Transfer Pricing Associates

How the Death of Steve Jobs Will Impact the Apple Brand

post Tuesday November 15, 2011



On October 5, 2011, the world mourned the loss of a true innovator - one who not only changed the landscape of the tech world, but the landscape of the IP world as well.  Steve Jobs’ life was claimed just six weeks after his resignation as Apple’s CEO, an event that causes uncertainty around the future of the Apple brand.

When talking about Steve Jobs’ involvement in Apple’s success, words like “iconic” and “visionary” come to mind.  There are those who regard Jobs as the soul of Apple and say that the brand will never be the same without him.  Others comment that Jobs created an almost cult following for Apple products to the point that not even Jobs' death could derail the company's success.

No matter which side is right, one thing is for certain, Jobs played a huge role in developing Apple’s designs and IP to what they are today.  A closer look at the patents filed by Apple over the years reveal that Mr. Jobs has his name on an impressive 313 Apple patents.  Jobs was involved in most every aspect of almost every product released for sale.  Jobs’ deep involvement in the company’s IP development, as well as, his successful public image causes concern over whether Apple’s streak of innovation can continue over the long term.

After his resignation, Jobs nominated Tim Cook, Apple’s then COO, as his predecessor.  When Tim Cook stepped in as CEO, he was described as being an operations expert, but not an especially strong product design innovator.  And as with any new CEO, in Cook’s first several months, his leadership will be blamed for any financial hiccup in the company.  Although, unlike the first month of Cook’s position as CEO when Jobs served on the board of directors, the company can no longer look to Jobs’ advice and guidance.  The week of Jobs’ death, many questioned whether shareholders would respond to Jobs’ death by selling off their Apple stock causing Apple’s stock price to quickly plummet.  A closer look at Apple’s stock over the past month reveals these concerns as untrue.  Over the past month, Apple stock prices have been a bit volatile, but in the aggregate, the stock price has risen (on October 6 Apple stock closed at $377 per share, and on November 11, the stock price had reached $384 per share).   

The practically unaffected stock prices may have to do with the board of director’s publicly discussed roadmap for Apple product developments for the next few years, a roadmap that Jobs helped create before his death.  Also, Jobs’ death came right at the same time as the release of the new iPhone 4S, which may have caused stock prices to look positive for this month, but may not be sustainable. 

Apple’s was voted by Interbrand as having the 8th most valuable global brand of 2011, with an estimated brand value of $33 billion.  Last year, with the help of its highly valued brand name, Apple reported 2010 revenues of $65 billion.  For a company that has more money than the U.S. Government, it will be interesting to see how the Apple brand responds in the medium-term to the loss of its iconic leader, one who made such significant contributions to the company’s IP.

Leave your comment


Comments on 'How the Death of Steve Jobs Will Impact the Apple Brand' (0)