Steve Jobs resigns, steps down on health grounds; world shocked

By Richi Jennings (@richi ) - August 25, 2011.

[Updated: More analysis of Steve Jobs' "uniquely intimidating" management style]

Steve Jobs (Norbert von der Groeben / Reuters)
STEVE JOBS RESIGNS, yell all the headlines this morning. It's believed the Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) CEO stepped down due to pancreatic health problems. Is he a visionary or a copycat? An epic manager or a hard taskmaster? And what about his replacement, Tim Cook? In IT Blogwatch, bloggers can find no other story to blog.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention: The Dark Side of Disney...

   Gregg Keizer reports:

Shortly after Jobs submitted his resignation, the Apple board...took his advice and named Tim Cook, formerly the [COO], as the new CEO...Jobs was named chairman of the board.

...

Jobs, who co-founded Apple in 1976 with Steve Wozniak, was forced out...in 1985...by then-CEO John Scully and the Apple board. ... He returned to an Apple in early 1997 when the company acquired NeXT. ... Jobs was named permanent CEO in 2000.

...

Jobs' resignation may have been a surprise, but it wasn't totally unexpected. ... Jobs took a leave of several months...in 2009 [for] a liver transplant. In January 2011, he again stepped away for medical reasons. ... Jobs did not give an explicit reason for resigning, but intimated it was health related. ... Jobs has made few public appearances since January.   
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   Jonny Evans has a personal view:

[S]ometimes there is a moment, a happening, a change event...an idea, or a conduit to an idea...a man full of ideas. One such man is [Jobs]...a person who has changed things, shifted the envelope and augmented the reality we live in.

...

I'm sad about the departure of Jobs, but sometimes life...plays its hand, no matter how much we...wish for things to be different. ... Change is scary. ... Change isn't necessarily an ending, but a new beginning...this news is a disturbance in the Force...the adventure Jobs set in motion seems set to continue.

...

Thank you, sir,  for everything you did to advance humanist technology. ... Not at all bad for a little orphan boy.   
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   And Sharon Machlis muses on Steve Jobs' "gamechangers":

The iPod might not have been the first digital music player, but it certainly is the most important. ... [It] combined easy-to-use hardware with a compelling software ecosystem.

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[T]he iPhone...[has] certainly had an impact on the smartphone market. ... And, iPhone's robust app ecosystem is the market leader, one of the key attractions.

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Perhaps the iPad is the most surprising hit. ... [The] combination of slick hardware design, ease of use...a compelling software environment and available apps gave Apple an industry-changing hit.

...

[It] will be a long time...[before] the industry sees another CEO quite like him.   
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Nick Farrell also makes a Star Wars reference, but then switches to "real" religion:

[It's] as if millions of...fanboys suddenly cried out in terror.

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With the news that he has pushed forward...his autobiography there are some fears that Jobs might be getting very sick. ... [He] took long medical leave in three bursts since 2004 [for] pancreatic cancer.

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In a normal universe, Jobs would have quit. ... However the cult of personality...had forbidden that. ... The belief...cultivated by Jobs, was that the business could not do without him. ... [Jobs believers] might have difficulty accepting Tim Cook. ... It is easy to buy a pile of tat from a man...you think is Jesus. ... Tim has an uphill battle convincing anyone that Elijah's mantel has fallen to him.   
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But Jemima Kiss details Jobs' firey temper:

Dictator. Tyrant. Genius. ... Apple [is] a company defined by his personality and vision.

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"Can anyone tell me what MobileMe is meant to do?" Jobs barked...in 2008. "So why the **** doesn't it do that?"...beginning a 30-minute tirade.

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In 2000, a meeting between Jobs and an education firm ended with Jobs screeching: ... "You're ****! Your company's ****!"...his spittle flecking the table.

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His particular talents...and his instinct...come with an intimidating management style. ... Even his departure has been micromanaged. Is Apple's future really entwined with Jobs's personality?    
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And Dan Frommer also wonders about Tim Cook:

Can he be as selective about what Apple works on as Steve Jobs? ... Can he say no to good ideas to create great ones? Can he tell brilliant people that their best work isn’t good enough...until they come back with something truly magical?

...

If Cook can stick to that mission...Apple is in great shape for years to come.   
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Roger Kay is no stranger to the smiling simile:

Like an artist, he worked and reworked his realizations until they fulfilled his dreams. ... Like a great conductor, he assembled a vast orchestra of skilled players. ... When he tapped the podium, all noises ceased.

...

Like Solomon, he commanded his minions to undertake great projects. ... If they fell short, he sent them back again and again. ... Projects could be late, but they could never be lousy. ... If shaving another 2mm off a fat pig took another four months, so be it.

...

Tim Cook is a fine fellow and has been running the company de facto for some time now...all the fundamentals for Apple’s success are still in place...the same great team is remains on board. ... [But] Apple could become like the Jews in the wilderness without Moses: a lot of smart people arguing with each other, unable to find Jerusalem.   
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 Predictably, Preston Gralla also foresees failure:

He's clearly a grounded, competent manager and leader. ... [And] there are plenty of people at Apple who can help fill Jobs' design and engineering smarts...for the next three years at least.

...

After that is when Cook is likely to run into trouble. Jobs was a one-of-a-kind CEO. ... Merely having great design and marketing teams working for [Cook] won't be enough. Apple was built on Jobs' vision, and Cook...doesn't seem particularly gifted with vision.

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Apple is like a Hollywood studio, built by launching blockbuster after blockbuster. ...[I]t's not likely the company will continue its spectacular string of successes. ...Cook is no blockbuster-builder.   
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Meanwhile, Google's Vic Gundotra has an inspiring Jobsian tale to tell:

One Sunday morning, January 6th, 2008 I was attending religious services when my cell phone vibrated. ... After services...I checked my [voicemail]. The message left was from Steve Jobs. ... I was responsible for all mobile applications at Google, and...had regular dealings with Steve.

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While it was customary for Steve to call...it was unusual for him to call me on Sunday and ask me to call his home. ... "So Vic, we have an urgent issue...that I need addressed right away... I've been looking at the Google logo on the iPhone and I'm not happy. ... The second O...doesn't have the right yellow gradient. It's just wrong.

...

[W]hen I think about leadership...I think back to the call I received from Steve Jobs. ... CEOs should care about details. Even shades of yellow. ... To one of the greatest leaders I've ever met, my prayers and hopes are with you.   
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And Steve Wozniak breaks his silence, commenting thuswise:

I am undergoing a major emotional reaction. We are all very lucky for someone like Steve to lead Apple in the right directions. I had a totally committed day and didn't get to my computer until 1 AM so I haven't the time to respond much yet. I'm glad Steve did his book. It should have good clues about running companies.   
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And Finally...
The Dark Side of Disney
[not the first time James Earl Jones' kid got him killed]

  
 
Don't miss out on IT Blogwatch:

Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher

Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. He's the creator and main author of Computerworld's IT Blogwatch -- for which he has won American Society of Business Publication Editors and Jesse H. Neal awards on behalf of Computerworld. He also writes The Long View for IDG Enterprise. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: itbw@richij.com. You can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

  
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