Apple's best move: Jobs as chairman with Cook as CEO

Summary:Apple chief Steve Jobs is involved with all of the company's key product plans, had a hand in the iPhone 3.0 launch and at least a few people expect him to return in June.

Apple chief Steve Jobs is involved with all of the company's key product plans, had a hand in the iPhone 3.0 launch and at least a few people expect him to return in June. 

Those interesting takeaways appeared in a Wall Street Journal story over the weekend marking the halfway mark of Jobs' medical leave, which started in January over a hormone imbalance.

The gist:

  • Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook runs Apple day to day;
  • Jobs is working on strategy and products from home;
  • Apple is working on new iPhone models and a tweener product between a phone and laptop;
  • Apple's board of directors is monitoring Jobs health and in touch with his physicians.

Much of the story after those nuggets was background material, but did get me to thinking about what Jobs medical leave has accomplished. First off, the leave hopefully is enabling Jobs to get healthier. But from a corporate perspective the Jobs' leave has given everyone a glimpse into the future. A few thoughts:

  • Cook is fine running the day-to-day of Apple;
  • Apple still has its product mojo and can generate buzz with iPhone 3.0;
  • A roadmap is firmly in place on the product front;
  • Jobs doesn't have to run the day-to-day to be effective.

Add it up and it's logical that Jobs would come back as chairman, still be involved with product and strategy and give the CEO gig to Cook. In one swoop Apple could allay investor worries, give Jobs some privacy and create a clear transition plan.

Topics: Enterprise Software, Apple, CXO, IT Employment, Legal

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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