Steve Jobs: Call it a day.

Steve Jobs: Call it a day.

Summary: I heard of today's broadcast email by Steve Jobs via a BlackBerry news alert while I was on vacation in Orlando this week. Frankly, I was one of the many who was willing to accept Jobs' answer of a week or so back that he has "a hormone imbalance" under control, and the testimony from his favorite frozen yogurt store that was willing to vouch for his general healthiness.


steve_jobs-zd.jpgI heard of today's broadcast email by Steve Jobs via a BlackBerry news alert while I was on vacation in Orlando this week. Frankly, I was one of the many who was willing to accept Jobs' answer of a week or so back that he has "a hormone imbalance" under control, and the testimony from his favorite frozen yogurt store that was willing to vouch for his general healthiness.

Well apparently, he doesn't have things under control. And yogurt stores, while purveyors of healthy and tasty frozen lactobacillius-laden dairy treats, aren't oncologists, endocrinologists or nutritional experts. And neither is CNBC's Jim Goldman, either.

Click on the "Read the rest of this entry" link below for more.

I first said it back in June of last year -- Apple needs to fully address a transition and CEO succession strategy, and make it clear as day who is going to be in charge after Jobs is gone.

I really don't think the "Guys, I'm not feeling so well, I need to take a six month break" strategy is going to work for Apple. For starters, having Tim Cook play stand-in as an interim CEO while everyone continues to speculate on how Jobs is really doing is just going to continue to damage AAPL's market capitalization and send the company into a tailspin. There is only one solution to this problem, which is the one nobody seems to want to accept -- Steve Jobs needs to resign as Chairman and CEO of Apple, immediately.

Also Read: Pondering Apple in a Post-Jobs World

Look, if Steve Jobs really is so unhealthy that he has to go take a six month hiatus, then clearly there are more important things in his life that he should think about than running Apple. If Tim Cook is good enough to be Jobs' stand-in, then let's forego six months of painful speculation and just establish Cook as the new CEO, period. This way, Apple can get back into the business of running an actual business, instead of playing non-stop Steve Jobs mortality spin control machine.

Steve, you've been great for Apple for the past 30 years. The company would have been nothing without your leadership and vision.  Now please, go take a well-deserved retirement, and use your wealth for you and your family's own personal enjoyment. And certainly, if you really are deathly ill, then there's more important things you have to deal with and come to terms with than running Apple -- and the company that is your legacy will not benefit by having a CEO in absentia who almost certainly is not coming back.

There's no question that removing Jobs from Apple will be painful. The company will struggle to find its way again. Not having a dynamic and visionary leader such as Jobs may render the company rudderless until his true replacement can be found, if Cook is not the logical successor. But to prolong the inevitable will almost certainly open the company up to litigation as it becomes more and more apparent that the company was not completely forthcoming about the true state of  Jobs' health -- something that may very well happen regardless whether Jobs formally abdicates his position by his own will or from forces that are out of his control.

Should Steve Jobs Resign? Talk Back and Let Me Know.

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


Jason Perlow, Sr. Technology Editor at ZDNet, is a technologist with over two decades of experience integrating large heterogeneous multi-vendor computing environments in Fortune 500 companies. Jason is currently a Partner Technology Strategist with Microsoft Corp. His expressed views do not necessarily represent those of his employer.

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  • RE: Steve Jobs: call it a day

    I wish him well, but he doesn't need to be CEO any longer.

    There's still room for him in a less stressful 'visionary' role.
    • I wish him well, too. But him leaving will help Apple

      I actually think Apple will have the chance to create even better products if Steve Jobs' strange biases are removed from Apple's product decisions. I'm talking about stuff like declaring we don't need MMS, Flash, or Javascript on our iPhones. I'm talking about stuff like deciding not to support Blue-ray. He has placed so many handcuffs on Apple's product development teams, that we may see a flurry of amazing improvements to Apple products once Jobs finally steps down. It's long overdue. Nice job, but it's time to move on Steve.
      • RE: Replacing Jobs

        I would tend to agree with you that he should go. But replaced by who?

        I'd rather see a benign dictator than a squabbling commitee of bozos that water everything down in their attempts to appeal to the widest audience.

        A single vision. A single voice.

        Apple really doesn't deserve to return to the sort of leadership of Gil Amelio or his predecessors. Brrrr.
    • Probably right

      But isn't it interesting that nothing has been said about his
      role as a member of the Board of Directors of Disney--and
      their largest stockholder, since Disney bought Pixar for stock
      in 1986?
  • RE: Steve Jobs: Call it a day.

    Apple should consider in hiring Bill Gates. :)
  • Steve Jobs: Stay as CEO

    Steve may be sick, but Apple has been his baby since its creation. He can delegate more to other people if need be, but, as long as he can add his vision to the company, it can be considered constructive.

    There is no comparison to Microsoft and Bill Gates. Bill Gates never created anything. He had no vision. He got lucky on a deal with IBM once, and was smart enough to lever off that to create a dominant force through good marketing. But, none of this was based on imagination or innovation.
    • Not True

      While it is true that Bill Gates wasn't as much of a "creator" as Jobs (although, it could be argued that Jobs didn't create anything either; his engineers did. Without skilled engineers, his products wouldn't have been nearly as successful either), it required a certain amount of imagination and innovation to see the potential of the products he was dealing with. Many others of the time didn't see this potential, which is why Gates was able to capitalize on it.
      • Gates' innovation

        was in understanding how to take advantage of business
        inertia and how to ruthlessly eliminate competitors, and he
        was brilliant at it.
    • Jobs didn't 'do anything' either

      He's not even a tech guy, Woz did that at the beginning and others have done it all since. Not even at Pixar - ALL the creative work was done by others.

      Jobs has a magic touch when it comes to setting the broad goals with his vision of the way something ought to work and with his leadership. Gates was at least a programmer - a dyed in the wool tech guy. He too set the goals and drove the others on with his own leadership mojo.

      Lucky with IBM? - so it was lucky he was there at the beginning to even sit at the table with them, lucky he was a prodigious programming nerd who saw the potential of software and the PC, enough to quit Harvard as a boy and race west where the action was, lucky he saw the potential when Gary Kildall did not, and lucky that he insisted he retain the rights to Dos and Windows and had the brass at every turn to seize the prize away from IBM? You didn't beat the Big Blue of that time with luck. A few shleps against IBM? That WAS something.

      I suppose Jobs was lucky he got access to PARC and was able to lift the entire concept of the GUI and the modern personal computer, not to mention the actual geniuses needed to make it happen, from XEROX?
      • Spot on

        From there Gates was able to see what the future was for computing as a whole.

        Not to mention a 13 billion bailout for Apple when they signed the deal to use Office.

        Gates and Jobs are both great in their own right. They just took different paths to get there.
        • New record!

          This is the largest exaggeration I have seen yet--for the
          $150 million deal Microsoft did with Apple, to settle
          Apple's lawsuit against Microsoft for obviously copying the
          "look and feel" of the Mac GUI for their Windows OS, AKA
          theft of intellectual property.

          It was hardly a bailout, as it was equal to only 6 days of
          Apple revenue that year. Yup, 6 days, and they got Apple
          stock at market price for it, which they later sold for a
          substantial profit. Bailout, my a**.

          True, Microsoft also agreed to continue development of the
          Office suite for the Mac. Such generosity--when Microsoft
          margins on software are so much larger than Apple's
          margins on hardware!

          And while Gates did do a couple of great, preemptive deals
          early on, there is absolutely NO evidence that he "was able
          to see what the future was for computing as a whole." Nor
          can that be said for Jobs, or ANY of the influential people
          of the early days of personal computing. Get real!
    • "Baby" is the operative word

      You said it all in your first sentence; Apple IS Steve's baby, and if he is deathly ill, the last thing in the world he is going to do is detach himself entirely from it. It is as much of his lifeblood as anything else on the planet.

      Rather than get bogged down in the "Gates vs Jobs" discussion, maybe we should consider that they're both human beings, and one of them appears to need more than our critiques and criticisms at this time. I pray that Steve does find health; not for Apple's sake, but for Steve's.
  • It all depends . .

    on how realistic it is that he will come back. He is too important to the company. Suppose he starts picking up weight and returns to health? How would it be for Apple then if he has already quit and can't come back? How much chance there is that he will return is something we simply do not know - perhaps he is in a serious tailspin and is in denial about it or perhaps they can fix him - unless you can answer that question I don't see how you can tell him what to do.

    What he should do is tell all the facts about his condition - sometimes the simple truth is the best policy. It would be hard to fault Steve or Apple if they divulge everything and tell us they honestly don't know the future but are still hoping for the best. What a nice gesture that would be and a great way to set a new tone for the future of Apple. This would also quiet much of the speculation and criticism. Sadly, I suspect they would be more forthcoming if the situation wasn't dire. Perhaps the truth would send the stock into a very deep dive and they are hoping against hope this can be avoided.
    • He's left & come back before... <nt>

  • I think

    Steve should be given a large latitude to exercise his health leave of absense option and I hope he has a speedy recovery.

    Apple is what keeps him alive, that spark he needs to be interested in life and all its possibilities.

    Health is your first wealth.
    • I agree

      Very well put!
  • RE: Steve Jobs: Call it a day.

    I think it's too early to call the game. If it were me, I'd probably come clean with the press and let the stocks land where they may. I'd say that I am going to take a six month sabbatical to see if I can get the medical problem sorted and if, at the end of 6 months, it hasn't gotten better, I will step down and act in an advisory capacity. In the meantime, I'd be lining up my ducks for succession in the background to hedge my bets.

    Of course, *I* don't run a multi-million dollar company that's always in the limelight soooo that's just my $.01.
    • Come on

      I hope no one really believes that Apple Inc. doesn't have a
      solid executive succession plan fully in place! That is the
      responsibility of the Board of Directors, and except for one
      misfit (AlGore) Apple's Board is made up of exceptional
      business executives with exceptional business experience.
      Like the Board ofany large, successful company, they
      certainly have a succession plan, and it probably drives
      down to all or most VP spots as well.

      Some posters insist Apple divulge that plan--not smart at
      all. If the successor is named, he or she might have a little
      tendency to coast--and his or her competitors might leave
      the company for someplace they could be the top dog. It
      would be more disruptive than announcing a replacement
      when the vacancy actually exists. Finally, you KNOW how
      Apple almost never pre-announces anything!
  • Image is everything to Apple

    Sure, this will cause rampant speculation and the associated knee-jerk if not irrational responses that will affect the stock price. But that effect will be negligible in comparison to the response if Steve Jobs leaves his CEO position. Apple's success in the past 10 years has just as much to do with image as the awesome products they sell. Steve Jobs is at the core of that image. Apple must keep him at the helm, even if he is not driving. They need his "image" until they can establish the leadership that people believe will continue his vision and the profitable results of that vision.

    Steve Romero, IT Governance Evangelist
    Steve Romero
  • RE: Steve Jobs: Call it a day.

    the leave of any chairman before choosing another is really bad for a company and Apple's going to face a lot of ridiculous problems of which Steve is solving... well Steve is a wise guy, he knows the drill... but the question is... who or what will solve these ridiculous problems if Steve is not there?
    so now maybe you know that the most ridiculous thing in life might be the most important?
    Good day.
    Bang Bang !