Apple is unlikely to be affected by the resignation of chief executive Steve Jobs in the short term, but doubts persist over the strategic future of the company, according to industry experts.
The stock market reacted to the surprise news on Wednesday with a flurry of sales which saw Apple's value drop seven per cent, while rivals including HTC and Samsung prospered.
However, Jobs will remain as chairman of the business he helped turn into the most valuable public company in the world and, with right hand man Tim Cook now at the helm, there is little reason to suspect any significant change, according to Ovum analyst Jan Dawson.
"Tim Cook, formerly chief operating officer and now chief executive, has been in day-to-day charge of Apple not only since January but during two previous periods when Jobs's health prompted extended absences," he said.
"On all three occasions, Jobs was nevertheless involved in major decisions and continued to set strategy for the company. His new role as chairman suggests this will continue to be the case even if he does not sit at a desk in Cupertino for eight hours every day."
But there are question marks over the longer term future of the company, with Jonathan Ive and Scott Forstall both potentially vying for a role as the firm's visionary lead, Dawson explained.
"As such, there may be conflict among these senior leaders or a lack of clear vision going forward, either of which would be damaging for Apple," he said.
"Cook's challenge will be to harness and channel the creative energies of the team beneath him such that a single vision and strategy emerges, something that will be difficult to do on a bottom-up basis in contrast to the previous top-down strategic leadership of Jobs."
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