When investing in a company, you should look at management as a huge deciding factor on whether or not you should consider a particular investment. CEOs make or break a company and as a shareholder it is always reassuring to know that a great management team is keeping your investment safe.
Apple (AAPL) was founded by Steve Jobs in 1976 in order to introduce a personal computer kit. Steve Jobs began to grow the company, however his board of directors and the current CEO at the time, John Sculley, did not agree with his strategies. While Jobs' main focus was innovation, the board and the CEO were focusing on earnings. A power struggle developed and Jobs was kicked out of the company he founded. Jobs later went on to found NeXT, a computer platform company, a system which the entire Mac O/S is built around. After several layoffs and massive cost cutting, the company still had a tough time achieving stability. Jobs was brought back on as CEO and revolutionized the company. Under his watch he introduced the Apple store and created a popular line of products. It produced the Macbook line of laptops, iPod, iPhone and the iPad.
Steve Jobs announced that he would be leaving Apple, though he will stay on as chairman. He will not be making day-to-day decisions like he did when he was CEO. He is currently recommending Tim Cook to become CEO, a person who I believe will perform just as well as Jobs did.
The reason I believe Steve Jobs' departure will have no fundamental impact on the stock is simply because the innovators of Apple's newest products are still staying. I do not believe Apple's vision will change if Tim Cook is appointed CEO. In fact, I believe the company will become stronger. Tim Cook has already been acting like a "CEO" in management occasions, especially when Steve Jobs has taken medical leaves.
Steve Jobs has made Apple become very sustainable. The company has massive revenue and will eventually have the distinction of being the largest company in the world (it has for a brief period).
Warren Buffett once said, "Always try to invest in a company that a monkey could run and still reward shareholders because eventually a monkey will run it."
Investing in tech companies is extremely difficult as even a good company can take a hit if it does not innovate as fast as everyone. Steve Jobs has left his mark on society, he has forced other companies to innovate rather than focus on income statements. Apple is responsible for disrupting the entire technology market. The following is a list of companies that have had their operations disrupted by Apple's strong growing presence:
Hewlett Packard (HPQ) has fallen almost 40%. CEO Leo Apotheker so far has done a fairly poor job and the recent news of HP selling its PC division did not get a positive reaction from shareholders. Mark Hurd did a fantastic job by helping the company grab strong market share in the PC business, but due to the introduction of the iPad, growth for PCs has been slowing. Even HP tried to copy the iPad by creating the HP touchpad. HP is now selling the touchpads with 80% mark down for $99.
Research In Motion (RIMM) has fallen from a 52 week high of $70 and now stands at $28 a share. The maker of Blackberrys has given poor guidance because of the introduction of the iPhone. The company has had an extremely tough time competing in the mobile phone market. Blackberry also followed Apple's footsteps and created the PlayBook, which is similar to the iPad. The company missed PlayBook sales projections by 90%. The company has now revised the growth projections for the tablet by 50%.
Nokia (NOK) is falling apart as it tries to regain some market share. The stock has fallen from a high of around $11 a share and sits at $6 a share today. CEO Stephen Elop has signed a $1 billion deal with Microsoft (MSFT) to use Microsoft's mobile phone O/S.
Microsoft (MSFT) has been cautious in its expectations as PC sales start to slow due to the iPad. The company is still extremely strong and generating a lot of profit, but consumer adoption of the Windows 7 operating system has slowed. Microsoft plans to announce a Windows 8 refresh cycle soon and it should be interesting how it performs. Did I mention Microsoft is coming out with a Windows tablet? I think we probably know the outcome of this already.
Steve Jobs has truly made Apple what it is today. I hope that all CEOs can learn a thing or two from him. However, with his recent departure I think Apple will not change as the company has matured strongly. The company's main focus is the consumer and they provide products that the consumer will use. Apple has outdone itself and I believe it will continue with its vision with Tim Cook as CEO.
Disclosure: I am long MSFT.