Wow. Just . . . Wow. The month of August in the year 2011 will go down in history as being one of the most intense news-related months in recent memory, and for good reason. We’ve already seen Google put in motion the acquisition of Motorola, and then we were hit by HP’s decision to drop support for webOS hardware. There’s more, but then today happened. Somewhat late in the afternoon, news broke that Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, officially stepped down and would be taking a position as Chairman. The day has finally come that we’re now putting former CEO of Apple next to Steve Jobs’ name, and that’s some of the biggest news we’ll ever hear. Even if you aren’t a fan of Apple, or even Steve Jobs himself, there’s no denying that he’s one of the most influential, if not most prodigal members of the tech community, and his decision to step down is monumental. Not to just Apple, but to everyone.
News spread like wildfire, as it should have. As anyone can guess, there were people claiming all sorts of insane things. Rumors and talk that Steve Jobs had already died were starting to float around, despite how ridiculous that is. No, Jobs isn’t dead, but for anyone who has read the resignation letter Jobs released to the company, it may not be too far off base to think that he may be closer than ever. The letter is candid, and for anyone out there who’s quick to tear up over an emotional departure from a loved one, take some caution in reading it. It’s more than obvious that this was one of the hardest decisions that Steve Jobs has ever had to make, even if it’s one that obviously had to be made. For those who care, the letter will be posted at the bottom of this piece.
It’s also been confirmed that Tim Cook, Apple’s Chief Operating Officer, will be taking over Apple from here on out. Tim Cook, who took over Apple’s reins in 2004 while Jobs took a leave of absence due to medical reasons, is no stranger to the way that Apple works, or how things are done. Of course, Cook’s actions within Apple are impossible to know to the finest detail, but it’s said that Cook has indeed helped in some decisions from Apple, and Jobs himself, in the past. It may help to soothe some folks out there who are worried about the transition to know that Cook has indeed been at the head of Apple once before, even if that period of time was seen always as a non-permanent gig.
This really is an emotional time, and people are freaking out. What’s next? What happens to Apple, and what will happen to the devices that Apple has coming down the pipe? In truth, probably nothing, at least not in the short-term. Apple’s device planning extends 5+ years, so we know that anything that Apple releases after Jobs’ resignation will still have his input. Furthermore, Jobs isn’t leaving the company completely. His role as Chairman will probably still see some oversight and “suggestions” form the former CEO.
“Although the news comes as a surprise and we will all miss Steve's presence in the industry I don't believe much will change? In every company, Pixar being the most notable, he came in and created a culture unique to itself. It is that culture of innovation and the passionate pursuit of leading edge products that he will leave at Apple.” Ben Bajarin, Director of Creative Strategies, Inc.
That’s exactly what we’re going to continue seeing from Apple, despite the stepping-down of Steve Jobs. The products aren’t going to stop rolling out, even after that previously mentioned 5-year design window. Apple isn’t going to just fizzle out and stop creating devices that are in high-demand. Bajarin adds, “The bottom line is that we will continue to see Apple set trends and break through new barriers even with Steve Jobs not as CEO.” Apple’s presence in the market isn’t going to go away anytime soon, even with Steve Jobs no longer in the role we have known him in for so long. Yes, the news is hard to take for some (if not most), and the reaction is intense. But Tim Cook is the right man to leave the company to, and the man’s past experience, especially in leading Apple, will speak for itself in the years to come. Cook is known as a workaholic, and that will shine through as the head of Apple, and the result will be more than obvious for the consumer market.
Truth be told, the departure of Steve Jobs as Apple CEO is more about the emotion, rather than the future of Apple. Why? Because Apple’s future is still certainly stable, and no one should worry about that (even Wall Street). It bears an emotional toll on those who are committed to the tech industry, and those who aren’t due to buying Apple products, because Steve Jobs is a familiar face and name. Because it’s the end of an era, and now that Jobs has stepped down, we’re entering a new, unknown era. An era without Jobs running Apple is something that people only whispered about, even if everyone knew it was going to happen someday. What’s more, it’s an emotional impact on everyone because we know that he’s stepping down to “health-related issues.” The honesty Jobs put in his resignation letter, admitting that he can no longer run Apple, is heart breaking.
Personally, I wish Steve Jobs the best, as I know that everyone else does, too. Running a company, especially one like Apple, is a huge task to ask of anyone, but Jobs has done so beautifully for many, many years and it’s hard to see him go. However, knowing that Tim Cook will be taking his place is a step in the right direction to calming the waters. While we wish Steve Jobs the best, we must also extend those wishes to Cook, who has just been given (again) some of the biggest shoes in the world to fill. There shouldn’t be any doubt that he can do it, but it will be interesting to see how the world accepts him after the initial shock dies down.
We’re stepping into a new era, ladies and gentlemen, and we’re doing so after the biggest month in the history of news to date. What will things look like from here on out? Only time will tell, but I can certainly bet one thing: it’s going to be interesting, and a lot of fun. The tech industry is just getting warmed up, and now that the playing field has begun to change so drastically, the future is certainly a unique one. We’ll all just have to stay tuned and see what the next chapter holds for us. Let’s try to enjoy the program, shall we?
Steve Jobs' resignation letter:
CUPERTINO, Calif.–August 24, 2011–To the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community:
I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know.
Unfortunately, that day has come.
I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.
As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.
I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.
I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.