Shares of Apple’s Asian rivals outperformed Thursday, after Steve Jobs announced that he was stepping down as Apple’s CEO.
Samsung Electronics rallied to a one-week high, helped in part by broader market gains, but also on hopes that Jobs’ departure will allow Samsung to catch up with Apple in the smartphone and tablet markets.
Sanford C. Bernstein’s Mark Newman says Samsung is already catching up in smartphone sales, and Apple’s loss will boost confidence at the South Korean firm.
“The game is Samsung’s to lose. And they are picking up marketshare because of the change in the dynamics of the smartphone industry, and it’s more toward Samsung’s favor.”
Investors sent the stock of Samsung and LG Electronics over 3% higher Thursday.
Taiwan smartphone maker, HTC, also rallied, rising as much as 5%. But Newman agrees that the departure of Steve Jobs won’t derail Apple in the near term.
“I think that there is potentially a lot of negative sentiment, there is a fear factor, because Steve Jobs has been a massive change to Apple recently, but however, I think in short term there is not a major change. Apple has quite a long product cycle and all the next-generation products have already been designed.”
Reactions from Apple fans have been bittersweet, with some sad to hear the news. But many are sure Apple will be able to stay ahead of its rivals.
“I think it may have some sort of effect. I just visited the Apple support desk here, and the staff is very friendly. I think the company stands alone by itself, so I’m not that concerned.”
Some though are concerned that Apple may have lost its visionary leader.
“Apple’s biggest draw is that it always seemed to be creating new products, and I fear that may slow down somewhat.”
In a statement posted online, Jobs said Chief Operating Officer, Tim Cook, will assume his CEO responsibilities but adds he would like to keep serving on Apple’s board of directors.
Bottom line: Apple’s Asian rivals gain on news of Steve Jobs’ departure, though analysts see no immediate change to Apple’s market leadership.