Originally Posted by andrewaudi
If Steve goes, so does Apple, it's happened before and will happen again. There will be nobody for Microsoft to chase and computers will be stuck with either whatever Windows version was the last to take inspiration from an Apple product for 20 years, or one of the many pernickety Linux distros.
Let's put things in perspective.
Steve Jobs v1 messed up Apple III and Mac launches. That was why he was forced out. During the years of John Sculley, Apple did extremely well, until 95 (Windows 95). During those 10 years, Apple had way more innovative products - SCSI, ADB, 32-bit OS, Newton, laptop etc. Apple was a real leader in hardware design. Unfortunately, Copland was going nowhere and that's what was killing Apple after 95.
Steve Jobs v2 brought in OpenStep and a huge pool of talented engineers. It saved Apple, but don't forget, it saved SJ too (NeXT was losing huge amount of $ too).
Actually, during the last 12 years, Apple hardly had any real hardware innovation. However, being a perfectionist, Steve Jobs really helped Apple to produce hit products, from OSX to iPod to iPhone. Certainly, a big factor was that Microsoft's misstep with Vista.
My point is that Steve Jobs had some extremely important leadership quality. However, please don't make it sound that Apple was a totally mess before he went back. Apple was in a big mess from 95 to 97, but was making a killing from 85 to 95.
By the way, in 1995, Apple's market share in US was close to 20%. (it is about 6% today).