It’s important to know what Jobs’ main function at Apple was before attempting to predict what the future of the company holds. Many news stories paint Jobs as an omnipresent micro-manager and, while that may have been the case when he took back the reins in 1997, Apple is a very different company now. It’s progressed from near-irrelevance to the trend-setting behemoth in the last 14 years.
In that time, Jobs’ role has changed. He afforded ever-increasing control to other executives, instilling them with the same mindset of elegance in simplicity that has defined the modern-day Apple. He has officially been on medical leave since January of this year, but has continued to oversee new deals and contracts, and unveil new products. His contribution is greater than the products he helped bring to market, and more over-reaching than Apple’s rise to marketplace giant. Steve Jobs leaves in his wake a company forged in his vision. That won’t change.
The New CEO
Perhaps this entire article could be replaced with, “Look, it’s going to be Tim Cook, and that’s that.”
“On Succeeding Steve Jobs” — John Gruber
It’s always been Tim Cook. He’s part of the Apple dream team. I’m surprised there was such frenzied speculation regarding Jobs’ successor, because it was so blatantly obvious.
Tim Cook is an executive that doesn’t really speak publicly, aside from at quarterly earnings calls and the rare keynote. That doesn’t mean his contributions aren’t felt. To give just one example, in 1996, Apple had 54 days of total retail inventory. Cook got that down to a low of 0.4 days. He is a machine.
The Future, Or Something Like It
AAPL is down a little over 5% in after-hours trading. Those who have the slightest whiff of respect for Jobs are concerned about his health. But at Apple, all will be well. I can only hope the same for Steve himself.
Stay hungry, stay foolish.
- Steve Jobs, Tim Cook, Jonny Ive, Bertrand Serlet and Ron Johnson. Each has played an enormous role in defining Apple today. Only two of those five retain the positions that made the company, but their impact is greater than the bodies that remain. [↑]