Steve Jobs resigns and the sky doesn't fall

Steve Jobs resigns and the sky doesn't fall

Summary: The long overdue and long expected succession plan for Apple was announced on Wed. It happened to come in the form of a resignation letter by Steve Jobs. With this news, some may cry that the "sky is falling," believing that Steve and only Steve holds the magic of Apple innovation. Not so much.

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The long overdue and long expected succession plan for Apple was announced on Wed. It happened to come in the form of a resignation letter by Steve Jobs. With this news, some may cry that the "sky is falling," believing that Steve and only Steve holds the magic of Apple innovation. Not so much.

Jobs wrote in his memo:

“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."

I know that everyone wishes the best to Jobs and for his complete healing.

Tim Cook, who has been the chief operating officer since 2005, will take the helm.

Of course, there have been concerns about Apple's top succession for years, whether from the state of Jobs' health (a lengthy battle with cancer) and potential legal troubles. At times, this FUD has sent the stock price spinning downwards. But that was before the continuing success of the iPhone and especially the iPad and its stabilizing effect on Apple's bottom line.

The FUD now appears to be based on the belief that Steve has some mystical knowledge of innovation and only he can lead Apple forwards.

Yes, Jobs is a great computing visionary and his accomplishments with Apple since his return to the company are now legend: killing Apple's licensing strategy, keeping developers on the platform during the dark days of the late 1990s and early 2000s, managing the transition to Mac OS X, moving the hardware platform to Intel, and building out a retail operation when everyone knew that mail-order was king. And its mobile strategy that leveraged its existing Mac OS X IDE.

There are many more accomplishments. And more to come. How can I say that now that he's leaving the CEO job?

Nothing in the hardware or software business happens quickly. Especially, when you have to manufacture millions of units. For some reason, there's a naive belief that technology companies work on Internet time, a time span counted in months. They can't. They design and plan things years in advance.

The plans for Apple's product lines stretch out into the future for years. Unlike its competitors, Apple is not in the catch-up position for its computers, smartphone, and tablet. Apple isn't reacting to innovations; it's leading them.

In fact, we've recently seen with the rush to tablet computing what happens when technology companies lose a product cycle and play catchup, reacting to a development outside their playbook: tired designs, uncompetitive feature sets and overpriced, underwhelming performance.

Back in the middle 1990s, I worked as the News Editor of MacWEEK, a controlled circulation trade publication that covered the Mac market. When I started that job, I was handed the company's version of a state secret: a photocopy of Apple's 3-year plan for all of its products, hardware and software and accessories, with code names and projected release dates. And all of these products happened as it was writ.

Jobs has created a culture of innovation at Apple, so it's not all about his direct leadership or sensibility. At the same time, his thumbprint is all over the secret documents in a vault in Cupertino.

Good luck to Steve Jobs, Tim Cook and Apple. And to all of us customers. The sky ain't falling anytime soon.

Topics: Legal, Apple, Software, Operating Systems, Mobility, Laptops, Hardware, Enterprise Software, Emerging Tech, CXO, Tablets

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19 comments
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  • I agree, the sky is just fine where it is

    Jobs left Apple years ago and has always had people far more brilliant than he to create the things that he has then taken credit for.

    This is just putting an official stamp on the transfer of power, something that happened years ago, as Jobs himself has admitted.

    I'm not in the least bit worried for Apple. They will continue to lead the technological world. They will continue to pull in 90%+ of all the profits in all the markets they compete in (except for the smartphone but that will happen within the next couple years).

    If anything, I'm even more hopeful for Apple now because they are no longer being weighed down by the anchor of a figurehead that couldn't do anything more than sit on a couch and utter the sitcom catchphrase: "one more thing". He turned into a joke in the later years and Apple's image will only go up with him gone.

    Apple's best years are ahead and they just got a little bit better.

    Keep up the great work Tim Cook, just like you've been doing for the last few years.
    toddybottom
    • RE: Steve Jobs resigns and the sky doesn't fall

      @toddybottom (NonZ)

      How many times will you post this?
      msalzberg
    • RE: Steve Jobs resigns and the sky doesn't fall

      @toddybottom

      Well, no innovation here. It seems about all you can do is cut and paste what you've already written.
      house63
  • RE: Steve Jobs resigns and the sky doesn't fall

    While I agree that Apple is well positioned for future success, with or without Steve, I was surprised to see that the first reply to this story was basically a "don't let the door hit you in the a$$ on the way out."

    I don't believe Apple has ever been "weighed down" by Mr. Jobs.
    shadar1101
    • RE: Steve Jobs resigns and the sky doesn't fall

      @shadar1101

      Can't u figure it out, toddybottom = NonZealot

      He's the biggest anti apple troll !
      bojanwojan
      • RE: Steve Jobs resigns and the sky doesn't fall

        @bojanwojan

        Whoever toddybottom is, he sounds like an anti Steve Jobs troll... but a fan of Apple. That doesn't sound much like NZ to me. But hey, I've been wrong before.
        Badgered
    • RE: Steve Jobs resigns and the sky doesn't fall

      @shadar1101 Why do you write "a$$" when you really mean ASS. Are you afraid of censors?... last time I checked freedom of speech was in the constitution right up top.

      You may enjoy George Carlin's 7 dirtiest words... watch and weep.<br><br><a href="http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/8fa6475547/george-carlin-seven-words-from-classicstandupfan" target="_blank" rel="nofollow"><a href="http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/8fa6475547/george-carlin-seven-words-from-classicstandupfan" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/8fa6475547/george-carlin-seven-words-from-classicstandupfan</a></a>
      prof123
  • Stabilizing effect? iPod is crashing down, iPhone is nearing that tipping

    point with android blowing past it and Windows Phone set to pass it over the next couple years. Android has already taken 20% tablet share and W8 will be coming soon. Lucky for apple the tablet market has a lot of headroom but apple has definately moved from easy selling witout competition to being behind. Even with ios5/iphone5 they are still behind android and WP, the ipad3 is nothing to write home about, and the air is falling behind the new wave of ultrabooks. It's going to get tougher to convince people to buy iwares over the next 2-3 years...
    Johnny Vegas
    • RE: Steve Jobs resigns and the sky doesn't fall

      @Johnny Vegas Yeah Yeah.... go study for your mcse...
      Hasam1991
    • RE: Steve Jobs resigns and the sky doesn't fall

      @Johnny Vegas -
      Troll or idiot?
      Troll: Generates decently written stupid, fact free blather using a reasonable facsimile of English (e.g. correct spelling, punctuation, grammar, usage, syntax)
      Idiot: Types stupid, fact free blather written without regard to the conventions of his own language.

      You decide.
      Rip Ragged
  • RE: Steve Jobs resigns and the sky doesn't fall

    You really don't think the sky has fallen? I would have to disagree here!

    Whenever Apple was brought up in any conversation, it drew a very emotional response of either Love or Hate and often (even on these forums) people would take sides and a tech war would ensue. All of this stuff came about because that's the kind of personality Steve Jobs has, you either really Love the Guy or you Really Hate the Guy!

    For many of us here, we've deemed that we don't hate Apple, we Hate the politics that were created by Mr Jobs himself (probably not alone but he was the mouth piece). Now that fire is in danger of being extinguished and along with it much of the Passion behind Apple Products.

    Anyway, this is kind of a Sad day and as Somebody who has seen every phase of Apple in my life time, (Apple vs IBM, Apple vs MS, Apple vs Google) I can honestly say that the industry will not be the same without the man that many of us Love to Hate!

    Good Luck Mr. Jobs in your endeavors and may your life have many more days ahead!
    slickjim
  • RE: Steve Jobs resigns and the sky doesn't fall

    [i]August 24, 2011, 6:52pm PDT[/i]

    Oh I see it didn't fall the very night he resigned?

    Wow David. The RDF really is affecting you these days.

    Personally, I think Apple will be fine... but I wouldn't come out with this piece for a few weeks, maybe even months after he resigned.
    Badgered
    • RE: Steve Jobs resigns and the sky doesn't fall

      @Badgered

      This.

      It's impossible to gauge the effects of a CEO resigning the day after he resigned. Realistically it will be a year to 1.5 years before the sky may be judged to be falling or not.
      SlithyTove
  • Good luck Steve!

    I feel like I know you; I'll miss your passion...
    Gr8Music
  • The Macintosh made a huge difference to my life

    I just wish it had come along a lot sooner. Or maybe that I had been born a generation later? :-0
    Laraine Anne Barker
  • RE: Steve Jobs resigns and the sky doesn't fall

    It will be interesting, to see if Tim Cook. Does what he thinks is best for Apple. OR if he just does what Steve tells him what is best for Apple. In other words, will Tim be his own man. Or Steve's puppet.
    blackjack861@...
  • Steve has done some amazing leading...

    ...but I argue that short of including multiple-touch into laptops, desktops & new tablets, & perhaps a high-res screen here & there, all current Apple products are mature.. This is what happened to Palm, iPaq, Blackberry, & Nokia.

    Did Steve deliberately choose this timing? Are there new product categories on the horizon? There needs to be.
    mattmuir
  • Very Nice Article

    Well stated. Steve Jobs was a student of Japanese business practices back when that was fashionable, and you can see that he has held closely to some important tenets. Traditional American corporations plan the next quarter; Apple has a plan for the next quarter century.

    I expect Tim Cook will continue to follow and extend that planning. Apple will be just fine.

    FD: I've been long Apple since 1999.
    Rip Ragged
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