The news is buzzing about Steve Jobs resigning as CEO of Apple. The iconic leader is credited with turning around the company when he returned, making it one of the most valuable companies in the world. In the 90's everyone knew about the Walkman. Where is that today? The iPhone changed the landscape for mobile phones. The iPad has changed our definition of what a computer is. And their computers are more popular than ever.
Now that Steve Jobs has stepped down as CEO, what's next for Apple? Tim Case replaces Steve, but Tim's strengths lie in business process — important, for sure, but not what consumers actually see. Is there anyone within Apple who can reproduce Steve Job's vision for products that delight? Is this truly embedded in their corporate DNA?
Like many people, I was a dyed-in-the-wool PC user for many users. My first computer ran DOS, and subsequently various iterations of Microsoft Windows. My Apple purchase was an iPod, followed soon after by a first generation iPhone. Since then, I've owned an Mac PowerBook, Mac Mini, iPhone 3G, iPhone 4, iPad and iPad 2. And I am typing this now on an MacBook Pro. Some would look at that history and say I've completed the transformation to Apple fanboy, yet I still use Windows XP and Windows 7 for much of my work. My web server runs Linux, though I also support sites running on Microsoft IIS. I'm not a fanboy in the sense that I appreciate and use non-Apple products — without a smirk. But given a choice, I find myself preferring the Apple experience.
The products have a feel about them that set them clearly apart from others. The design aesthetic begins on the outside, but continues through the user interface and right down to the operating system.
With Steve Job's at the helm, the past ten years have been remarkable for Apple. Now that he's stepped aside, can they maintain this trajectory for the next ten?
Here's some thoughts from around the web:
The Next Web has incoming Apple CEO Tim Cook's letter to Apple employees, containing this message:
I want you to be confident that Apple is not going to change. I cherish and celebrate Apple’s unique principles and values. Steve built a company and culture that is unlike any other in the world and we are going to stay true to that—it is in our DNA. We are going to continue to make the best products in the world that delight our customers and make our employees incredibly proud of what they do.
Fast Company did an interesting word cloud comparison of Steve Job's commencement address to Stanford grads in June 2005, and Tim Cook's address to Auburn grads in May 2010. Looking at the word clouds tells you something about their background and philosophy.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about Jobs' speech is that he doesn't directly advise the graduates before him. Instead, he merely relates his life experiences (using the word “I” close to 90 times) and hopes that by showing he's achieved success despite some adversity, the Stanford students will be inspired to follow their dreams. The one bit of advice he does give is classic: “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” This is supremely fitting for a man who turned a company that famously flopped into the world's biggest.
Om Malik wrote the most human response at GigaOm in Steve Jobs and the Sound of Silence.
The first thought that ran through my head was about Steve’s health, and I thought to myself that this cannot be good. I don’t care about him being the CEO or head of Apple. What I really do care about is his health. He wouldn’t be making this decision unless things were pretty dire.
It is incredibly hard for me to write right now. To me, like many of you, it is an incredibly emotional moment. I cannot look at Twitter, and through the mist in my eyes, I am having a tough time focusing on the screen of this computer. I cannot hear the sounds of the street or the ring of my phone. The second hand on my watch moves slowly, ever so slowly. I want to wake up and find it was all a nightmare.
What are your thoughts on Steve's departure and the future of Apple?