On Wednesday, Steve Jobs resigned from his post as the CEO of the company he helped build twice. But here’s why I think little will change at Apple despite Jobs resigning from the day-to-day running of the company.
First, we tackle Jobs’ resignation. The former CEO said in a letter addressed to the Apple Board of Directors and the “Apple Community” that he simply cannot meet the expectations of him as CEO of the world’s most valuable tech company anymore. He said that he would, however, like to be named Chairman of the Board of Apple’s Board of Directors. He also recommended Apple appoint Tim Cook as his successor.
Here is Steve Jobs’ letter in its entirety:
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.
Apple announced that it has indeed made Tim Cook the new Apple CEO, and elected Steve Jobs as Chairman of the board.
In a statement, Art Levinson who is Chairman of Genentech and member of the Board of Directors of Apple, spoke for the whole board about Steve Job’s resignation.
[quote]Steve’s extraordinary vision and leadership saved Apple and guided it to its position as the world’s most innovative and valuable technology company, said Levinson[/quote]
“Steve has made countless contributions to Apple’s success, and he has attracted and inspired Apple’s immensely creative employees and world class executive team. In his new role as Chairman of the Board, Steve will continue to serve Apple with his unique insights, creativity and inspiration,” he added.
Furthermore, the director added that: “The Board has complete confidence that Tim is the right person to be our next CEO. Tim’s 13 years of service to Apple have been marked by outstanding performance, and he has demonstrated remarkable talent and sound judgment in everything he does.”
What This Means For Apple
So what does the resignation of the iConic CEO (yes, pun intended) mean for Apple? Does this mean that it will be on the decline now that Jobs will no longer be handling the day-to-day running of the industry giant? I do not think so. Here’s why.
For those who do not know, Jobs has left the CEO role at Apple many times over the past years because of his health.
In 2004, Cook is said to have served as CEO of Apple for two months as Steve Jobs underwent surgery for a form of pancreatic cancer. Although Apple only disclosed of the illness after the surgery, Apple was ran quite well by Cook.
In 2009, Cook again filled Job’s shoes as CEO as the Apple co-founder had a liver transplant. At first Jobs said his weight loss was due to a treatable hormonal imbalance, later recanting that statement saying he will be on medical leave. It was only again later that it was known that Jobs had a liver transplant.
In January this year, Jobs, in a rare emotional letter to his “team”, Jobs announced that he will be on an indefinite leave as Apple CEO. “At my request, the board of directors has granted me a medical leave of absence so I can focus on my health. I will continue as CEO and be involved in major strategic decisions for the company,” he wrote.
“I have asked Tim Cook to be responsible for all of Apple’s day to day operations. I have great confidence that Tim and the rest of the executive management team will do a terrific job executing the exciting plans we have in place for 2011,” he added.
Finally, the emotional part: “I love Apple so much and hope to be back as soon as I can. In the meantime, my family and I would deeply appreciate respect for our privacy.”
It’s sad to know now that Jobs’ “indefinite” leave is now “permanent”.
Nonetheless, these instances show that little will change now at Apple. Yes, the man – with all of his charisma and vision – will now be in a less taxing role with the company, but it does not mean Apple will cease to exist.
If anything, Apple has just made official what has been going on for months now, and for brief instances in 2004 and 2009, within the company. Steve Jobs will now be more of a figurehead at Apple, not really being involved in the day to day running of the tech industry powerhouse he helped create, but still involved in its operations.
We imagine that being Chairman of the Board, Steve will still be very much involved in major decisions at Apple. He will most likely still be consulted prior to moves the company will make. Just like in his letter in January, we expect he will continue to be “involved in major strategic decisions for the company.”
Sure, his departure leaves a lot of fans (and investors, at that) fearful because the company is again in unfamiliar waters. But it doesn’t mean it’s the end for the fruity-named company.
Remember in the 90s when Jobs was with NeXT and Apple was at the brink of collapse only to be rebuilt when Jobs reprised his role as leader of the Cupertino, California-based company? Microsoft even helped Apple in 1997 with a $150 million investment when the company was struggling. Oh the irony, right? Today, Apple has far eclipsed Microsoft in valuation and arguably, in innovation.
But that situation, when Jobs left Apple and the company nearly went bust, is far from what Apple has today. Apple has a ton of cash at hand ($76.156 billion, as of last count, to be exact) and a selection of immensely-popular products to lean on. If its recent track record would also serve as basis, Apple will continue on developing new and exciting products. Then, Apple was just still starting out in a sense and Jobs was completely not involved with the company until his return. Now, Jobs will still be involved.
Besides, the man deserves the break, if you ask us. He has helped shape and reshape the tech industry a number of times with the creation of Apple in 1976 (April 1, but the company is no joke) and the release of the Apple I, the release of the Apple II in 1977, the creation of Next Inc (which is the company whose early work gave birth to the Mac OS) and the purchase of Pixar from George Lucas for $10 million in 1986, his return to Apple in 1997, the launching of the ubiquitous iPod in 2001, the launch of iTunes in 2003, the launch of the iPhone in 2007, and the launch of the iPad and the creation of a then virtually-nonexistent tablet computer niche in 2010.
In my opinion, Tim Cook has big shoes to fill but it’s important to note that he should not be seen as a replacement for Steve Jobs. Love him or hate him, I think no one can ever really replace the iConic Steve Jobs. Tim Cook should be seen as a different man, a man all his own. Besides, if anyone should be tasked to lead the company after Steve Jobs, it’s Tim Cook. Apart from co-founder Steve “The Woz” Wozniak not really being an entrepreneur but a brilliant inventor, Cook has proven that he can run Apple. He is the man responsible for streamlining Apple’s supply chain, mainly one of the reasons the company is earning such a healthy profit margin. He has also stepped up to the plate three times, and Apple has grown even though he was the one leading it.
Sure, Steve Jobs has left Apple, but I think it’s no cause to say that Apple will fail because of this.