Jobs’ Job might not be so Secure After All

This might end up being the year that Apple managed to prove that they are just as capable of the poor execution of a media strategy as the next company.  They have been scrambling to deal with a public relations night mare, while attempting to clean up a financial scandal that dates back over half a decade.  The board seems to have been focused on saving Steve Jobs recognizing that Jobs is a key to their success and stock price.

However, its possible that historical ‘actuals’ do not predict Apple’s future.  Steve Jobs put his name, reputation and possibly his job on the line at MacWorld when he announced the iPhone.  People had been expecting it, predicting it, savoring it, drueling at the mouth for it, and generally swarming like a mob to push Apple into a product and industry that they know little about.  So Jobs did something very atypical.  He followed the que and was allowed to be led into the murky world of vanishing profit margins sometimes known as the cell phone industry.

The fact that he followed as opposed to leading might have been mistake number one.

In the article, Why Apple shouldn’t have announced the iPhone by Karen Haslam, she describes how Apple seems to have failed to make sure the iPhone was ready for market by completing agreements with Cisco and receiving a little known thing in the wireless industry known as FCC Approval.  Thus, Apple essentially telegraphed its punch at MacWorld by telling the world what they would get in 6 months as opposed to delivering a knock out blow and taking the world by storm, like they did in 1984 with the mac and repeated in 2001 with the iPod and later the Nano.

Now, I have previously covered the problems with the iPhone in detail so I won’t re-dredge that dead horse.  That said its possible that the combined gaffes of telegraphing the punch, pushing a product out before it was ready and following the herd as opposed to leading the herd might be the first signal of the confidence that the markets have in Steve Jobs ability to the run Apple.

Many look at him like he is a golden child, but the world became disenfranchised with him in the late 80’s and they could do it again now.  Its possible that as Jobs ages, he may be losing the juice too.  Maybe instead of grilling Apple over the iPhone and the stock scandal, investors and the board should be grilling the company and Jobs over the lack of a viable succession plan.

The second to last time that Apple put in replacement to head the company, it was a disaster.