With all the bad economic news flying around including massive Microsoft layoffs, Intel’s first performance concerns in a long time and IBM job cuts, Apple had its best quarter ever as reported in the WSJ.
Steve Jobs let the world know and issued a prepared statement on Apple’s earnings.
Even in these economically challenging times, we are incredibly pleased to report our best quarterly revenue and earnings in Apple history,” the CEO said.
That’s to the tune of over $10 billion dollars. A big number for sure. Increased sales of Macs and iPhones led the charge in the fourth quarter but Apple is already advising that Q1 of this year may not be so great. Interestingly enough it’s not the business of Apple that is getting the most attention these days. In fact, it seems as if the great performance in otherwise dark days is an afterthought when compared to the news swirling around the health of Steve Jobs and the SEC’s interest in the whole situation.
Jobs is on a leave of absence until June of this year to work out some more complex medical concerns than the initially reported hormone imbalance that kept him away from MacWorld for the first time ever. There has been widespread speculation as to his health. Mr. Jobs is a pancreatic cancer survivor which in and of itself is amazing. Unfortunately, if you have ever dealt with a situation either personally or with someone close to you regarding cancer (which I have) it’s hard to feel like you are ever out of the woods.
Many feel that Steve Jobs IS Apple which is fair and unfair all at once. He is just one man but he has branded the company with his own image for so long that many people act as if he sits in his office and develops these products himself. Apple is a company of incredible minds and it often goes unmentioned amid the celebrity treatment of Jobs.
The SEC is concerned that the disclosures of Jobs’ health condition will affect investors’ ability to ‘predict’ what will happen to the company. Apple’s response was as expected:
In a conference call, Apple executives also sought to play down Mr. Jobs’s leave. “Apple will do extremely well” regardless of who is leading the company, said Tim Cook, Apple’s chief operating officer, who has assumed Mr. Jobs’s day-to-day duties while the CEO is away. Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s chief financial officer, added that “Steve is the CEO of Apple and plans to remain involved in major strategic decisions.”
Personally, I wish we didn’t have to concentrate so hard on this poor guy’s health. I suspect that the increased scrutiny and the SEC digging into the situation (although no one knows how deeply yet) doesn’t help him recover any. I hope that for one moment today we can all take some time and pray for him (or whatever it is you do to wish him well).
What is your feeling about products and people and branding having the blurred lines like they do at Apple? Is it good to put too much on a person who could have health issues, a car wreck or something else that suddenly leaves a void that may or may not exist? If Steve Jobs were not able to return to Apple will the innovation stop? Hard questions for hard times and there are no right or wrong answers.