Any student of organizational theory must struggle with the question of how to assign weight to the influence of the leadership of a company. In the case of Apple, the question is:
Is Jobs is the embodiment of Apple or is Apple already Jobsian, imbued with his ethos?
John Gruber summed up (start at 8:00 min) the “Apple is Jobsian” argument by saying that Apple is Steve Jobs’ greatest creation and that he has been working on crafting the company as much as he has been crafting products. The result being that it’s well designed for sustainable longevity.
The arguments for “Jobs is Apple” are mostly rooted in anecdotes of a supreme leader that is indispensable to every decision and detail. There are also ample examples from history of companies who foundered after the departure of founders (Apple itself is notably cited.)
But beside armchair quarterbacking, what evidence is there that Apple is being engineered to operate independent of its founder?