Steve Jobs - The Silicon Valley Pioneer

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Case Details:

Case Code : LDEN018
Case Length : 16 Pages
Period : 1976-2001
Pub Date : 2002
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : Apple Computers
Industry : Computers
Countries : USA

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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"You have probably had somebody punch you in the stomach and it knocks the wind out of you and you cannot breathe. The harder you try to breathe, the more you cannot breathe. And you know that the only thing you can do is just relax so you can start breathing again."

- Steve Jobs, after he was ousted from Apple Computer, in 1985.

"I am convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance."

- Steve Jobs, in 1995.

A Charismatic Leader

In September 1997, Steve Jobs (Steve) was appointed the 'interim CEO' of leading information technology (IT) company, Apple Computers (Apple), by the Apple board. Considering the fact that the company's board itself had ousted Steve in a coup in 1983, this development was watched with interest by media and industry observers. Steve's comeback was being seen as Apple's desperate attempt to survive one of its worst phases: losses for 1997 amounted to $ 1.6 billion (refer Exhibit I for financial statistics). The company reportedly needed a charismatic leader who could steer it back to profitability and revive its fortunes. Those who had followed Steve's career graph over the decades were not too surprised at these developments.

Leadership and Entrepreneurship Case Studies | Case Study in Management, Operations, Strategies, Leadership and Entrepreneurship, Case Studies

Known as the 'wonderkid' of the Silicon Valley, Steve was known for pulling off seemingly impossible feats. He was one of the few entrepreneurs who were reported to be 'as famous as a 1970s rock star'. All through the late-1970's, Apple was always in the news.

During that period, the Wall Street Journal focused on Steve/Apple and did not cover entrepreneurial ventures like Intel even though its cofounder, Bob Noyce, was the inventor of the silicon chip, which was at that time a revolutionary product. Steve gave the world its first personal computer (PC), 'Apple' and reinvented the PC years later by creating the 'Macintosh'. He made a successful business out of creating PCs that were not only user friendly but were also aesthetically pleasing, unlike the 'dull' models available those days. Steve's research on the Macintosh resulted in the creation of the windows interface and the mouse technology, which went on to become standards in the software industry.

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