Post-Steve Jobs Apple likened to departures of Walt Disney, Henry Ford

Posted:
in AAPL Investors edited January 2014
The resignation of Steve Jobs as Apple CEO is a significant event for the company, but similar to the departures of visionaries in years past like Henry Ford and Walt Disney, Apple is expected to go on without Jobs.



As news of Jobs' departure begins to settle, Wall Street analysts continue to offer their take on Apple's new era. One take from Mike Abramsky of RBC Capital Markets gave the comparison to Disney and Ford, whose companies live on long after their founders.



"Similar to the departure of Henry Ford, Walt Disney -- unique creative forces whose companies carried on for years -- Apple without Steve will go on," he wrote in a note to investors on Thursday. "However, it's hard to believe Apple won't be different; Steve was involved in every detail of product, marketing, execution, deal-making (carriers, studios, etc.) and had the vision and gravitas to bet on disruptive innovations."



Abramsky believes consumers are likely to continue to buy Apple products, while transition to new CEO Tim Cook is expected to be smooth. But in the longer term, he said investors may fret about whether the company can keep its "cool" and "wow" factor.



"Steve's departure may precipitate Apple's evolution from icon-led to team-led, from disruptive innovation to continuous innovation," he wrote. "Most innovations at Apple are created through small teams, and Steve's approach to design and execution remains steeped into Apple's culture (simplicity, discoverability, elegance, differentiation, attention to detail, ecosystem control and tight integration, secrecy)."



RBC Capital Markets has maintained an "outperform" rating for AAPL stock following this week's executive shakeup. They recommend that investors accumulate on related weakness surrounding the departure of Jobs.



RBC's Mike Abramsky compared the departure of Steve Jobs (right) to those of Henry Ford (left) and Walt Disney (center).



Other analyst takes following Jobs' announcement on Wednesday that he has resigned as Apple CEO:



Ticonderoga Securities



Analyst Brian White said the eventual resignation announced on Wednesday should come as no surprise to investors. He has advised that they should stay the course with Apple, as much of the concern over Jobs was likely already built into the stock price.



"We are not surprised that this announcement came this year, albeit the precise date could never have been known," White said. "In fact, during our marketing meetings over the past eight months, investors have indicated that if Steve Jobs stepped down as CEO or worse, the stock could correct up to 10% the next day and they would be buyers on this potential selloff."



White said that Jobs completed the biggest turnaround story in corporate history, all while reinventing the consumer electronics market, upending entire industries and destroying competitors.



"Clearly, there is no one like Steve Jobs in the tech world and Apple will never have another Steve Jobs at the helm, however, we believe he has created an incredibly talented team that can lead Apple to continued success fro many years to come," he said.



Sterne Agee



Analyst Shaw Wu said Wednesday's events, in which Cook was named CEO immediately, show that Apple had a clear succession plan in place, despite not sharing it publicly. The swift changing of the guard should relieve some investor concern, he believes.



But AAPL stock may see "choppiness" in the near future, he said, as some investors may feel that Cook needs to "prove himself and gain confidence" that he can maintain the "magic" the company has produced under Jobs.



Cook's transition to CEO could be like IBM's transition from Lou Gerstner, who was an architect and visionary, to Sam Palmisano, who carried on his vision, Wu believes.



"We see Tim Cook leading on the many principles of Steve Jobs that are ingrained in the culture of AAPL," he wrote. "In addition, we believe AAPL is clearly not a one-man show."



Deutsche Bank



"We believe Cook is a highly capable executive and deeply familiar with Apple's business plans, product roadmaps and operations," analyst Chris Whitmore said. "He has also acted as interim CEO on previous occasions and we see very little near term execution risk."



Shares of AAPL stock are viewed as attractive, he said, in the near term. Whitmore believes the greatest risks for Apple will be in 3 to 5 years, if and when Jobs permanently departs from the company. He remains with Apple as the company's chairman of the board.



For more reaction from an investment perspective, see AppleInsider's previous report: Wall Street expects smooth transition from Steve Jobs to Tim Cook.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 43
    As soon as we see an iPhone with Adobe Flash and a 16 mega-pixel camera, we'll know Apple has jumped the shark.
  • Reply 2 of 43
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    I think Jobs built too well to have the company crumble without him. His philosophy seems to be well ingrained in not only their employees but their customer's expectation.



    I can't say I'm sorry to see Jobs go, but I'm sure as hell glad Steve had the chance to come back to Apple to bring it back to its former glory and then surpass it by a large margin.
  • Reply 3 of 43
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by theguycalledtom View Post


    As soon as we see an iPhone with Adobe Flash and a 16 mega-pixel camera, we'll know Apple has jumped the shark.



    Or a tv set with a 500 dollar MacBook being offered free at futureshop with the purchase of an iPhone...
  • Reply 4 of 43
    This website is getting more and more Правда-esque with every item of 'news'....!
  • Reply 5 of 43
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rosstheboss View Post


    This website is getting more and more Правда-esque with every item of 'news'....!



    You could take that one of two ways...
  • Reply 6 of 43
    Of course Apple will go on, but will Tim Cook push Apple employees to their potential or will Apple employees start getting lazy?
  • Reply 7 of 43
    boeyc15boeyc15 Posts: 986member
    One time I hope the analyst are correct. But history IMO, of founders leaving and analyst track records does not bode well for Apple in the long term. But, thats kind of true for most companys. Short term, Apple should be fine.
  • Reply 8 of 43
    macrulezmacrulez Posts: 2,455member
    deleted
  • Reply 9 of 43
    cajuncajun Posts: 95member
    As I see it, Apple is good for the next few years. They can just go through rounds of maintenance upgrades on their existing products -- faster processor, more megapixels, more resolution, more storage, etc -- while keeping their ear to the ground for new features to add in.



    Steve may have even laid out the plans for a new product category or two. If that's the case, I give it five years before they truly reach the end of the Steve Jobs era.



    The real question is, Once they've gotten beyond the direct influence of Steve Jobs, can Apple still be a visionary company? Can they still out-innovate the PC industry? Will they still take the big risks to reap the big rewards? And most importantly, will they be right about it?
  • Reply 10 of 43
    rhyderhyde Posts: 294member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacRulez View Post


    They Disney comparison may not be the most flattering: until Eisner came along, Disney floundered in a steady downhill pattern after Walt's death.



    And there is the Edsel on the Ford side.
  • Reply 11 of 43
    mzaslovemzaslove Posts: 519member
    I'm hoping that Apple goes the way of the transition in the ol' Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, where Kelly Johnson was an iconic visionary, but when he let go of the reins, Ben Rich came in and expanded the innovation even further.



    Oops, too early in the morning: got that extra "k" in there. Bad "k!"
  • Reply 12 of 43
    wvmb99wvmb99 Posts: 23member
    OK, he's not dead yet. Hopefully not for a long time. You might think he is, reading all of the sensationalist headlines around the web today, but he's still there. Its very unlikely that this will influence anything in the short term (read maybe 5-10 years). After that, who can say, but who can say this for any company? Might as well sell your oil stock on the prediction of discovery of a new, space age energy source that can be made from dandruff.



    As likely as disaster, if not more likely, is the scenario that the people who have learned from jobs over the years will continue to do a good job, with his input, and that maybe the company will even continue to attract good people who will keep it going. Won't be another Steve, but that doesn't mean Apple is doomed.
  • Reply 13 of 43
    iqatedoiqatedo Posts: 1,733member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacRulez View Post


    They Disney comparison may not be the most flattering: until Eisner came along, Disney floundered in a steady downhill pattern after Walt's death.



    The difference is that Steven Jobs has both vision and class. The outcome will be quite different.
  • Reply 14 of 43
    wvmb99wvmb99 Posts: 23member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by IQatEdo View Post


    The difference is that Steven Jobs has both vision and class. The outcome will be quite different.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ElliottScott86851759 View Post


    I just paid $24,31 for an iPad2-64GB and my girlfriend loves her Panasonic GF 1 Camera that we got for $34,26 there arriving tomorrow by UPS. I will never pay such expensive retail prices in stores again. Especially when I also sold a 42 inch LED TV to my boss for $678 which only cost me $68,18 to buy. Here is the website we use to get it all from, CentSpace.com



    In fact, didn't Steve play a pretty big role in bringing Eisner down? In part at least because the guy only looked to the next quarterly statement?
  • Reply 15 of 43
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by boeyc15 View Post


    One time I hope the analyst are correct. But history IMO, of founders leaving and analyst track records does not bode well for Apple in the long term. But, thats kind of true for most companys. Short term, Apple should be fine.



    Stock price-wise, it's likely to be the other way around. Short term drop, but long-term steady climb to the price it should have been all along.



    As one of the analysts said, the Steve Jobs question is already built into the current price of the stock. There should by all rights be a short term panic sale to some degree, followed by much more stability and rational pricing once the fact sinks in that he's gone and nothing fell apart. In theory it should become a more stable stock, like Disney.
  • Reply 16 of 43
    iq78iq78 Posts: 256member
    My guess is that Steve and board knew he would have to resign at some point in the "near" future.



    My guess is that the timed resignation has nothing to do with his immediate health (of course it has to due with his health in general), but that they wanted certain "hit products" in the pipe-line, ready to be released fairly soon after his resignation.



    This way the stock takes it hit, hit products follow a few weeks/months later.... Apple looks strong without Jobs... stocks rebound. Then the future happens with minimal fallout due to "perception." Of course the fall-out due to his absence we have yet to see... but I think they probably timed the resignation to align with dampening the "perceived" effect.



    Does that make sense?



    Anyway, I would be surprised if they (Jobs & Board) didn't time this hit products in the pipe-line (iPhone 5, iPad 3, iCloud).



    The want the resignation to occur JUST before these occur.... not during or after.



    IQ78
  • Reply 17 of 43
    mzaslovemzaslove Posts: 519member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by IQ78 View Post


    My guess is that the timed resignation has nothing to do with his immediate health (of course it has to due with his health in general), but that they wanted certain "hit products" in the pipe-line, ready to be released fairly soon after his resignation.



    Kind of the way it felt to me as well (though one can't rule out immediate health problems) -- perfectly timed to cause the minimum amount of problems.
  • Reply 18 of 43
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacRulez View Post


    They Disney comparison may not be the most flattering: until Eisner came along, Disney floundered in a steady downhill pattern after Walt's death.



    This is true. Ford and Disney left family members and yes-men behind to 'run' their companies. Really, really bad idea. Jobs knew better, and did his best to find qualified people who not only had the chops for their jobs, but proved themselves before he left.



    Also, Ford and Disney went out feet-first. (Ford wasn't quite dead, but near death, when he resigned.) Jobs is obviously quite ill, but as the article states was still capable of a full day's work when he resigned.



    What Jobs accomplished in his life dwarfs the careers of both Disney and Ford. Hell, he even saved Disney's old company, and that's just a footnote to his career.



    Jobs may be best compared to Edison. Like Edison, he had no idea he would end up changing the music industry - but he did. And like Edison, he had no idea he would end up changing the film industry - but he did (Pixar, Quicktime, Final Cut Pro, etc.).



    For all the talk of Jobs' bad behavior, I have never seen him act out in public, as so many other top executives have done. In general, the complaints about him usually boil down to him pushing a team or an individual to achieve somethings he/they think they cannot do. We should have more 'problem' execs like this, not fewer.
  • Reply 19 of 43
    conrailconrail Posts: 489member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mister Snitch View Post


    What Jobs accomplished in his life dwarfs the careers of both Disney and Ford.



    He's earned his place beside them, but he hardly "dwarfed" them. Henry Ford changed not only the culture, but the manufacturing and business worlds as well. Jobs is a titan of the 20th century. Henry Ford is a titan of the ages.
  • Reply 20 of 43
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mister Snitch View Post


    What Jobs accomplished in his life dwarfs the careers of both Disney and Ford. Hell, he even saved Disney's old company, and that's just a footnote to his career.



    Yeah, he doesn't dwarf Ford or Disney, but he is right there with them (closer to Ford).



    And he DID NOT "save Disney." He didn't run Eisner out either. Things were in transition at that time to begin with (behind the scenes). He was helpful, and the Pixar fold-in was a great addition for monetary/distribution reasons (more of the pie), but. although Steve was important to the transition, he didn't save it, and if he weren't there, another transition would have occurred. And Disney was still more successful in many ways during the Eisner/Katzenburg era than they are now.
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