What will Apple look like after Steve Jobs? And will it remain as successful as it has been over the past decade?
I’ll say it now: No.
Apple won’t sustain its success because its success is unsustainable.
This is a company that has achieved market share as high as 93% for some devices, and continues to dominate in the uber-competitive consumer electronics space. This is a company that has gone from being so close to the grave that none other than rival Microsoft ponied up $500 million just to keep them alive in order to fend off anti-trust regulators (think Bill Gates regrets that decision?) to being the world’s second-most valuable company.
There clearly is something associated with Apple that Sony, Samsung, Dell, HP and legions of other companies haven’t been able to identify, let alone bottle. But even if Steve Jobs were to live to 90 (he’s 56 now, and in failing health), Apple will slide because gravity has this funny way of bringing everything back to Earth.
It doesn’t matter who takes over for Jobs or what he or she does (or doesn’t do). Apple will always be Apple, but it won’t always be the reigning king of consumer electronics.