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Old Feb 20, 2013, 10:53 AM   #1
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Apple Chairman Art Levinson Speaks About Life Without Steve Jobs




Apple Chairman and longtime board member Art Levinson spoke Tuesday afternoon at Stanford's Graduate School of Business, including participating in a Q&A with Stanford students. Fortune published selected portions of the talk.
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On Tuesday, he said that Jobs's absence remains tough to ignore even as the company has continued introducing new products and making fresh announcements. "I'm still not to the point where I walk into that board room and don't miss Steve," said Levinson, who finally started but has so-far failed to finish reading Jobs's biography. "He was a one of a kind guy... The Steve Jobs that was in the public eye was not, for the most part, the Steve Jobs that I knew."
Levinson, who has been on the Apple board since 2000, said the board does not have much input on new products. However, insights can be taken into account particularly as each board member has expertise in different areas. "The board is not there to define product specs," he said. "It's there as a sounding board. It's there as a resource. And ultimately, the board is there to hire and fire the CEO."

Levinson has been on the board for thirteen years and has seen Apple through the launch of the iPod, the switch to Intel, the launch of the iPhone and then the iPad. In November 2011, he was named Chairman of the Board. He also serves as chairman of Genentech, where he was CEO from 1995 through 2009. As of the beginning of February, he and his wife owned 164,199 shares of Apple stock, worth some $74 million.

Article Link: Apple Chairman Art Levinson Speaks About Life Without Steve Jobs
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 10:56 AM   #2
Hakone
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I look at the price of AAPL stock and think the same thing.

Kidding... sort of.
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 11:00 AM   #3
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Steve Jobs was the best ever, no one out there can match his charisma, and enthusiasm.
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 11:01 AM   #4
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He sure was one of a kind!
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 11:02 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hakone View Post
I look at the price of AAPL stock and think the same thing.

Kidding... sort of.
Its kinda hard to take issue with Apple's results. Strategy Analytics just estimated that the two best selling smartphones are iPhones. On top of that, Apple's is way in the lead on tablets. And of course they just had the third most profitable quarter of any company ever and the most profitable 12-month span of any company ever.

The thing that I caught about this article was that it talks about missing Steve Jobs and then ultimately talking about "hiring and firing the CEO". Those two things together make it sound like Levinson is not happy with Cook. Still, one has to wonder which thing that Levinson would want Cook to do differently if that were the case.

There is not a single company besides Apple with a track record of overturning an industry every three years with a breakthrough product. So who would possibly be a better CEO? I'm likely reading too much into his statement though.
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 11:11 AM   #6
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Steve Jobs was the best ever, no one out there can match his charisma, and enthusiasm.
Which is why (thankfully) nobody even dares to try. Tim Cook is doing an excellent job, because he's not being Steve.
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 11:13 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by BC2009 View Post
Its kinda hard to take issue with Apple's results. Strategy Analytics just estimated that the two best selling smartphones are iPhones. On top of that, Apple's is way in the lead on tablets. And of course they just had the third most profitable quarter of any company ever and the most profitable 12-month span of any company ever.

The thing that I caught about this article was that it talks about missing Steve Jobs and then ultimately talking about "hiring and firing the CEO". Those two things together make it sound like Levinson is not happy with Cook. Still, one has to wonder which thing that Levinson would want Cook to do differently if that were the case.

There is not a single company besides Apple with a track record of overturning an industry every three years with a breakthrough product. So who would possibly be a better CEO? I'm likely reading too much into his statement though.
The expectations for Apple are high, that's why everyone is questing the company so much lately and the stock is tanking even though they are breaking sales numbers. They expect Apple to keep popping out something revolutionary each year. I don't think that'll happen, nor has it really happened. Every 3-5 years is realistic. People have to stop expecting year-after-year major changes.

I give Cook 2 more years as CEO. If he doesn't come up with anything 'great' during that time, he'll be out the door sadly. Whoever replaces him will just make it worse I'm sure.
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 11:16 AM   #8
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Al Gore has been on Apple's board for 10 years. He just brought 59,000 shares for $7.00 each! Membership has it's advantages!
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 11:18 AM   #9
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I miss him most on product launches. It sounds really silly but often times I'll look up product launches just to see the joy the finished product brought him and how he made me believe it was the "best thing Apple has done yet".

I also listen to his Stanford Commencement speech when I need a swift kick in the ass to get motivated.

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Old Feb 20, 2013, 11:20 AM   #10
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"He was a one of a kind guy... The Steve Jobs that was in the public eye was not, for the most part, the Steve Jobs that I knew."

Shocking - you mean the guy we saw at product launches and in the media was not the Steve Jobs at work/on a personal level. I am shocked I tellz ya. That never happens with public figures...
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 11:22 AM   #11
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It's Benjamin Linus from the Island.
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 11:26 AM   #12
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As far as I'm concerned, Apple died the day Steve did.

R.I.P. to both.
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 11:27 AM   #13
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The only way I miss the bloke is that all the product launches and keynotes are now incredibly boring! I think he was a very selfish man but damn he was a fine salesman. That reality distortion field was all him baby! Because for that hour you were more then happy to watch him launch something that already existed.
I can't remember the last launch video I watched now, Cook is boring and the other chap who's name I can't remember always sounds nervous.
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 11:28 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BC2009 View Post
Its kinda hard to take issue with Apple's results. Strategy Analytics just estimated that the two best selling smartphones are iPhones. On top of that, Apple's is way in the lead on tablets. And of course they just had the third most profitable quarter of any company ever and the most profitable 12-month span of any company ever.
Sure if you are looking at the company like its a sports team and you are a fan.; ultimately only Ws and Ls matter. But from an investor's perspective, it's not just wins, but growth that matters, and Apple's results make investors wonder if the previous growth has stalled. That IS a legit issue for investors to ponder and take issue with.
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 11:32 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BC2009 View Post

The thing that I caught about this article was that it talks about missing Steve Jobs and then ultimately talking about "hiring and firing the CEO". Those two things together make it sound like Levinson is not happy with Cook. Still, one has to wonder which thing that Levinson would want Cook to do differently if that were the case.
A tinfoil-hat-wearer can read into a statement of fact and come to many conclusions. I have a suspicion that that comment was added to increase page views and ad sales without any concern for the background for the comment. More than likely he was defining his job and not assessing anyone's abilities.

The fact is, the biggest job of a board is just that, the hiring and firing of a CEO. That task stays the same if the CEO is great and if the CEO is a failure. They still have the responsibility to hire and fire the CEO.
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 11:35 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by unplugme71 View Post
The expectations for Apple are high, that's why everyone is questing the company so much lately and the stock is tanking even though they are breaking sales numbers. They expect Apple to keep popping out something revolutionary each year. I don't think that'll happen, nor has it really happened. Every 3-5 years is realistic. People have to stop expecting year-after-year major changes.

I give Cook 2 more years as CEO. If he doesn't come up with anything 'great' during that time, he'll be out the door sadly. Whoever replaces him will just make it worse I'm sure.
No, the stock is tanking because gross margins are down and Apple changed the way they report on estimated future guidance. Stock is traded on the secondary market for only three reasons.

1. to gain dividend income
2. to take over a company
3. we buy shares today to sell them to someone else in the future at a profit.

No.3 is the most common. Essentially traders look at a company and establish a P/E ratio and better yet a PEG ratio. These essentially are two competing forms of the earnings multiple. In other words, what the stock price should be considering the future earnings of a company.

If a company says that the next quarter looks like we'll make less than this current quarter, then the future value of the company is less than what it is today. Therefore is not going up in value, it is gown down. And if it is going down in value it is violating the 3rd reason to own it, which is to sell it later for a higher price than I paid for it.

Apple could making a trillion dollars on phones, and it would not matter in the slightest if the trend is downward for the future. Then stock traders would know that the future value is less than the current value and therefore not attractive to buy and sell.

We don't buy stock to simply own a part of a company for the sake of owning it. We have to make money owning it. And until recently Apple didn't even offer a dividend. So that historically never played a roll in owning the stock. And since no one is going to attempt to take Apple over, that rules out #2.

So in the next earnings report, all of you can put what I am saying to the test. If Apple's earnings are record breaking again, but they report that the future will be less than what it was currently, the stock will drop.

Now Apple gets 85% of it's income from iOS in some way. The Mac accounts for less than 15% of their revenue. The more Android gains in market share the more investors worry about Apple. They want to see a whole new market created for something. I personally believe the PC will continue to drop and tablets will continue to rise. So Apple has a bright future ahead. BUT, who's to say the Surface doesn't gain ground and become the defacto new standard, thus shutting out Apple? Who's to say the Samsung Galaxy S IV doesn't over take the iPhone? Whether you believe it or not doesn't matter. The point is, there is credible competition out there and so Apple's future is not assured. There is credible risk.
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 11:37 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by unplugme71 View Post
I give Cook 2 more years as CEO. If he doesn't come up with anything 'great' during that time, he'll be out the door sadly. Whoever replaces him will just make it worse I'm sure.
It's not up to the CEO to come up with anything. His job is to put people together who do, and fire the ones who don't.

/edit
Which is pretty weird in itself.
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 11:40 AM   #18
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As far as I'm concerned, Apple died the day Steve did.

R.I.P. to both.
So much drama.
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 11:41 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by BC2009 View Post
Its kinda hard to take issue with Apple's results. Strategy Analytics just estimated that the two best selling smartphones are iPhones. On top of that, Apple's is way in the lead on tablets. And of course they just had the third most profitable quarter of any company ever and the most profitable 12-month span of any company ever.

The thing that I caught about this article was that it talks about missing Steve Jobs and then ultimately talking about "hiring and firing the CEO". Those two things together make it sound like Levinson is not happy with Cook. Still, one has to wonder which thing that Levinson would want Cook to do differently if that were the case.

There is not a single company besides Apple with a track record of overturning an industry every three years with a breakthrough product. So who would possibly be a better CEO? I'm likely reading too much into his statement though.
With all do respect, it was Steve Jobs that had this record, Apple just tagged along for the ride I am starting to realize. Post SJ we've gotten a bigger screen iphone (ooh how fancy), bad maps, boring iOS 6 upgrade, and etc.
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 11:50 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by WannaGoMac View Post
With all do respect, it was Steve Jobs that had this record, Apple just tagged along for the ride I am starting to realize. Post SJ we've gotten a bigger screen iphone (ooh how fancy), bad maps, boring iOS 6 upgrade, and etc.
With all do respect, Steve Jobs was heavily involved in everything you found boring and in maintaining Scott Forstall who failed to push iOS to its full potential. I'm not into the Steve Jobs worship that paints Jobs as the one-man show that made everything. The best thing that Steve built was Apple and that was primarily done by weeding the garden and letting smart people innovate and get things done. Steve Jobs was hardly the sole innovator or strategist at Apple, but he knew how to let others execute using their own talents.
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 11:50 AM   #21
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Apple has so many cash in hand, why it still need those shareholders? low price stock is all things good to apple, it can buy back those shares with a low cost.
I am not good at economics, this is just a idea in my mind.

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Originally Posted by Hakone View Post
I look at the price of AAPL stock and think the same thing.

Kidding... sort of.
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 11:52 AM   #22
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Chairman of the Board of Apple Inc.
Dream Job!


Can I have your Job? When are you going to retire?
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 11:54 AM   #23
BC2009
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Originally Posted by idkew View Post
A tinfoil-hat-wearer can read into a statement of fact and come to many conclusions. I have a suspicion that that comment was added to increase page views and ad sales without any concern for the background for the comment. More than likely he was defining his job and not assessing anyone's abilities.

The fact is, the biggest job of a board is just that, the hiring and firing of a CEO. That task stays the same if the CEO is great and if the CEO is a failure. They still have the responsibility to hire and fire the CEO.
I think you misused "tinfoil hat" there. There is no question of conspiracy theory here or fear of government mind control or brain washing.

You may be right about the statement being taken out of context for page-views. I was just observing that the two things in the same sentence are likely to get misconstrued because they do suggest certain things about Levinson's opinion on Cook.
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Old Feb 20, 2013, 12:07 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Chupa Chupa View Post
Sure if you are looking at the company like its a sports team and you are a fan.; ultimately only Ws and Ls matter. But from an investor's perspective, it's not just wins, but growth that matters, and Apple's results make investors wonder if the previous growth has stalled. That IS a legit issue for investors to ponder and take issue with.
I totally understand with the concern growth, but that is not a concern of velocity but acceleration. Apple's velocity is still increasing even if it is not increasing as quickly. Apple's fundamentals still justify a much higher stock price.

As a shareholder I look at the fact that Apple is projected to have 71% EPS growth in the next 3 to 5 years. So even if they missed that by a whole lot and on average experienced a 25% decline over the next decade from last year's earnings, the company would still earn $30B per year (on average) in profit. That is enough money to take the current cash-on-hand (over $130B) plus $300B in earnings to buy-back the company at the current market cap.

Doing that basic math would indicate that the market cap needs to increase and therefore the stock price needs to increase (assuming the number of shares is relatively constant).

For perspective, AMZN could double their profits of the last decade in the next decade (e.g.: 100% growth even though a 4% decrease is projected for the next 3 to 5 years) and AMZN would only earn $10B in that 10-year period. Considering that Apple could acquire all of Amazon for $120B they would actually make money on their cash if they invested it in mutual funds. An 8% return over a ten year period is pretty poor. Mind you that 8% is only if Amazon outlandishly doubled their profitability which is extremely unlikely.

This chart really puts it in perspective (click here for full-sized version).

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Old Feb 20, 2013, 12:09 PM   #25
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For the moment, I don't think the death of Steve Jobs has had an enormous impact on Apple. He no longer was the CEO and Tim Cook had been leading the company for a long time. Steve Jobs has had a hand in the future product line for years after 2011.

However his personality is irreplaceable and although he has appointed many competent people throughout the years, my fear is that Apple will lose parts of what has made it unique in the past. We have already lost the most charismatic 'stage performing' CEO I know of.

And one should remember that the Apple Computer, Inc that was a relatively small, rebellious computer company in the early 2000s has disappeared a long time ago, even before the death of Jobs. So in that way I do particularly fear for Apple's future as a sympathetic company.
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