Apple Chairman Art Levinson Speaks About Life Without Steve Jobs

NewImageApple 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.

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.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
97 months ago

As far as I'm concerned, Apple died the day Steve did.

R.I.P. to both.

So much drama.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
97 months ago

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.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
97 months ago
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.

Stay hungry, stay foolish. :apple:
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
97 months ago

Steve Jobs was the best ever, no one out there can match his charisma, and enthusiasm. :cool:

Which is why (thankfully) nobody even dares to try. Tim Cook is doing an excellent job, because he's not being Steve.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
97 months ago
Steve Jobs was the best ever, no one out there can match his charisma, and enthusiasm. :cool:
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
97 months ago

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.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple Announces New 27-Inch iMac With 10th-Gen Processors, Up to 128GB RAM, 1080p Webcam, True Tone, and More

Tuesday August 4, 2020 8:07 am PDT by
Apple today announced a new 27-inch iMac with faster 10th-generation Intel Core processor options, next-generation AMD graphics, up to 128GB of RAM, a higher-resolution 1080p front-facing FaceTime camera, a True Tone display with a nano-texture glass option, a T2 chip, higher fidelity speakers, studio-quality microphones, and more. A breakdown of the new 27-inch iMac's features and specs:10th...

Apple May Launch This Year's 'iPhone 12' Lineup in Two Stages, With 6.1-inch Models Debuting First

Monday August 3, 2020 3:14 am PDT by
Apple last week confirmed that its "‌iPhone‌ 12" launch will be delayed this year due to the ongoing global health crisis and restrictions on travel. Apple last year started selling iPhones in late September, but this year, Apple projects supply will be "available a few weeks later," suggesting a release sometime in October. We're expecting a total of four OLED iPhones in 5.4, 6.1, and...

Apple-Acquired Dark Sky Officially Shuts Down Android App

Saturday August 1, 2020 3:43 pm PDT by
Apple in March purchased weather app Dark Sky, and at that time, Dark Sky's developers said that the app's Android version would be discontinued on July 1, 2020. However, instead of shuttering the app on that date, the app's developers announced that the discontinuation would be delayed for another month. Now that it's August, Android users are no longer able to access the app, and...

Everything New in iOS 14 Beta 4: Apple TV Widget, Search Improvements, Exposure Notification API and More

Tuesday August 4, 2020 11:14 am PDT by
Apple today released the fourth developer betas of iOS and iPadOS 14 for testing purposes, tweaking and refining some of the features and design changes included in the update. Changes get smaller and less notable as the beta testing period goes on, but there are still some noteworthy new features in the fourth beta, which we've highlighted below. - Apple TV widget - There's a new Apple TV...

Apple Explains Why You Might See 'Not Charging' When a Mac is Plugged In

Monday August 3, 2020 1:42 pm PDT by
If you have a Mac and have seen a "Not Charging" warning when plugging it in to power, Apple last week released a support document that explains why. Macs running macOS 10.15.5 or later have a Battery Health Management feature to preserve the life of the battery, and occasionally, the Battery Health Management option will cause the Mac to pause its charging for calibration purposes.Depending ...

Unreleased iPod Touch with Mac Pro Glossy Black Finish Shared Online

Sunday August 2, 2020 11:32 am PDT by
Twitter user @DongleBookPro has today posted images of what seems to be a first-generation iPod Touch prototype with a 2013 Mac Pro-style glossy black finish. The Twitter user claims that the iPod Touch prototype pictured has "the same coating as the 2013 Mac Pro." Had the finish been selected for the final product, it also would have been similar to the metallic glossy black finish that...

Phil Schiller Moving on to Become 'Apple Fellow,' Greg Joswiak Taking Over as Marketing SVP

Tuesday August 4, 2020 10:07 am PDT by
Apple's Phil Schiller is moving on to become an "Apple Fellow," Apple announced today, while Greg Joswiak will take over as Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. Schiller will continue to lead the App Store and Apple Events, but will no longer be in charge of marketing. Apple CEO Tim Cook said he is "thrilled" that Joswiak will be leading the marketing team, and that his...

Microsoft to Stop Supporting Office 2016 for Mac in October

Monday August 3, 2020 12:21 pm PDT by
Microsoft's Office 2016 for Mac is set to reach its end of support date on October 13, 2020, and after that date, connecting to Office 365 services using the Office 2016 for Mac software will no longer be supported. Microsoft shared the detail in a support document from July highlighting which versions of Office will be supported for connecting to Office 365 services in the future.Connecting ...

8 Third-Party Home Screen Widgets That You Can Try Out Now on iOS 14

Wednesday August 5, 2020 12:56 pm PDT by
One of the biggest new features of iOS 14 is Home Screen widgets, which provide information from apps at a glance. The widgets can be pinned to the Home Screen in various spots and sizes, allowing for many different layouts. When the iOS 14 beta was first released in June, widgets were limited to Apple's own apps like Calendar and Weather, but several third-party developers have begun to test ...

Apple Shares Requirements for Default Third-Party Browser and Email Apps With Developers

Monday August 3, 2020 4:28 pm PDT by
Apple in iOS 14 plans to allow users to set a third-party app as the default email or browser app on an iPhone or iPad, replacing the current Apple-made default apps Safari and Mail. Apple hasn't provided many details on the new feature to users, but as noted by MacStories' Federico Vittici, Apple has shared documentation with developers who want their apps to have the option to be set as a...