It’s been ten years since Apple had to announce the death of Steve Jobs. The news reached Europe early in the morning. Jobs was a visionary, genius, perfectionist and sometimes a difficult person. When he died on October 5, 2011 at the age of only 56, even many fans saw black for the future of the iPhone company. In fact, everything turned out very differently.
Lost the fight after years
Apple without Steve Jobs was basically inconceivable. But ten years ago the inevitable day came after Tim Cook had officially taken over the helm shortly before. Jobs’ death was preceded by a long battle against cancer, and Cook had had to represent it over and over again over the years. His appointment as Apple CEO on August 24, 2011 astonished many observers. Cook was – besides head of design Jony Ive – probably Jobs’ most important confidante. But “Tim”, as everyone at Apple calls him, had made a name for himself as a logistics and production expert. He did not even begin to reveal the charisma with which Jobs had regularly cast a spell over the masses.
One of the skeptics at the time was Larry Ellison, who was a close friend of the Apple co-founder for many years. The head of the software giant Oracle believed that Apple would be doomed without Steve Jobs. In a TV interview, he drew a parallel to 1985, when the Apple board of directors pushed Steve Jobs out of the company. Over the next twelve years, Apple was so run down that in 1997 the company was on the verge of bankruptcy and Jobs was brought back as a savior. “We saw Apple without Steve Jobs. We saw Apple with Steve Jobs. Now we’re going to see Apple without Steve Jobs,” said Ellison. “Steve Jobs is irreplaceable.”
Apple became a giant under Cook
But things turned out very differently after Jobs’ death than Ellison had feared. Apple sells more devices and services than ever before. In August 2018, the iPhone manufacturer went down in financial history as the first US company to achieve a trillion dollar valuation on the stock exchange. This year it was already 2.5 trillion. In addition to the stock market boom, according to experts, the high level of customer loyalty in particular contributed to the rise. “When a new user starts using an Apple smartphone, they usually stick with an Apple smartphone,” says Jeriel Ong, a Deutsche Bank equity analyst.
And the rally isn’t over yet. Since October 2011, the split-adjusted share price has risen from around $ 13 to an all-time high of just under $ 150. Cook also regularly pampers shareholders with dividends, which Jobs had always refused. Cook managed to constantly win over new groups of buyers with the iPhone. He also expanded the range of additional devices such as the Apple Watch computer clock or AirPods earphones and placed subscription services such as iCloud and Apple TV + on the market. He also managed to charge higher prices for his products, so that a large part of the industry’s profits now go to Apple.
Environment and politics
Tim Cook is still not a great presenter on stage. Nevertheless, it has now set its own accents that clearly set it apart from its predecessor. One example of this is the environment. In 2008, Steve Jobs was still engaged in heated arguments with representatives of Greenpeace when environmentalists asked him not to use brominated flame retardants in Apple products. Under certain circumstances, these are poisonous, difficult to break down in the environment and accumulate in living beings.
Under the direction of Cook, Apple not only refrained from using the controversial flame retardants, but also from all other environmental toxins in production. He also switched the company over to completely renewable energy. This ambitious project is now to be expanded to include the entire supply chain. This change was also registered by Greenpeace. “Since Tim Cook took over the management of Apple, he has made environmental protection an important part of the company’s identity,” said the organization in 2017 when it published a report on environmental standards at electronics manufacturers.