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@IDGConnect Is Apple better or worse without Steve Jobs?

Four years ago today Steve Jobs, founder and cult leader of Apple died. The world descended into mourning. Flags at the company headquarters in Cupertino, California dropped to half-mast. Post-it-notes and bitten apples appeared outside Apple stores. And across the globe individuals performed candlelit vigils in front of iPads.

This was the kind of public grieving normally reserved for political heads of state or religious leaders - certainly not people who ran companies. And as last month’s documentary “Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine” observed, it was a bizarre phenomenon.

This was after all, someone these people had never met, who produced products that fundamentally isolated them. But still, these products really do inspire love. And love – like the personality of Steve Jobs in lifetime – is hardly rational.

Quickly, the biggest looming question became whether the company could survive without him. And broadly speaking, opinion is still largely divided into two camps:

The first says, Apple can never be as innovative or produce as high quality goods as it did with Jobs at the helm. The second says, now Jobs is gone the company can finally be open, accountable and diverse.

Even now it generates an intense quasi-religious debate. I mean look at the fuss and furore over the pencil at the latest Apple launch. The Jobs-ites preach in one direction. The Cook-ites sermonise in the other. And by the end both are spitting blood and feathers and generally spoiling for a fight…

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