Steve Jobs Resigns: The End of the Apple Era?

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Steve Jobs, the man who is largely credited with resurrecting Apple in the 1990s, has officially resigned as CEO of Apple. This news was comes with little surprise: When the former Apple CEO was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2004, rumors immediately began to circulate that his resignation was only a matter of time.

Indeed, based on Jobs’ own words in the official press release, it appears that his decision to step down is the direct result of complications related to his pancreatic cancer and liver transplant combined with his visibly deteriorating health.

Jobs has nominated COO Tim Cook to replace him. Cook has plenty of experience in filling Jobs’ shoes. Steve Jobs took two temporary absences from Apple – an earlier one during which he received his liver transplant, and one this past January, when he voluntarily stepped down in an effort to focus on his health.

However, despite giving Cook the reigns during each of those previous absences, Mr. Jobs remained heavily involved in both product development and releases. Not only that, but an Apple press event just isn’t the same without Steve Jobs, and he took center stage at the announcements of the iPad 2 and during Apple’s WWDC – the developer event that showed off iOS 5 for the first time.

Apple and Jobs are both keeping details surrounding his health private, but it’s obviously necessary for investors to know about the company’s future. Last night’s official statement of resignation is short and to the point, with Jobs making his resignation clear and expressing his hopes for Apple’s future.

If investors express concern today it won’t be without reason. Most Apple fans and technology analysts credit Jobs with the salvation of Apple starting in 1996 when the company acquired NeXTSTEP, the company that Jobs started. That acquisition created the foundation for Apple’s Mac OS X and ushered in an era where Apple computers and accessories were practically considered luxury electronics rather than a strange alternative to Windows PCs.

Jobs has been front and center in the development process for every major product released since the mid 90s. Tim Cook, while clearly capable of handling the position of CEO, hasn’t publicly shown the same forward-thinking approach or ability to showcase Apple’s newest products.

As J.R. Nelson, editor of DesktopReview.com said in his recent news coverage about Apple, “Can Apple survive without Steve Jobs at the helm?  Absolutely. Will it be the same, however? Absolutely not.”


Apple’s earlier press release:

PRESS RELEASE: Letter from Steve Jobs

August 24, 2011-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.

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