Everyone wants this to be an interesting story, but it’s not. There is no intrigue. If Jobs steps down in the foreseeable future his replacement will almost certainly be Tim Cook. Utter credibility on Wall Street, and much respect within Apple. He’s already run the company while Jobs has been on leave. The knock against him is that he’s an operations and finance guy, not a product design guy. Ideally Apple would find someone just like Steve Jobs, but there exists no such person. There will not be a next Steve Jobs. There will be a next CEO.
The obvious structure for a post-Jobs Apple has Cook as CEO, doing mostly what he’s already been doing as COO. What he already does at Apple is what most CEOs do at other companies. Final word on product design goes to the senior vice presidents: Scott Forstall (iOS), Jonathan Ive (hardware design), and Phil Schiller (marketing and, perhaps, Mac).1
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