The market has been getting a bit over-excited by the news that Apple CEO Steve Jobs is to take a medical leave of absence. The share price fell 5%, losing $19bn in value after the announcement. But this isn't the first time Jobs has taken a back seat because of medical issues, the same thing happened two years ago.
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The fall in the share price seems to be founded on fears over what will happen to the company while Jobs is away. It has also helped to bring the issue of succession back into the spotlight. Jobs is so heavily identified with Apple that there are fears things could slide if his role is diminished.
Two points are worth bearing in mind. The first is that Apple did very well last time Jobs took time off. The second is that, unlike the period in the 90s when Jobs was sacked and Apple lost its way, the culture at the company is much more in tune with his approach and strategy. CFO Tim Cook, who is sitting in for Jobs, is no John Sculley seeking to change the ethos and approach of the company, as he demonstrated all too capably the last time the CEO was away.
The people i
n situ at Apple today can see that the Jobs way of doing things works. Having been brought up in the Jobsian tradition, they are unlikely to tamper with such a successful formula.