Earlier today, Steve Jobs announced that he was resigning as Apple’s CEO:
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.
The letter is vintage Steve Jobs: simple, concise, and effective. It’s also a sad letter. Jobs is a true visionary, someone who has dramatically changed the computer, media, and entertainment worlds. Indeed, it’s difficult to imagine what computers, phones, etc., would look and function like today if it weren’t for his vision. This is the end of an era, and I don't think you have to be an Apple fanboy to think that.
In a move that should surprise no one, Tim Cook — Apple’s former Chief Operating Officer — is the new CEO. Also not surprisingly, John Gruber has posted some thoughts on the resignation:
How do you replace the irreplaceable man? Like we’re seeing. An open-ended medical leave, where he retains the CEO title. A continuation of strong new products, including a major improvement to the iPad, the device that is upending the entire computer industry. The ceding of day-to-day operations and leadership to Tim Cook, his right-hand man and chosen successor. Ever-higher profiles during public product announcements of top product-focused lieutenants like Phil Schiller, Scott Forstall, and Eddy Cue.
There will be plenty of “analysts” and “pundits” crying that this marks the beginning of the end for Apple. Pay no heed to them, they’re just trolling for pageviews. This will no doubt be a challenge for Apple, but sometimes I think that people still see the company as it was two decades ago, when it was beleaguered, confused, and directionless. Apple has come a long way since then, and while Jobs has certainly played a critical role in that success, Apple is much more than just one man, regardless of how visionary he may have been.
Steve Jobs photo by Matthew Yohe.