Zachary Karabell: Don't Bet Against Apple

August 25th, 2011

The Daily Beast
By Zachary Karabell
August 24, 2011

Let it be acknowledged that Apple, from which Steve Jobs has finally resigned as CEO after years of battling pancreatic cancer, is no ordinary company. It is the most powerful, successful, and innovative consumer technology company of our age.

That it is so a testament to Jobs, to his passion, his vision, his uncompromising mania, and his unwillingness to cede control. He has, by all accounts, been a difficult man to work with and for, and he has undoubtedly left many wounded employees in his wake. But he also has provided a ray of optimism about the power of technology to channel our collective energies for a better world. Cynics beware: Apple is the opposite of cynicism, and its success is a reminder that you can’t short your way to fortune and power. You actually have to create something.

The burning question, then, is, can this company continue to thrive in the absence of Steve Jobs? Is its success an emanation of him? And if so, is the future bleak? The answer to these questions is yes and no.

Apple has had two incarnations: one in the late 1970s through the mid-1980s, when a 20-something Jobs, along with his countercultural slacker Cupertino partner Steve Wozniak, created the quirky Apple computer, Apple II, and then the revolutionary Macintosh in 1984. The second incarnation came after 2000, when the company pulled out of its death swoon and reinvented not just the computer industry, but the music business, the phone, and now publishing and entertainment.

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