Among the eulogies to Steve Jobs’ undoubted genius was a back-handed compliment from the markets on Thursday morning: smartphone manufacturers’ shares rose in Asia, apparently on doubts about whether the US company would be able to repeat its innovative success without its founder.
Jobs left his chief executive role in August, but his premature death puts the task of dispelling those doubts firmly in the hands of his successors. It could be a mistake to assume that, because they lack Jobs’ charisma, they won’t be capable of carrying forward his legacy.
On my way to visit the Occupy Wall Street protest this week, I walked along the heavily barricaded street, past the still-pockmarked masonry of the former J.P.Morgan building where Italian anarchists are thought to have detonated a bomb in 1920, killing 38 people. Then I turned right at Trinity Church and up to the camp in Zuccotti Park.
The death of Steve Jobs, announced tonight by Apple, was expected but still comes as a shock. There are very few business people who are truly irreplaceable but Mr Jobs was undoubtedly so.
Like many other people, I heard the news via his products – in my case through Twitter on an iPod Touch — and am writing this on a MacBook Air. Mr Jobs’ original vision of a world of personal computers came truer than even he imagined.