seen and restored his company to the position of one of the most feared, yet popular brands in the business. Along the way, he made countless investors multimillionaires.… Read more