Who could replace Steve Jobs?

UPDATE: 06.10.2011: Steve Jobs 1955-2011 RIP. After reading some articles on those honored enough to work with the great man here is one paragraph that sums up this loss for me:

“Try to imagine today’s society if Steve didn’t exist. Can you? The Apple II. the Macintosh. The mouse. Making computers accessible to non-technical people in general. Reinventing the music industry with iPod and iTunes, over the express wishes of the industry. Beginning a similar reinvention of film and video. Revitalising animation with Pixar. Reinventing the personal communication industry with the iPhone. And most recently the iPad. He was a fundamental part of so many societal changes, any one of which would make most people’s careers.” ~ Chuq von Rospach worked at Apple for 17 years, from 1989 to September 2009; he now works at Hewlett-Packard

After reading this article on Apple’s profits being up 124% year-on-year it prompted me to think who could be capable of filling the great mans shoes when he finally retires?

Apple are doing amazingly well in iPhone sales and have ‘..sold every iPad we could make’. They are sitting on $76.2bn but the market seem to believe that all this is down to one man. So who could replace him?

I Googled “Who could replace Steve Jobs?” and was amazed to find that the top article was from 2008. Surely there has been more recent speculation? This article from Macworld (The men who could replace Steve Jobs) includes the obvious Apple internal candidates:

Tim Cook, 48, Chief Operating Officer
Phil Schiller, 48, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing
Jonathan Ive, 41, Senior Vice President of Industrial Design (I believe that Jonathan has since returned to his native England?)
Ron Johnson, 50, Senior Vice President of Retail Experience.
Bill Campbell, 68, Senior Apple Director.

Only Ron Johnson is credited, in this article, with the Jobsian ‘visionary’ title so who else out there can combine the tech-visionary clout and CEO experience?

In my personal, and limited, experience there’s only one person that could fill these shoes and that’s MicroStrategy’s Micheal Saylor. With his passion and drive for all things mobile he has not been shy about his love for Apple’s iPhone/iPad and what it can do for taking technology forward into the next realm.

A more recent article (the next one down on the Google search I performed) adds a few names:

Scott Forstall – Senior VP iPhone Software. He’s currently in a very focussed position – is this really indicative of CEO material? Sounds like a very big jump to me. But, apparently Forbes said he’s a name we ‘need to know in 2011’ so what do I know πŸ˜‰

Google’s Eric Schmidt (listed as CEO but he is currently the Executive Chairman) is also listed but I think he’s going to be staying put for a while. I’m sure an offer like CEO of Apple could change his mind though.

Interestingly one of the comments on the above article puts the requirements for the job as “..passion, charisma, bold aggressive decision making style, clarity of vision, photographic memory, the long view of tech evolution, a distinctive sense of style, willingness to throw in completely to the work at hand, capable of seeing a future and demanding it be executed just so.”

Does Job’s really have a photographic memory? I’ll have to Google that one at a later date.

Putting the photographic memory aside I believe that Michael Saylor has all these qualities but as an employee of MicroStrategy I’m a little bit biased. …Wow, I really am a part of the ‘cult of MicroStrategy’ πŸ˜‰

With stocks in MicroStrategy repeatedly hitting 52-week highs it looks ripe for a buy-out but I believe that Micheal Saylor, a majority stake-holder, wouldn’t do this unless to the right bidder. Who better to sell to than Apple? It might look like an odd partnership at first glance but as Apple hardware slowly creeps into the corporate realm a Business Intelligence solution such as MicroStrategy’s would really help. If that were to happen it would be a logical progression for Michael Saylor to climb the ranks within Apple.

For those who haven’t heard of Micheal Saylor before the CEO of Datasage once said, β€œIf you dropped Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, and Mike Saylor in the woods, naked and penniless, and said, β€˜First one to make a fortune wins,’ I would bet on Mike Saylor.” High praise indeed. I know he’s infamous for losing $6bn in one day but for having the strength of character to come back from that it’s easy, for me at least, to draw parallels with Steve Jobs.

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