When the whole of the subcontinent was under their blankets, a curtain fell on Cupertino, California. Steve Jobs stepped down as the Apple CEO. This is a tribute to the iCon.
Actually it didn’t come as a surprise to those following Apple and Jobs closely. He’s been suffering from major health issues. Nevertheless, it’s the news that made Twitter go into overcapacity mode more often than ever before, Apple stocks dropped to 5% and CNN wrote, “Internet mourns Steve Jobs' resignation”. Now, I find this incredible. The man in question, though sick, is still alive. He exercised a choice and the computing and mobile world has been deeply impacted. Well, this must be because “Jobs is the charismatic face of Apple. There’s no one in American business who can enthrall a crowd like Jobs,” as Leander Kahney in his book The Cult of Mac so stated.
So let’s take a look at why there is this unprecedented buzz on the Internet because of his resignation. But first, a little history about this tech genius.
From meager beginings... (image source)
Apple and Steve Jobs are the two sides of the same coin. Apple is a product of his vision, his leadership and his unerring ability to roll out amazing products that just work. As Lucky Bhat wrote on this blog 'bhatnaturally' - Companies strive to create brands that resonate with consumers and build loyalty for their brands. Steve Jobs created several such brands and took loyalty to a new level.
Jobs co-founded Apple Computer in his family garage in 1976. The world saw the release of the first ever Apple Computer, Apple I, that same year. The Apple II came out the next year.
In 1983, Steve Jobs lured John Sculley away from Pepsi-Cola to serve as Apple's CEO, asking, "Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life, or do you want to come with me and change the world?” That was the turning point in the company’s history. The following year, Apple introduced The Macintosh, the consumer computer with a mouse and graphical user interface.
Lee Clow, Chief Creative Officer of Chiat Day, the agency responsible for Apple’s famous one-time Super Bowl ‘1984’ commercial, once commented that the reason for the success of the product was that, they had a client (Steve Jobs) who believed that the product is world changing.
However, Scully in his corporate rivalry, forced Jobs out in 1985, and Apple entered a dark era of declining sales and marginal influence. Jobs went on to found NeXT Computer, and when Apple needed a next-generation operating system it bought NeXT Computer in 1996. Jobs came along as a part of the deal. He's led Apple to a remarkable comeback since his return as CEO and it’s often referred to as ‘The greatest second act in the history of business.’ The rest is history - iPod, iPhone, iPad. A box-office hit, one after another, after another.
... to the future of computing technology. (Image source)
So saving them from near-bankruptcy to becoming the world's most valuable company, Jobs has made Apple a cult brand. Art Levinson, Chairman of Genentech, on behalf of Apple's Board, in an official press release from Apple reacted to Jobs resignation as; ”Steve’s extraordinary vision and leadership saved Apple and guided it to its position as the world’s most innovative and valuable technology company. 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.”
So undoubtedly, there’s a huge buzz on the net about the man’s resignation. “The man who changed the world five times over,” wrote Josh Bernoff in his blog 'Empowered'. “Bill Gates changed the world twice -- once with DOS, and once with Windows. Sergey Brin and Larry Page changed it once, with Google, David Sarnoff once, with color television, Tim Berners-Lee and then Marc Andreessen once with the Web and the browser, Dan Bricklin and Bob Frankston once, with the spreadsheet. But no entrepreneur changes the whole world five times. Not since Edison, at last.”
But if you step back and try to see the big picture, you will notice that like any other Apple event this is a well- orchestrated resignation. Why? The resignation is not because of his health issue. Apple has made no mention of Jobs' health in its statement about the change. As Art Levinson stated in that press release, “In his new role as Chairman of the Board, Steve will continue to serve Apple with his unique insights, creativity and inspiration.” In fact, “The day of the announcement, Jobs was in Apple's Cupertino, California office for the entire work day, and he attended a regularly scheduled board meeting, according to a person close to Jobs, who was not authorized to speak about the executive's health,” wrote Adam Satariano of Bloomberg. So Jobs is still at the helm of Apple, as powerful as before.
Now comes the timing. Apple’s stocks were at an all time high, prior to the resignation. Forbes has voted Apple as the world’s most admired company for the fourth time in a row. And in October, Apple is all set to release the new iPhone. What could be a better platform to introduce Tim Cook as the new CEO.
If Apple had waited any longer, the iPhone 5 announcement would've taken the back seat, as the entire press would be buzzing with Jobs’ resignation. Tim Cook now has enough time to direct the limelight towards him, as he will be unveiling iPhone 5 in San Francisco in October. Apple shares will bounce back and the stakeholders will feel confident that the company is in good hands. So this is yet another masterstroke from the Houdini of technology.
However, since Apple and Jobs are inseparable, Steve will always be around, despite the physical absence. So here’s wishing the maestro much good health and greatness but this is not goodbye.