Silicon Insider: The Cult of Apple

Still, it raises an interesting question. Given the current stock option backdating scandal at Apple, and Steve Jobs' possible participation in it, what happens if he, like other executives in similar predicaments at other companies, has to resign from Apple Inc.? The Apple cult's greatest vulnerability is that it extends not only to the company and its products, but also to the mercurial Mr. Jobs.

Can it survive the fall of its founder? As with charismatic cult leaders from Aimee Semple MacPherson to Jim and Tammy Faye Baker, will the true believers loudly pronounce their enduring faith, then quietly steal away? Or will they begin the long vigil, waiting for the eventual return of their messiah, who, after all, came back from the wilderness once before?

In the end, can the Cult of Apple survive the loss of the Cult of Steve? Stay tuned. We may just find out.

Tad's Tab: The latest from the teen tech trenches, by Malone's 15-year-old son, Tad Malone:

There's a cool Java applet on the Web called Pyro Sand Game. In the basic game you select from four elements -- sand, water, salt and oil -- and let them cascade down through various obstacles. More complex mods (and there are now scores) let you mess around with everything from concrete to gunpowder. For example, I took the wall tool and made a house. Then I filled it with C4 and watched the whole place explode. These days the game has enough different "elements" that the possibilities for mayhem and destruction are almost endless. Check it out.

This work is the opinion of the columnist and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News.

Michael S. Malone, once called the Boswell of Silicon Valley, is one of the nation's best-known technology writers. He has covered Silicon Valley and high-tech for more than 25 years, beginning with the San Jose Mercury News, as the nation's first daily high-tech reporter. His articles and editorials have appeared in such publications as The Wall Street Journal, the Economist and Fortune, and for two years he was a columnist for The New York Times. He was editor of Forbes ASAP, the world's largest-circulation business-tech magazine, at the height of the dot-com boom. Malone is best-known as the author or co-author of a dozen books, notably the best-selling "Virtual Corporation." Malone has also hosted three public television interview series, and most recently co-produced the celebrated PBS miniseries on social entrepreneurs, "The New Heroes." He has been the ABCNEWS.com "Silicon Insider" columnist since 2000.

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