In a move that isn’t too surprising, given that he’s been on medical leave all year – only returning briefly at the WWDC in June to announce iCloud – Steve Jobs has quit as CEO of Apple.
It’s obvious that his health has been suffering since he had a liver transplant two years back, following treatment for pancreatic cancer in 2004.
In January when he went on medical leave, Apple refused to comment or give any sort of ETA on when he would be back. Obviously because they knew it was a distinct possibility that he wouldn’t be.
Apple formally announced his resignation late yesterday, along with his successor: chief operating officer Tim Cook, who has been at the helm when Steve has been away previously.
Art Levinson, Chairman of Genentech, spoke on behalf of Apple’s Board: “Steve’s extraordinary vision and leadership saved Apple and guided it to its position as the world’s most innovative and valuable technology company.”
He added: “The Board has complete confidence that Tim is the right person to be our next CEO. Tim’s 13 years of service to Apple have been marked by outstanding performance, and he has demonstrated remarkable talent and sound judgement in everything he does.”
In his letter of resignation, Jobs wrote: “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.”
Share prices in Apple have already dipped, as they did at the start of 2011 when he went on leave. That’s not so much a reflection of a lack of confidence in Cook as such, but rather the impact of the loss of Jobs’s personality, which was larger than life when it came to the big launches. And indeed pretty much synonymous with the success of Apple.
Cook isn’t likely to be able to match his stage presence, but we guess we shouldn’t judge too early.
Apple’s marketing game has always been one of its strongest facets, and there’s far more to that recipe than just Steve Jobs.
Cook is likely to have something of a baptism of fire given that the next iPhone launch is due next month.