Second, with the US economy mired in an unrelenting recession and the US government unable to resolve its debt-ceiling woes, the suggestion was floated that Apple, with its huge cash reserves of $76 billion, was actually in a position to bail out the federal government.
And third, there came the announcement from Jobs that he was stepping down (or more accurately, stepping up) from his job as chief executive officer to be chairman of the board. Jobs's announcement, more than the other two events, triggered questions, speculation, and an outpouring of concern for both Jobs and Apple.
Just how serious is Jobs's ill health? What are the implications for Apple of his decision to remove himself from day-to-day operations? How strong are Tim Cook and the rest of the team? Can they keep coming up with the incredible string of magic devices and experiences that Jobs has produced since his return to the company in 1997?
Good questions, all of them.
But there may be another question, even more relevant: As Jobs leaves his CEO post, marking a milestone in the long, strange trip that has always been the Apple journey, what can the rest of American business learn? If we were to use this transition at Apple as a chance to reflect, are there management lessons, lessons of philosophy and practice, that US (and other) companies can benefit from?