The IT world without JobsSteve Jobs is more than a corporate chief executive and figurehead. He personifies the heart and soul of Apple and is a visionary leader who pumped life back into the technology company as well as the entire industry.
He transformed the consumer electronics world with the rollout of the iPod, iPhone and iPad. It’s hard to dispute the argument that the industry’s success in recent years owes much to his innovative user-friendly convergence of social communication, music, publishing and entertainment.
On Monday, Apple announced that Jobs is taking a medical leave. This has happened before, once in 2004 and again in 2009. But unlike previous times, Jobs has not set a return date, and analysts, investors and consumers fear that he might never come back. Apple’s stock unsurprisingly fell sharply on these fears, erasing billions of dollars in market capitalization literally overnight.
This is one of the rare instances in which the caliber, persona and health of the CEO can sway the value of a company’s stock. Few other CEOs in corporate history had the charisma and vision to inspire employees, the industry and consumers to such a high degree. Jobs created an entirely new IT ecosystem, creating devout Apple fans along the way.
The IT environment has become multilayered, exciting and limitless with Jobs leading the way. His leadership shaped not only Apple but also the lives of people in many corners of the world.
Jobs, of course, could battle his illnesses only to return with more innovative ideas and products, as he has done before. But his latest departure from the IT world comes at a time when the industry is at its peak and competition is fierce. The entire IT landscape could change depending on which company and executive take the reins of the industry once Jobs steps aside for good.
The local IT industry has stumbled along with Apple dominating the IT sector. Now is the ideal time for domestic technology companies to make some significant headway.
Apple enthusiasts are as devoted to Jobs as they are to Apple. His ability to inspire engineers to change the world, his idea of selling “dreams” rather than products, and his devotion to giving consumers new ways to interact with each other and the world will be his legacy. Korea needs similar corporate leaders who can touch the lives of consumers and create game-changing products, following in the footsteps of Jobs.