Steve Jobs resigns, be sad, be optimistic

By Jonny Evans

Friend or enemy; Apple [AAPL] lover or hater, we've reached a break in the road, Apple CEO Steve Jobs has had to resign his position and while he remains a director of the fruit-flavored computer company, it's time to consider life without Jobs.


Tripping with Jobs

Life with Jobs has been a trip, really. After all, we don't know if it is time itself or just the nature of how the world evolves the intelligences it grows on itself, but sometimes there is a moment, a happening, a change event, or even a series of such events. Sometimes it is an idea, or a conduit to an idea, or an idea of an idea or even a man full of ideas. One such man is Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who friends and enemies alike should surely acknowledge as a person who has changed things, shifted the envelope and augmented the reality we live in today. This is how it has been so far.

Explaining his decision, Jobs wrote in an letter published by the company today:

"Letter from Steve Jobs

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.


[ABOVE: Steve Jobs delivers the thought-provoking speech.]

Just join the dots

As expected, COO Tim Cook has been named as new CEO. Jobs has been elected Chairman of the Board and Cook will join the Board, effective immediately.

“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 Art Levinson, Chairman of Genentech, on behalf of Apple's Board. “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.”
“The Board has complete confidence that Tim is the right person to be our next CEO,” added Levinson. “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.”

Reaction to the news so far has been fierce, Apple stock prices have already fallen over 5 percent. That's despite Apple's clear attempt to position its spiritual leader as a man on the sidelines, a guru if you will.

As Cook himself recently said "Come on, replace Steve? No. He's irreplaceable," Cook said recently, according to a person who knows him well. "That's something people have to get over. I see Steve there with gray hair in his 70s, long after I'm retired." Also read: Tim Cook's Apple CEO diary: Day One

Open to the universe

Myself? I'm sad about the departure of Jobs, but sometimes life itself plays its hand, no matter how much we hope or wish for things to be different. Sometimes change is forced upon us, other times it is change we get to choose. Apple will roll with these changes in the same way any other sentient creature learns to handle change. Change is scary. Change is fear. Change isn't necessarily an ending, but a new beginning.

Look at the evidence:

Apple has cleverly held back on some of its biggest releases -- the iPhone 5 update, for example, while it put in place contingency and internal infrastructure planning designed to maintain the spiritual leadership of Jobs for many years after he leaves his present role. Cook has already proved himself an able defender of Apple's current position and no doubt will prove himself more than equal to consolidate the company's position in future.

In truth, this news is a disturbance in the force. We'll see the effects in the months and years ahead and in my mind I'd hate to see a return in the technology industry to the leadership of the average. But I don't think Cook or the remaining Apple leadership are average, far from it.

Apple's story has turned a page and reached a new chapter, but the adventure Jobs set in motion seems set to continue, particularly as competitors still have no one to match him or any of his inner circle.

I'm sad but remain optimistic for the future. I think we all should be so. And to Steve Jobs? Thank you, sir, for everything you did to advance humanist technology. You executed world-change on a colossal scale and defined multiple generations, from desktop publishing to the tablet revolution. Not at all bad for a little orphan boy. Thank you. Thank you so much. I would like to have interviewed you.

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Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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