Analysts have said that Apple (AAPL) does not need Steve Jobs. Apple shares are up 60% since he took a break to work on his health with his doctors. Because the form of cancer he has can be particularly deadly, a large number of investors believed that he would never be back. The Apple board would be forced to replace an icon.
But, The Wall Street Journal says Jobs will be returning soon, at just about the time the company will release a new version of the iPhone, one with more multimedia functions. Apple may also release a less expensive version of the handset to bring in consumers who have stayed away because of the device’s high price.
Everything is not OK at Apple. The iPhone faces threats from new versions of the RIM (RIMM) Blackberry, the Palm (PALM) Pre, and new smartphones from global handset leader Nokia (NOK)
There is also plenty of evidence that Mac sales are slowing. It may be that because many corporations use Windows that Mac market penetration is reaching a ceiling. It many be that cheaper PCs including netbooks are taking market share.
The last and most important challenge to Apple is the that iPod is eight years old. Almost 200 million iPods have been sold and the rate at which sales of the device are rising has slowed significantly.
Apple needs Jobs because he is the world’s most formidable genius at creating and marketing consumer electronics, and Apple needs some new winners.
Douglas A. McIntyre