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Is top management at Apple actively discussing a CEO succession plan?

Posted: , by Victor H.


Is top management at Apple actively discussing a CEO succession plan?
Some members of Apple's board of directors might have been actively discussing a CEO succession plan in private meetings, going as far as to include executive recruiters and “at least one person leading a high-profile tech company,” according to information sources familiar with the matter shared with the Wall Street Journal. As you probably know, Apple's iconic chief executive Steve Jobs has been on a medical leave for quite a while, but is still actively participating in planning Apple's operations and decisions.

CEO succession alone is a question discussed within a company's top management at meetings, but it's definitely not something usually discussed privately between directors. The talks however were reportedly not squarely targeting a new CEO, but rather an attempt to look at Apple's options. Moreover, the directors weren't acting on behalf of the whole board. Apple has seven directors, including Jobs, but he quickly replied to the report by saying it's “hogwash.” 

Could there be some kind of miscommunication or a conflict between Jobs and some of the rest of the directors? Such private discussions, if they've indeed taken place, might be in the core of such misunderstanding, but while stating that there's some kind of a conflict would be a pure speculation, it's definitely interesting to know whether more than the routine CEO succession talks have been held.

At the same time, hours after the report was published, Apple announced another record quarter with profits soaring 125% with iPhone sales alone growing 142% on the year and amounting to 20.3 million. Apple has given lower-than-usual guidance for the next quarter with plenty of services and products expected to roll out including the yet unannounced next-gen iPhone and the upcoming cloud-based service iCloud.

source: Wall Street Journal (requires subscription)

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posted on 20 Jul 2011, 03:27 11

1. android_hitman (unregistered)

too bad steve is sick! i wish him all the best. without steve we wouldn't have the all day stupid arguments :))

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 03:57 2

2. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)

It's inevitable. He's sick and getting old. They need to start grooming someone to take over his position. And it won't be an easy find for sure. Though they say that this isn't true, and I truly understand why they would deny this, but I think it is true :)

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 05:51 4

5. ilia1986 (unregistered)

Hopefully the new CEO will understand the usefulness of such things as widgets.. and live wallpapers.. and open source OS.. but that's just wishful thinking.

I am a fan of Steve - and I think that he is a great businessman and team leader - and I wish him well - but he's old. His standards are outdated. In his era there were no touch screens, or advanced computer programs or anything like that - so for him to see a device which responds to a touch of a finger is completely blinding. He is so obsessed about this whole "iPhone allows you to use your fingers to use it" thing that he's forgotten to pay attention to the user interface. A 4x4 icon grid might have been good in 2007, 2008 and maybe 2009 - but enough is enough! There are far far better ways to use your device rather than press on an icon. Things like widgets, and gestures, and custom launchers etc.

Imagine if your TV still had only 20 channels it had - before the introduction of cable television. That would certainly be DULL. And that's exactly what the UI of iOS is. Simplistic - but DULL.

As I said - hopefully the new CEO - whoever he is - will understand that.

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 11:02 5

16. gallitoking (Posts: 4718; Member since: 17 May 2011)

with all your respect.. i hardly know people that uses the live wallpapers.. maybe widgets.. but live wallpaper..hardy anyone... is useless...is good to have options .. but i rather have good and usefful options... i rather have 20 good channels on my tv than 100 with 20 SHN or QVC and C-spans that are useless...

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 11:51 2

19. ilia1986 (unregistered)

And what does iOS have that Android does not? What? Nothing. Because Android is open source - and anything that can be done in a closed OS - can sure as hell be done in an open OS.

It's good to have options. It's bad not to. It's that simple. And we're not talking here about something that requires massive amounts of coding. We're talking simply about a feature that exists in another OS - regardless of whether it's used or not.

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 12:27

22. gallitoking (Posts: 4718; Member since: 17 May 2011)

I see your point,, honestly i am all about options.. but I rather have useful options.. not live wallpapers?... give me the ability to choose my apps store.. or OS.. or an unlook bootloader.. not live wall papers... but I do agree on the options part... not on the options itself.... hope is clear to you as the more i read it the more confused i become...lol take care

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 12:32 1

24. ilia1986 (unregistered)

I'd rather have useful options than useless options as well, gallitoking, but I'd rather have useless options than no options at all.

What might be useless to one, might be useful to another.

And yes I understand your confusion. The marketing war machine at Apple does a damn fine job of playing you nice music while presenting you their products on a white background, and saying to you that their features are "Magical and revolutionary" - while in fact - they are not. People keep falling for this old trick - because everyone wants to love certain products - and Apple makes it very easy for people to do so.

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 19:25 2

29. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)

Ios is fluid and stable android doesn't have that. IOS also has patents which android doesn't have because it copies IOS.

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 23:46

32. ilia1986 (unregistered)

Really Taco? REALLY?



Proves that this time as well - you're wrong.

The first is Android running on a high-end device - smoothly.

The second is iOS running on a low end device - horribly.

So stop making up BS about iOS being smooth, and Android being laggy.

And who cares who has patents? It's the usability people want from the OS. Usability = features. Clearly Android is the winner here.

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 20:33 1

30. meh (unregistered)

wow...just wow. the only thing you complain about is trivial bs like widgets that most people could care less about, and the amount of icons on the screen. oh no, the whole mobile industry is going to collapse because a phone doesnt have a widget on it. call CNN!

android fails because it constantly tries to ram as much useless s**t into its already unstable framework as it can without even considering actual functionality. widgets: unnecessary. live wallpapers: something for infants to giggle and coo at. reliability: nonexistant, but would actually be useful!.

hey ilia, heres a suggestion. find something legitimate to complain about for once, k?

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 23:49

33. ilia1986 (unregistered)

Right because you represent all the people in the world and you get to make what is triviak, what is childish and what is useful...

And all that useless s**t it "rams" to the OS? Guess what - it can be removed! That's because Android is Open Source.

Hey meh here's a suggestion why don't you stop being an arrogant pos and do your homework, before acting all godlike, eh?

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 04:25 3

3. wassup (Posts: 565; Member since: 23 Jun 2011)

the collapse starts now

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 04:30 1

4. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)

Haven't you been saying that in the past 3 years? Lol.

Also, a lot of fandroids hate Apple because of Steve. So his exit might even bring some fandroids in to Apple :)

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 06:42 1

7. wassup (Posts: 565; Member since: 23 Jun 2011)

no actually, i just started using phonearena.com this past year.
and i'm not a fandroid, just an iHater, i use WP7 and it is better than iOS.

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 07:28 2

9. balls man (unregistered)

i totally agree apple is dying, they can only live off of sheep for so long. the innovation is really starting to slide over there and windows on the other hand has totally impressed me, i can only imagine the possibilities with mango and nokia for 2012!!! yeah!!!!!!

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 08:06 3

10. ilia1986 (unregistered)

Damn right.

For those who don't know:

Mac OSX was ripped from Linux.

the iPhone was not the first phone to use a capacitive touchscreen - but rather the LG prada.

Apple no longer innovates. They just steal. And sooner or later everyone will realize this - and iSheep will suddenly become devoid of purpose in their puny insignificant lives.

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 12:22 1

21. Phoneguy007 (Posts: 218; Member since: 02 Jun 2011)

Wow you guys really live on your phones....i have a iphone and a droid i like them both so what does that make me?

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 12:28

23. ilia1986 (unregistered)

You don't understand. What we say here influences corporate strategy. Not just because I, or anyone else says something - but because there are a lot of arguments going on all over the web over this topic. And we're all part of this.

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 13:18 1

27. rican (Posts: 132; Member since: 02 Jul 2011)

im sorry but your not that important

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 21:35 1

31. Penny (Posts: 1647; Member since: 04 Feb 2011)

Actually, ilia1986 is right. I work for a tech corporation and have worked with multiple tech executives and senior developers - they are all over internet forums. While business decisions are ultimately decided by CEOs and CFOs going over facts and figures, they are largely advised by these upper level tech employees who pay attention to the industry.

posted on 21 Jul 2011, 00:02

34. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)

While its probably true that companies check out logs i doubt Apples business strategy is influenced by fandroid trolls. Look how disconnected from reality they are. If i had never used an iphone and just read phonearena i would think that the iphone is a trendy feature phone that's completely out of date.

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 12:51 1

26. AppleSux (banned) (Posts: 20; Member since: 12 Mar 2011)

u are a mixture... lolzz

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 06:16

6. jroc74 (Posts: 5996; Member since: 30 Dec 2010)

Yea it only makes sense, especially with his health.

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 07:00

8. Medalaster1 (unregistered)

I hope Steve jobs to live longer and make apple more superior than it ever was ,
I love apple and with out Steve Thers no apple.

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 08:33 1

11. Beilski (unregistered)

People apple is not dying. They sold 9 million iPads in the last month alone way more then any other brand. Plus the iPhone is helping Verizon get bigger so they are in no way dying. There stock is the highest ever and people still want to say that they are dying? Sure the OS is old but people love Apple products because they all function the same way and actually work!

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 08:51

12. luis_lopez_351 (Posts: 951; Member since: 18 Nov 2010)

For some reason this situation reminds me of kim jong-il. Ahaha 2 b_sterds dying and everyone is going to benefit from it :)

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 09:40

14. messiah (Posts: 438; Member since: 19 Feb 2010)

or Castro...

most people benefited after hitler, too

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 09:38

13. messiah (Posts: 438; Member since: 19 Feb 2010)

“at least one person leading a high-profile tech company,” bet that "one person" ithe lead hand tech designer for htc.... that would be awesome!!!! lol

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 10:10

15. Heatfan316 (unregistered)

He was great CEO but the biggest jackass as a person funny how that is.

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 11:09 1

17. gallitoking (Posts: 4718; Member since: 17 May 2011)

you guys suck big time,.... is fun to hate Steve for the position he has at Apple but is still someone dad and someone son's.... I have tons of respect for him,... without inventing the "wheel" he made it popular... name CEO capable os doing that.... for as long as he has.....the only exception witll be Al Davis.... is holding down my Oakland raiders..lol

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 12:39

25. ilia1986 (unregistered)

I completely agree. Regardless of what you think of Apple - and of him as a CEO - he is a great man - and we all should wish him well.

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 11:38 1

18. AbsentbebniM (unregistered)


Widgets? Popularized by OS X, copied into Vista, then built into fledgling Android. And no, the stupid Paperclip was not a widget, more like the world's first introduction to pop-up ads.

OS X has nothing to do with Linux. It was developed from Apple's acquisition of Steve's other company NeXT's 'NeXT Step'/'Open Step' OS. That OS was built on Unix. And thus, OS X is built on Unix. And they didn't even hide that fact. Early releases showed Unix, BSD, and Darwin branding across them.

Ok, so LG had a capacitive touch screen first. So? What have they done to innovate since? I don't see people lining up to get LG smartphones... or any phones for that matter. Just because someone else got there first doesn't mean anything. Audio Highway's 'Listen Up' was the first mp3 player... are you going to bring that up next?

And Apple steals? Let's not forget that Windows is a direct result of the innovation first achieved by Apple. Yes, Apple acquired some of it from Xerox, but much like LG, they weren't doing much with it. Android is essentially a flavor of Linux. Most of what they're known for was popularized by Apple and Windows interfaces. Look at all the lawsuits going around. Its either blatant theft, or one company crying foul over a new innovation because deep in their archives of patents they have something that loosely sounds like it... though never thought twice about until the competitor had it.

Point is, it's a full circle here. There's always going to be overlap. There's always going to be different business models. Steve Jobs knows how to run a company. There's no denying that. In the years I've been active in computers I've learned that he doesn't leap into things head first, there's always increments and double and triple testing before a release. If there's a feature we're not seeing in an Apple product, there's a good reason for it. Its better to be hounded for not having something than to release it half-assed and deal with the consequences.

I'd say they have a good CEO in Phil Schiller. The guy's been around forever. Definitely not as dynamic as Steve, but we don't need a clone. Whoever it is, it'll be far better than Steve Ballmer

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 12:14 1

20. ilia1986 (unregistered)

Actually Apple does have a long history of starting up trends, omitting features from the past - and including features arguably from the future:

the CD-rom




etc etc.

Now thing is - you say "If there's a feature we're not seeing in an Apple product, there's a good reason for it".

Ok, let's talk widgets for a second here. Why isn't that included? It exists on the mac. It exists on Android. It doesn't require too hefty hardware, as even the G1 with 528Mhz processor and 192MB of ram can run some of them.

Answer: No reason. Maybe Steve doesn't like widgets. He's known to block things he doesn't like - like for example - pornography apps. While it's legitimate to block them anyway - he said that he did so only because he doesn't like porn. Not from a business point of view, but from a personal one.

And that's the whole thing, really. Steve likes or doesn't like something - it either gets in or gets out. When people buy Apple's product - they buy HIS product essentially. Problem is - a lot of people have a different point of view. And instead of diversifying - he continues to do things HIS way.

Yes, he knows how to run the company, and he has a great vision that guides him - but he's a totalitarian dictator - and if he were to decide one day that iPhones must only be sold in Cambodia for example - you can bet that everyone would be buying flight tickets there asap. And because people - iSheep - do exactly that - buy any Apple product at any price - he can do whatever he wants. He's the Mark Zuckenberg of the entire mobile industry.

posted on 21 Jul 2011, 00:08

35. stealthd (unregistered)

...the things you say are always, without fail, so utterly stupid.

posted on 21 Jul 2011, 09:44 1

36. roflcopter (unregistered)

yeah, I hate it when people post comments that make sense.

posted on 20 Jul 2011, 15:42

28. daswe (unregistered)

Nice article. Thanks for sharing. Project Management Software

posted on 21 Jul 2011, 10:44

37. ryq (unregistered)

blackberry,samsung and nokia cant wait for steve jobs to step down. :-)

posted on 21 Jul 2011, 12:33

38. nancyfuqindrew (Posts: 32; Member since: 07 Jan 2010)

It would be negligent not to discuss succession planning. Medical leave or not.

posted on 21 Jul 2011, 20:54

39. latest (unregistered)

ilia1986, omg, is that the year you were born?? lol your becoming 'OUTDATED' your a 1/4 century old already! you sure sound like you need a LIFE, looks like the only life you have is a cell phone! apparently Steve must be doing something right with RECORD QUARTER PROFITS, hows your money going!? bet its out of date! LOL

posted on 21 Jul 2011, 20:56

40. latest (unregistered)

ilia1986, omg, is that the year you were born?? lol your becoming 'OUTDATED' your a 1/4 century old already! you sure sound like you need a LIFE, looks like the only life you have is a cell phone! apparently Steve must be doing something right with RECORD QUARTER PROFITS, hows your money going!? bet its out of date! LOL

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