Steve Jobs: Brilliant Tyrant

Apple's mercurial CEO creates a risky rollercoaster ride for shareholders

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 5, 2008 1:12 PM CST

(Newser) – Steve Jobs is an undisputed Silicon Valley superstar, but his genius has a price, Fortune reports. Jobs is a risk-taking, short-tempered tyrant, and those foibles make Apple a potential rollercoaster for investors. Jobs threatened the company—and his own freedom—in two separate backdating scandals, and, reports the magazine, risked his own life by long avoiding treatment for his pancreatic cancer.

For Apple, a risk to Jobs’ life is also a risk to the stock price. An analyst once predicted that if Jobs went to jail in the backdating scandal, shares would instantly drop 20%. Jobs is also tough to work for. “He made people feel terrible; he made people cry,” said one writer who covered Jobs. “But he was almost always right.”

Apple CEO Steve Jobs talks about the price and availability of the new MacBook Air during his keynote at the MacWorld Conference in San Francisco, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2008.  The super-slim new laptop is less than an inch thick and turns on the moment it's opened. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
Apple CEO Steve Jobs talks about the price and availability of the new MacBook Air during his keynote at the MacWorld Conference in San Francisco, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2008. The super-slim new laptop is...   (Associated Press)
Apple CEO Steve Jobs gestures during MacWorld conference in San Francisco, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2008.  Wall Street interpreted the Cupertino-based company's guidance for the current quarter, released after the market closed Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2008 as a sign that weakening consumer spending will hurt Apple in 2008 and that even...
Apple CEO Steve Jobs gestures during MacWorld conference in San Francisco, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2008. Wall Street interpreted the Cupertino-based company's guidance for the current quarter, released after...   (Associated Press)
Apple CEO Steve Jobs gestures during his keynote address at the MacWorld conference in San Francisco, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2008.  Apple Inc. is scheduled to report first-quarter financial results after the market closes Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2008. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, file)
Apple CEO Steve Jobs gestures during his keynote address at the MacWorld conference in San Francisco, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2008. Apple Inc. is scheduled to report first-quarter financial results after the...   (Associated Press)
Apple CEO Steve Jobs gestures during his keynote speech at the Apple MacWorld Conference in San Francisco, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2008. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
Apple CEO Steve Jobs gestures during his keynote speech at the Apple MacWorld Conference in San Francisco, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2008. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)   (Associated Press)
Apple CEO Steve Jobs holds up the MacBook Air after his keynote at the MacWorld Conference in San Francisco, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2008.  The super-slim new laptop is less than an inch thick and turns on the moment it's opened. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
Apple CEO Steve Jobs holds up the MacBook Air after his keynote at the MacWorld Conference in San Francisco, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2008. The super-slim new laptop is less than an inch thick and turns on...   (Associated Press)
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