Carefully Crafted on January 14

Apple in Crisis Mode

Note: This post first appeared on CDe‘s blog.

The Apple PR machine is in overdrive. Just a half-hour after the New York Stock Exchange’s closing bell, Apple announced that Steve Jobs would be taking a leave of absence. Three initial thoughts:

  • Will Apple be in full crisis mode tonight — hitting all the news outlets in an attempt to calm investors? Less than an hour after the announcement, Apple stock is down 8%.
  • Apple isn’t known for engaging social networks. How will they respond to the countless blogs and tweets speculating about the health of Apple and its fearless leader?
  • Can chief operating officer Tim Cook capture any of the Steve Jobs magic? Phil Schiller was unable to step in to Jobs’ big shoes at MacWorld. Will Cook have better luck? As Slate wrote after MacWorld:

It’s certainly true that Jobs’ style is central to the company’s brand and the fierce connection it forges with its customers. His product announcements prompt hundreds of millions of dollars worth of free press coverage and whip up greater and more loyal fans, generating ever-greater interest in the company.

Apple without Steve Jobs, it seems, will be just like Microsoft or Oracle, an ordinary tech firm with perfectly adequate products and no sizzle.

How will Apple manage this crisis? And, how will bloggers and citizen journalists impact the process? Seems like a crisis management case study in the making.

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