fanboy

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Bill Loguidice's picture

Steve Jobs resigns and the ghouls and fanboys are already out in force. Do they have a point, though?

Unless you've been living under one of the few remaining rocks without Internet access, you've already heard the news of Apple CEO, Steve Jobs, resigning. Even though his health has been an obvious issue in recent years, the news still comes as a surprise. Clearly this is the beginning of the end for one of the tech world's most divisive and historically prominent figures, because say what you will about the man and his actions, he clearly has a passion for his work and wouldn't leave unless it was the most dire of circumstances.

Of course, putting the human element aside for the time being, this has also become prime time for the Apple haters to ghoulishly rejoice and/or predict the end of Apple's time in the spotlight. While much of that is clearly fueled by fanboys who feel threatened by Apple's recent prominence, is there any validity to this idea? In fact, some are even trying to draw comparisons to Microsoft's downward trend and the exodus of Bill Gates, but are there really any similarities?

My take is is that it is unlikely Jobs leaving and presumed eventual passing will have a significant impact on Apple in the short- to medium-term. The company is too well positioned at the moment. Long-term is anyone's guess, but then that's an issue for every company. As for Microsoft, I don't think much would have changed for them if Gates remained at the helm. The problem with being the market leader is that you by necessity take fewer and fewer risks to protect that lead, creating more opportunity for others to generate excitement and start to steal marketshare by being more nimble and/or able to react to changing market conditions better. By any definition, Microsoft is still wildly successful and will remain so, it's just that they've stumbled outside of their legacy products of Windows and Office. The only real success at Microsoft other than those two stalwarts and the related enterprise stuff has been their Xbox division. Everything else has pretty much been a failure to this point (though they do make some fine computer accessories). Again, that would be so with or without Gates. Of course, despite those downsides, being a very large company does have the benefit of leaving lots of room to sweep aside failures and try, try again, something Microsoft clearly specializes in. Apple is in as good of a position as any company to sweep aside a few failures going forward, with or without the influence of Jobs.

In any case, it's a fascinating time of late watching these massive tech corporations maneuver, strategize, sue, buy-out, patent troll, and engage in some downright bizarre decision making, be it Google, HP, Microsoft, Apple, Nintendo, Sony, AT&T, et al. I can't recall a time since the early 80's when we've had such volatility in the tech world. Of course, with these fascinating times comes some rough times for us as consumers, but then we've always been the collateral damage when corporate competition heats up, and there's really no sector hotter right now than tech. Whatever side of the fence you fall on, it really is a shame Jobs will no longer be a part of it, though, because love him or hate him, he always made things interesting and all those corporate shenanigans won't seem quite the same without the guy in the black turtleneck to rally around, whether for or against.

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