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What Steve Jobs’ resignation means for Android

by Kristen Nicole

Apple’s biggest visionary Steve Jobs announced his resignation shortly after the bell closed yesterday, setting off a wave of reactions across the world. While Jobs’ departure wasn’t entirely surprising for investors, given his declining health, many do wonder what the consumer electronics market will look like without him. It’s fair to say that Apple is established enough as a brand to survive after Jobs’ resignation, but as an integral part of Apple culture, many are wondering what this means for competitors like Android.

JMP analysts have marked a “hold” rating on Apple’s stock, noting the new CEO, Tim Cook, as a capable leader. They also believe that Apple’s ongoing litigation against Android is a good move, and the early success in court leaves Apple in a strong position to maintain market leadership. While this is a nod to Apple’s innovative spirit, it only goes so far in curbing the unstoppable Android takeover. Android devices offer far more variety than the family of iPhones, which lack 4G and other features that are becoming rather important in today’s consumer market. JMP’s analysts also note that many material injunctions/royalties aren’t long term solutions for fending lower costs from the Android camp.

Samsung’s love triangle

Things have gotten complicated for Android manufacturers as well, especially in South Korea. The nation is home to two important companies in today’s mobile industry, Samsung and LG. It’s an interesting love triangle Samsung’s in, as it’s the largest components provider for Apple products, but is also competes with Apple as the most prominent Android device maker and faces the brunt of Apple’s patent infringement cases, being banned in parts of Europe. LG faces a similar dilemma, as Apple’s one of the biggest buyers of its flat-panel display unit, though it competes with Apple in cellphones and PCs. Investors seem to think Jobs’ departure is good for South Korea, as shares in Samsung closed up 2.4 percent on Thursday, while LG’s shares finished up 1.3 percent. Apple’s shares dropped 7 percent overnight.

While analysts can look at the numbers all day, making predictions based on history and sales figures, it’s the consumer that really has the final say. Those disappointed with Jobs’ resignation could find little magic left in Apple products, turning to competitors without the regularly hyped product revelations we’ve come to expect from Jobs’ presentations. We’ll just have to wait and see how the market settles.