Steve Jobs has just stepped down as CEO of Apple, handing the reins to Tim Cook and taking a role as Chairman of the Board.
His letter noted:
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.
Never has someone in a turtleneck and New Balance sneakers done so much forso many.
Jobs’s extraordinarily fertile imagination has been the source of more beauty, joy, and wonder than those of dozens of filmmakers, writers, and artists. To hold one of his creations in our hands was to feel wise, thoughtful, and capable of making restaurant reservations with the touch of a finger.
Sure, God made the orange. But Jobs gave us the Apple iPhone. And given the choice between Apples and oranges, I’d pick Apples any time. Hearing that he’s stepping down is like hearing that Shakespeare is tossing aside the pen.
We followed his every move, rapt. If Steve Jobs did it, it had to be good. Sure, there were flops. But he was the undisputed sultan of cool, seducing us away from our PCs into the waiting arms of his sleek, futuristic gadgets. Mock the turtlenecks if you like, but he knew how we wanted the future to look. It’s a gift few people have.
Sure, there were times when we were irritated. After all, he unleashed the pestilential army of iPhone guys on us. And what was with all the tiny i’s in front of words? (iPad? Really?) But no matter what, we couldn’t wait to see what he came up with next. And eventually we shrugged and added it to the lexicon.
This was a curse as well as a blessing, of course. Markets hinged on his every word. If Jobs laughed, markets soared. If he frowned, they quailed. If he looked as though he might have indigestion, people analyzed it in worried tones for hours. Few people have such power over anything.
Knowing his health concerns, the news sounds worrisome. I hope he’s all right. But in the mean time, I just want to thank him for the magic. Were it not for Jobs, most of the things we use to avoid actually talking to each other would not exist. Were it not for Jobs, Angry Birds would be things we shot at, not things we embraced as a culture. Were it not for Jobs, I would still be able to find where I was going without consulting a small screen in my pocket. Were it not for Jobs, we might never have had that vuvuzela app. Were it not for Jobs, many, many fewer people would use their smartphones in the restroom. These may not be the best examples, but you see what I mean.
I wish Tim Cook the best. But those comfortable-looking shoes will be difficult to fill.
(Also, folks, stop selling the stock. Seriously.)