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December 18, 2008

Hmmm... GM. What would Steve Jobs do?

When Steve Jobs took over Apple again in 1997 Michael Dell was quoted as saying that if he ran Apple he would shut it down and return the money to the shareholders.

In the time from 2003 to 2007 Apple stock increased tenfold.

They are America's largest music seller, they hold the high ground in digital music devices and, after coming late to the party, they dominate the cell phone market. So much so that the recent BlackBerry Storm has become a glaring example of what happens when a technology company hits the limits of their innovation curve.

Not a bad result... so what would Steve Jobs do if he had his way with the auto industry?

1. He would cut back on models. On arrival back in the chair at Apple Steve Jobs immediately cut out the products that were not commercially or strategically viable. products such as Apple Newton, Cyberdog, and OpenDoc.

They obviously don't have the case for research, development, marketing and sustaining so many brands. So they need to be quickly paired back to those that sell well.

2. He would create new markets. Forget the EV1 , or the Prius. Steve Jobs would create a car that was unique, new and exiting, and he would make sure that you had to buy the fuel for it from Apple!

3. He would recognize that the US auto industry is a minority player. This is not a temporary state of affairs gentlemen. This is permanent, the US auto industry is not the dominant player anymore. And they haven't been for some time.

Being the challenger gives you a lot of advantages... Steve would use them.

4. And lastly - he would design some incredibly aesthetic, beautiful and desirable cars. Cars that people will line up to buy!