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
100 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
100 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
100 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
100 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
100 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
100 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

Samsung Mocks Apple for Ditching Power Adapters With iPhone 12 Lineup

Thursday October 15, 2020 11:51 am PDT by
Samsung on its social channels is mocking Apple for removing the power adapter from the iPhone 12 lineup and other iPhone models, pointing out the fact that the Samsung Galaxy smartphones continue to ship with a power adapter. "Included with your Galaxy," reads a Samsung Facebook post that features a picture of a power adapter. Apple notably is no longer providing power adapters or...

iPhone 12 Pro Pre-Orders Already Selling Out With Delivery Times Pushing Into November

Friday October 16, 2020 6:35 am PDT by
Apple today opened pre-orders for the 6.1-inch models of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro through its website and the Apple Store app, and estimated delivery times are already slipping into November for select configurations in the United States. Customers ordering a SIM-free/Pacific Blue/128GB version of the iPhone 12 Pro, for example, are already facing an estimated delivery window of...

HomePod Mini Cable is Non-Detachable, Ends With USB-C Connector for Use With Included 20W Power Adapter

Friday October 16, 2020 12:45 pm PDT by
While not detailed in the tech specs, MacRumors can confirm that Apple's new HomePod mini features a non-detachable power cable that ends with a USB-C connector for use with the 20W power adapter included in the box. With the switch to USB-C, the HomePod mini could potentially be powered by a wider range of devices and peripherals, ranging from MacBooks to USB-C battery packs with enough...

Apple's New MagSafe Charger and Cases Begin Arriving to Customers

Saturday October 17, 2020 10:10 am PDT by
Apple's new MagSafe charger and cases have begun arriving to some customers earlier than expected, and images of the accessories have started to surface on Twitter. The photos provide a first look at the products in real-world use. As of writing, some MagSafe cases are also available for pickup at select Apple Stores in countries like the United States, Canada, and Germany. Filip...

New Google App Feature Lets You Hum a Song to Search for It

Saturday October 17, 2020 4:05 am PDT by
Google has added a new feature to its Search app that allows you to hum a song that's stuck in your head, and then use the company's machine learning algorithm to try and identify it. In the Google app or using the Google Search widget, tap the mic icon and say "what's this song?" or click the "Search a song" button. Then start humming the tune for 10-15 seconds. When you're done, the...

Brazilian Certifications Suggest iPhone 12 Mini Features 2,227mAh Battery and iPhone 12 Has 2,815mAh Battery

Friday October 16, 2020 1:08 pm PDT by
Apple's iPhone mini has the shortest battery life out of all the iPhones in the iPhone 12 lineup due to its small size, but Apple has not provided public information about the battery's capacity. A regulatory filing from Brazil, however, suggests the iPhone 12 mini has a battery capacity of 2,227mAh. The same regulatory information says the iPhone 12 features a 2,815mAh battery, which is...

Apple Offering Free AirPods With iPhone 11 Purchase in India as Part of Diwali Celebration

Friday October 16, 2020 12:35 pm PDT by
Apple today launched a new Diwali promotion in India that will see the company providing customers with a set of AirPods with the purchase of any iPhone 11 model. The new iPhone 12 models are not part of the promotion. Apple is offering the standard AirPods With Charging Case free with purchase, but customers can choose to upgrade to the AirPods with Wireless Charging Case or the AirPods Pro....

Apple Event to Unveil First Apple Silicon Macs Could Happen on November 17

Friday October 16, 2020 2:24 am PDT by
Apple will hold another digital event on November 17 to announce its first Apple Silicon powered Macs, according to frequent leaker Jon Prosser. Apple has already said that this year it intends to introduce the first Mac powered by an Apple Silicon chip instead of an Intel processor. One thing it hasn't revealed is the date it will be announced. According to Prosser's source, that date is No...

Apple Online Store Down Ahead of iPhone 12 and 12 Pro Pre-Orders

Thursday October 15, 2020 11:15 pm PDT by
Apple's online store is down ahead of iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro pre-orders, which are set to begin at 5:00 a.m. Pacific Time in the United States. "You're... early," reads the Apple Store message when attempting to visit the U.S. website. "Pre-order begins at 5:00 a.m. PDT. Enjoy the extra sleep." Apple used to do new device pre-orders at 12:01 a.m. Pacific Time, but since last year, has...

When You Can Pre-Order the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro in Every Time Zone

Thursday October 15, 2020 10:55 am PDT by
Pre-orders for the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 12 Pro are set to kick off on Friday, October 16 at 5:00 a.m. Pacific Time, which is a new launch time that Apple adopted as of last year. Apple is planning to make the new devices available in multiple countries around the world simultaneously, so we've made a guide to let MacRumors readers know when pre-orders will in their country. Pre-orders...