Apple CEO Steve Jobs has been instrumental in propelling the garage-born computer company into being the top-growing Nasdaq 100 company of 2005.

Such success may never have happened had Jobs not been at the helm, remarks, in a report that speculates what Apple would have been like without its mercurial leader.

Jobs came second in that publication's Agenda Setters poll this year, with one panelist remarking: "Apple last year had the greatest growth of all the Nasdaq 100 companies based on market capitalisation. And that comes from the top."

Despite Apple's minority position in terms of market share, Jobs has become a guru among technologists, the report explains.

Guru of computer cool

As Apple moves away from its core strength as a computer company, reinventing itself as a mighty, media-focused consumer electronics firm, Jobs remains instrumental to its past, present and future.

"Jobs will play a critical role in taking forward the company's media interests," the report observes.

The partnership with Intel raises the possibility of a living room, rights-managed, media server; while Apple also seems set to restart the IS wars against Microsoft next year, when Windows Vista ships.

The report also speculates that as part of that battle, Apple may even relaunch the clones programme, licensing it's OS to PC manufacturers.

At Apple, jobs depend on Jobs

"The time is ripe for Apple to claw back considerable market share - and who better to have at the helm than someone who suffered some of the deepest wounds and learned some of the most painful lessons last time around?"

The report concludes that Jobs remains essential to the company's success.