Steve Jobs Is CNBC's Face Of Business for 2007
Under the leadership of Steve Jobs the Apple brand has been incredibly successful at changing with the times and setting new trends — part of the reason CNBC viewers chose Jobs as this year's Face of Business.
This year, the company dropped the word "computer" from its name and had the most anticipated product launch of the decade: the iPhone. The company also pulled off an update of two popular products: the iPod and the iMac.
The Mac had its best performance ever — selling 1.76 million computers last quarter.
“Mac's still very important for Apple,” said Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray. “It's about 60 percent of earnings for apple and ultimately a revised iMac should power that even higher.
The other money maker is the iPod, another Jobs innovation. Apple sold 21 million iPods during its fourth quarter, with several analysts projecting another 20 million this quarter.
That number could go even higher depending on how popular the new design is.
More products, better service and continued innovation — it’s been the key to Jobs' success.
Even Bill Gates commends Jobs for his great taste.
“I'd see Steve make the decision based on a sense of people and product, that is even hard for me to explain,” Gates said. “The way he does things is just different. It's magical. And in that case...wow."
Apple's big hit this year was the iPhone. But it hasn't been without controversy.
Back in February, Cisco and Apple resolved their dispute involving the iPhone trademark.
And since it's launch in late June, the iPhone has been one of the top-selling smart phones in the United States. Some say it could sell up to 14 million units during its first year on the market, though some remain lukewarm on its potential.
“Because it's all brand new, chances are it's not going to be particularly reliable so all of that wrapped up into a package makes what's a very pretty phone -- makes you probably want to wait for generation two,” said Rob Enderle of Enderle Group.
A big price cut just two months after the release was shocking to many who had waited hours — even days — to buy one for $200 or more.
Jobs apologized and offered a $100 rebate to all iPhone customers.
And that’s not the only controversy. Jobs, along with other Apple executives, were under an investigation for allegedly backdating stock options. According to Apple's own admission, Jobs had a hand in options -- but at a time when his company's stock was plunging and Apple was trying to compete for talented employees during the dot-com boom.
The news had no impact on the company stock price this year. In fact, Apple shares have more than doubled year-to-date, up nearly 140 percent.
So, for Apple and Jobs, it’s a job well done in ‘07. But as expectations grow, will jobs get the job done in '08?