Steve Jobs Resigns As Apple CEO - Tim To Become Successor

Awesome. Magical. Incredible. Steve Jobs has a way with words, but words fail to describe his performance as Apple’s chief executive.

So let’s look at the numbers. During Jobs’ second stint as CEO of the company he founded, Apple’s shares have risen 6,681.8%. Quarterly sales have grown to $28.6 billion from $1.73 billion.

And earnings? There were no earnings when Jobs took over the money-losing Mac maker in September 1997. Jump forward fourteen years. Apple posted net income of $7.8 billion for the quarter ending in June.

Not a bad way to go. Though while Apple’s board announced Jobs has resigned as CEO on Wednesday, he’s hardly gone. Jobs’ successor, Tim Cook, will have a big job to fill, but he won’t have to fill it all at once. Jobs will get a new role as the company’s chairman. The team Jobs assembled remains as well.

Their names and faces are well known to Apple followers. Scott Forstall, the vice president in charge of Apple’s mobile software; Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller; and Craig Federighi, who is in charge of Apple’s desktop software engineering, have all shared the spotlight with Jobs during the company’s public presentations.

While the way Apple works won’t change abruptly, it’s definitely a culture in transition. “Previously they’ve been working collaboratively with one person as the ultimate decision maker,” says Charles Golvin, principal analyst at Forrester Research. “Now they’re going to be be working more as a collaborative.”

“They were in pretty dismal straights, they didn’t have cash, they had wasted a lot of money on products like Newton, they had gone through a few different chief executives, they were largely in disarray,” Van Baker, a research vice president at tech tracker Gartner says.

Jobs went on to transform Apple in a drama that began with a desperate deal with arch-rival Microsoft in 1997 for a $150 million investment and ended with Apple assuming the mantle of the world’s most valuable technology company. Along the way Jobs introduced the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad, and fresh iterations of the Macintosh computer he first introduced in 1984. ”It’s just astounding,” Baker says.

Through it all, Jobs evolved, too, from mercurial outsider into a turtleneck clad icon who seemed as interested in molding Apple — and its product pipeline — as pitching its next product. ”We’re at least a couple of years away from seeing what Apple really looks like and what their products really look like without the influence of Steve Jobs,” said Forrester’s Golvin.

Jobs, of course, has been out on medical leave since January, promising only to “return as soon as I can.” (See “The Medical Mismeasure Of Steve Jobs“) The medical leave was Jobs’ third since 2004. While Jobs surprised the company’s fans by introducing the company’s new iPad, March 2, and a new suite of online services dubbed ‘iCloud,’ at Apple’s annual developer’s conference June 6, it wasn’t the return to active duty that had been hoped for.

“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,”Jobs wrote in a letter to Apple’s board of directors and the Apple community released Thursday. “Unfortunately, that day has come.”

It can’t come as a surprise, however. While nominally responsible for Apple’s worldwide sales and operations, Cook has run the company on a day-to-day basis during Jobs’ absences. Unnamed sources told The Wall Street JournalJobs will remain actively involved with the company.

Apple shares fell $19.37 , or 5.15%, to $356.89 in after-hours trading Wednesday.

Letter from Steve Jobs:

CUPERTINO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–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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