Love him or hate him, you have to admit that Apple CEO Steve Jobs has had a helluva decade.
Consider that, under his helm, Apple (AAPL) defined the portable music player market with the iPod, has shaken up the mobile industry with the iPhone, rocked the retail music business with iTunes and re-invented the computing business with OS X in a way that the PC business - with less than 10 percent of market share - is no longer the bread-and-butter of the company.
Add to that the brilliant marketing behind Apple and the loyal, almost cult-like, following of Apple’s fans and it’s no wonder that Fortune Magazine Thursday named him the CEO of the Decade. The opening lines of a story written by Fortune Editor-At-Large Adam Lashinsky (which also includes a nice video segment) explain it nicely:
How’s this for a gripping corporate story line: Youthful founder gets booted from his company in the 1980s, returns in the 1990s, and in the following decade survives two brushes with death, one securities-law scandal, an also-ran product lineup, and his own often unpleasant demeanor to become the dominant personality in four distinct industries, a billionaire many times over, and CEO of the most valuable company in Silicon Valley. Sound too far-fetched to be true? Perhaps. Yet it happens to be the real-life story of Steve Jobs and his outsize impact on everything he touches.
Yes, I’m a Mac guy. We’ve been through that on this blog many times. But that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m a huge fan of everything that Jobs and Apple do - after all, I’m also one of those press guys who would like to be less surprised and more prepared when the company makes news. I would especially appreciate the company confirming or squashing a rumor every now and then, too, so I don’t have to spin my wheels trying to find out whether there’s any real substance to it.
Putting that aside, you cannot deny that the manner in which Apple conducts business has been highly effective at not only increasing sales and broadening the company’s portfolio but also setting trends, creating buzz and putting out top-notch (dare I say near perfect?) products again and again and again.
Having been to many of Apple’s news announcements, I know first-hand about the giddiness in those auditoriums - even from the press. And the fact that Apple almost always has the items in-store and online by the time Jobs takes the stage surely helps spark some spontaneous sales. There’s rarely a months-long wait for products the way there is for some competitors.
So, congratulations to Steve Jobs for a strong decade at the helm of Apple. Here’s to the next one.