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AOL Founder Steve Case: It is Important For Apple to "Focus on the Future"

October 06, 2011 | About:

AOL Founder and Revolution Chairman and CEO Steve Case spoke with FOX Business Network (FBN) about the loss of Steve Jobs and how Apple can continue to succeed in a post-Jobs era. Case states that “Apple is extremely well positioned” for the future, but cautions them to “focus on the future and not just ask the question ‘what would Steve do?’ because that could get them in a trap.” Case also credits Jobs as the “most iconic innovative entrepreneur of our generation” and that he has “enormous respect for what he built, not just the products but the legacy around Apple and the legacy around entrepreneurship in our nation.”

On if Apple can succeed without Jobs:

“I think Apple is extremely well positioned and Steve has done a great job in laying out a product roadmap and has a great team in place that will carry that vision forward. And so I think there’s enormous momentum and you see that in the product line and in tremendous enthusiasm among consumers around the world.”

On his message to a post-Jobs Apple:

“There’s one area to be cautious, which is Steve was in many ways Apple, and his vision will continue to propel and animate Apple. At the same time, once we get through the mourning phase, I think it’s important for the company to focus on the future and not just ask the question what ‘would Steve do?’ because that could get them in a trap. At Walt Disney, that was a problem. A decade after Walt Disney died, Disney struggled a little bit because they were always trying to figure out what Walt would want. And the markets were changing and Steve always changed with the markets, lead the markets and I am sure wants the company going forward to build on his legacy, build on his vision, but really not stop there keep moving forward.”

On Jobs constantly innovating Apple:

“What was great about Steve and Apple is that he never rested on his laurels. He always knew it could be better. He always knew there was a new product…so he always tried to charter new territory and think out of the box and create products that people didn’t yet know they wanted.”

On Steve Jobs creating the market for consumer electronics:

“Steve was obsessed with the customer and more importantly he was not focused on what the customer wanted today, he was focused on what the customer likely would want tomorrow yet didn’t know they needed yet. So it was more like Wayne Gretzky the great hockey player, people say he was great because he didn’t focus on where the puck was, he was focused on where the puck was going. Steve was always focused on where the puck was going but wasn’t waiting for consumers to say I think I need a phone with different apps, he created products that people then would decide they wanted to embrace so he really was ahead of the curve.”

On his thoughts hearing the news of Steve Jobs passing:

“Shocked and I think we’re all still absorbing it”

On the legacy of Steve Jobs as an entrepreneur:

“I view him as the most iconic innovative entrepreneur of our generation. The history of AOL actually tracks a lot with the history of Apple. One of our first big partners in the late 1980s as Apple. Actually after he left, before he came back. And when he did come back as CEO, he gave me a call that week and we talked about ways Apple and AOL could work together. And years later after AOL merged with Time Warner, we talked about digital music when he was thinking about the iPod. I have enormous respect for what he built, not just the products but the legacy around Apple and the legacy around entrepreneurship in our nation.”

On working with Apple while at AOL:

“The main thing was when he went back to Apple, most people in the industry had given Apple up for dead. Windows had won, Macintosh had lost. Apple was really treading water, it was not in a good place. So the main thing he was calling about was trying to make sure AOL, which was at the time the dominant internet brand, and he knew we were focusing most of our development resources on Window and he wanted to get our focus on Mac and we ended up working together on a new initiative around a product they launched around a year later, were working on called iChat. And it was the first time we actually licensed our instant messaging to another company was Apple because Steve was really pushing for that. So he was coming back really evangelizing Apple, saying I understand most people think a turnaround here is improbable if not impossible, but I really believe in Apple.”

On whether he would go back to AOL to revive the brand like Jobs did with Apple:

“I am focused on the businesses now I am building. I am always going to be proud of AOL, but I left nearly a decade ago.”

Rating: 2.4/5 (5 votes)


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