With the departure of Gil Amelio as chairman and CEO of Apple Computer., there is much speculation about the future role of co-founder Steve Jobs.
Apple officials said yesterday that Jobs' responsibilities would be expanded. But there are many users around the world who don't believe Jobs would be the right man to replace Amelio at the top.
"Apple is Steve Jobs' baby," says Adrian Morris, director of Apple Centre, a Romford, England-based Macintosh dealer. "He's in love with the products, but [Apple] needs someone to control Jobs' enthusiasm."
His technical background could lead to more cutting-edge products being released, but he is not a businessman, Morris adsd. Apple needs a leader who can build a sound business model, he says.
Macintosh users were equally skeptical about Jobs' ability to help Apple, the chairmanship of which he resigned in 1985 after tangling with then-president and CEO John Sculley. That year, he formed Next Computer, but returned to Apple as an advisor when the company acquired the renamed Next Software last year.
Since Jobs did poorly with Apple the first time around, and has done poorly with Next since then, taking the helm of a sinking ship wouldn't be his strong suit, says Lynette Herbert, manager of data systems and training at Singapore-based Seamost Technical Services and president of the Macintosh users group there.
"He's not the right person to lead Apple," agrees Martin Gittins, a Web developer and Mac user at London-based Web design firm, Interface New Media. "I don't think he'd make a good boss, he's too technical."
One analyst says that it appears Amelio was forced out because of operating differences with Jobs. "The town wasn't big enough for the two of them" and Jobs has more loyalty from Apple employees, says Terry Ernest-Jones, an analyst at International Data Corp. Ltd. in the UK.
One user agreed with this assessment.
"Conflicts may have arisen out of the integration of the Next people in Apple's management at such a high level," said Barry Corlett, a Munich-based Macintosh software developer.
However, at least one user believed that having Jobs at the helm of Apple could be beneficial. Jobs would be "quite acceptable" for the CEO job, said Raymond Yue, R&D manager at Compuserve Consultants, a Hong Kong-based graphics software company unrelated to CompuServe Inc.