Along with the usual economic fears and estimate reductions the news that Apple was stepping back from MacWorld and that Steve Jobs is not presenting this year has analysts and “investors” dropping AAPL hard again today.Â We try not to write about Apple since the name is clearly over-covered but like many, we can’t resist.
Apple has already been visibly absent from most technology conferences as both a sponsor and a participant.Â You will find Sun, Microsoft, IBM and HP all the time but just about never Apple.Â Google and Facebook are appearing more and more and sending speakers along with sponsorship fees as well.Â Â This has been true of Apple for some time.Â Despite their success they just don’t play that game and I for one am glad they don’t.Â (That’s a whole other post however…)
Under the “be careful what you wish for” angle this is a step away from the very thing most people complain about which is the huge value afforded to Steve Jobs and how risky it is to have it tied to one man.Â Â The facts are that most Apple customers are buying the products because of the design and features offered rather than some cult-like following of Steve Jobs.Â Of course most of the people that are into technology and blog are very into the whole cult-of-Apple thing so it gets over-covered.Â Getting Steve Jobs off the stage is a good idea in terms of beginning to share the limelight and build a broad, capable team of managers.
For example we saw Marissa Mayer is “just a VP” at Google and she impressed a tough crowd at Le Web last week with her obvious intelligence, drive, talent and ability.Â Â That’s probably more important for investors to know than how Larry, Sergey and Eric are dressing and saying the same general things again.
Should Apple clarify how they run the company and demonstrate that they have a deep bench and the ability to be successful if they lose some key members of their team?Â Yes.Â But the fact is that pulling back from MacWorld is consistent with everything they are doing and makes total sense to us.Â It also ties right into what critics of the “Jobs risk” have been wanting.Â So what’s all the fuss?
Amazingly Oppenheimer downgraded Apple shares today and is quoted as saying that “[until Apple elaborates on the Jobs health thing] they can no longer continue to recommend Apple as a long-term investment.”
As always we continue to be very happy about the consistently idiotic and noisy world of what now passes for “the Street.”Â It reminds us of the good decision to leave it to focus on more practical, real, profitable research work.
[Update: Also the whole world moves in real-time, less on conference schedules which is another reason fewer people are going.Â There’s a good writeup of this over at Macworld. Here is the link.]
[Disclosure: We do have a small long position in Apple at the time of this writing. ]