Late last night, Steve Jobs resigned as the CEO of Apple Inc. While this has come as a surprise to some, there have been suggestions for months that Jobs was beginning to take a back seat in the day-to-day running of the company he founded back in 1976. With Apple now in the best position it has ever been in, it seems like Jobs has chosen the perfect time to step back and focus on recovering from the illness from which he is suffering. With the iPhone 5 (and iPod) announcement just a few weeks away, any drop in share price that the company will suffer will undoubtedly be recouped in the hours after that keynote, and with Apple having recently passed Exxon as the most valuable company in history, there has never, and will never, be a better time for the CEO to resign from his position and take some time for himself.
Jobs’ health has been in question since the middle of 2004, when he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, for which he underwent a pancreaticoduodenectomy that seemingly resolved the issue. While the prognosis for most sufferers of this kind of cancer, it turned out that Jobs had a far less aggressive form of the disease.
After this procedure, Jobs returned to his position at Apple, but there were constant questions about his health, particularly after he delivered Keynotes at WWDC in 2006 and 2008. While there were assertions from many sources claiming that Jobs was medically fine, in 2009 he took a six-month medical leave of absence, which culminated in a liver transplant in April of that year. Naturally, rumours were rife about his health, but once again he returned to the head of Apple, running operations until the beginning of this year, when he announced that he would again take a medical leave of absence. He remained on this leave until the announcement last night, which will see Tim Cook take over as CEO and Jobs take on the position of Chair of the Board of Directors.
It’s hard to explain quite how big an impact Steve Jobs has had on the world of computing in the last 35 years. After starting Apple with Steve Wozniak in a garage in 1976, it has gone on to become not only the most valuable company in the world, but one of the most recognisable. You can say iPhone to anyone and they will undoubtedly of heard of the device, even if they’ve never used one. Jobs is the one who discovered the true talent Jony Ive and put it to use. Jobs is the one who pushed for the creation of the first iPod. Jobs is the one who took Apple from a failing company in 1996 to most valuable in the world in 2011. Jobs changed everything.
So what do the rest of the team think about this resignation? What will it mean in the long-term for Apple? How will it affect their future? Read on to find out exactly what we’re thinking…
I really don’t think it will disturb anything other than a temporary flux in Apple’s share price. There’s no doubt that Steve has been plotting his retirement for some time. He’s not the sort of character that will ever not be involved with elements of Apple – but he needs to begin getting that distance so he can eventually move away from the fold without investors and commenters spelling doom for his company. The Apple product road map probably stretches quite far into the future as well so there will be no let up in innovation – the timing of this announcement has been carefully planned too, I feel. We’re just weeks away from a new iPhone, new iPods and what will no doubt be another record breaking holiday season for Apple products sales. A slight dip in share price now will probably only strengthen its position going into the new year. Shrewd, careful and perfectly planned as always.
One thing we’ve been saying a lot around iCreate Towers recently is that we’re sure the Apple has planned ahead for many more products than are rumoured at the moment. Somewhere in Apple HQ the iPhone 6 is well into its development, and iPad 4 and 5 have undoubtedly been planned since the launch of the first iPad last year. While, in the coming days, many may shout about how Apple will fail now that Steve isn’t in charge, it’s worth noting that he will have had a huge part in the development of these products already. And of course we can’t forget that he’s not leaving Apple entirely; he’ll still have a hand in the Apple’s development as a company as he takes the position of Chair of the Board. I’m confident that we’re still going to be experiencing the influence of Steve in Apple’s products for years.
When you devote your life to building up a company as successful as Apple, it can’t be an easy decision to make when it comes to stepping down as CEO. That said, it’s undoubtedly the right decision, everyone needs a break after all, particularly in poor health. Naturally there’s a knee-jerk reaction from shareholders and the markets and with all the commentary going on you’d think the poor guy is dead already, but this will all die down. More importantly, with someone as prolific as Tim Cook at the helm, it wont be long before the hysteria subsides and Apple can be left to go on making great products and changing the face of technology for the better.
As a team, we would all like to wish Steve Jobs the very best in his new position, and thank him for helping to make Apple what it is today. Get well soon, Steve, and we look forward to hearing more from you as Chairman in the coming months and years.