If you want to know how it feels to be on top of the world, ask Steve Jobs. He has polished his Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) to a high gloss, and the company sells Macs and iPods as fast as it can make them. Jobs just finished up the annual Macworld event with a number of exciting product announcements, and the price of Apple shares has nearly doubled since mid-July.

The fly in Jobs' soup is that bothersome stock-option mess, which has some people wondering whether he should be pruned out of the Apple tree for past misdeeds. It's happened to other high-profile CEOs over the past year, including former UnitedHealth (NYSE:UNH) leader William McGuire, who was essentially forced to retire over his own granting shenanigans. But it won't happen to Jobs, though. No way, no how. Why? The company can't afford to lose him.

Reports from inside the Apple culture describe an unstructured mess with limited internal communication and a lack of accountability, held together by Jobs' sheer force of will. If and when Jobs leaves the helm, his heir apparent is COO Tim Cook -- a number-cruncher and operational expert who lacks Jobs' showmanship and design sensibilities. Cook might bring order to the organization, but the magic would be gone, and we'd be back to the Apple of the late 1980s, when a shortsighted board kicked Jobs out the door, to the company's great detriment.

It's the "rock star" school of management, and it's working great for Apple -- as long as Steve Jobs is running the show. Without his star power and obsessive attention to detail, the iPhone would be just another Motorola (NYSE:MOT) RAZR knockoff, the iPod one of many interchangeable music players, and the MacBook Pro just a commodity laptop among Dell (NASDAQ:DELL), Gateway (NYSE:GTW), and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) offerings galore. With him, these items are stars in their own right, selling out as soon as they hit store shelves.

That's why I don't own any Apple stock myself, and while I can't speak for our Foolish newsletter analysts, I'd imagine it's part of the reason why Apple hasn't made it onto the Stock Advisor or Rule Breakers scorecards. The company's products and growth fit the Rule Breaker mold to a T, but when your investment horizon is several years out, as stated in the newsletter philosophy, a one-person show just isn't an appropriate steward for your money.

So enjoy the stellar earnings reports the company habitually delivers these days. But when Steve leaves, whether it happens next week, next year, or three decades from now, Apple shareholders might wish they had entrusted their savings to a more balanced management team, like the CEO factory over at General Electric (NYSE:GE).

Further Foolishness:

Dell and UnitedHealth are an unusual duo; both stocks are members of our Motley Fool Stock Advisor and Motley Fool Inside Value newsletters. See what else these firms have in common with a free 30-day trial to either service, or both.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund holds no position in any of the companies discussed here. You can check out Anders' holdings if you like, and Foolish disclosure is always worth a read.