If you were hiding under a rock last month then you might have missed the news that Steve Jobs resigned his role as CEO of Apple, although he retains his role as Chairman.
Apple has become an iconic company, their understanding of design as integral to the way we use technology has revolutionised design across the industry. It’s also a company that attracts fans known to be, well, zealous. Which means that it attracts some pretty zealous detractors as well.
So the announcement that he was stepping down has CEO did cause a slight wobble in Apple’s shareprice – it was down at the end of the trading day – and it led to an outpouring across the internet of… admiration. He was lauded across twitter, at one point he and Ghadaffi were the trending topics. There’s a site where you can tweet your thanks to Steve Jobs directly, and of course you can rely on someone to make a joke out of it.
Every tech blog/site is rushed publish their take on the news, with personal reminiscences, or praise for Steve’s leadership, or paraphrasing him to advise others, or advice for Apple as a company. There’s already a video of his life already.
Of course there are a few detractors, but overall it was a love fest. A lot of the adulation is warranted, although part of the outpouring is surely because Steve Jobs is not a well man, one of the articles linked to above even calls itself a eulogy. However ill he is it’s clear that the commentators are here to praise Jobs, not to bury him.
I am typing this on a Mac, there’s an iPod in my bag, and I recently bought and iPad, so clearly I’m a fan but I’m not evangelical about Apple. I do resent the limits Apple builds into its products and in other industries the locked relationship such as between hardware and software would be challenged as an anti-competitive level of vertical integration.
The company is good at what it does, the sales figures, the growing market share, the profits, and the share price and point to a strong business. But what I’ve found disquieting in all this love fest is the number of commentators saying that Apple will never be the same. Not to take anything away from Steve Jobs, but there’s a team of people running Apple with a combined experience with the company of more than 100 years (plus some handy background experience at companies such as Intel).
We like the idea of a great man and a great leader, but surely a company is stronger with a leadership team.
In fact one commentator did point out that Tim Cook has been an effective (acting) CEO during Steve Job’s extended leave of absence and goes on to suggested that one reason behind this decision is to retain Tim Cook, since he would be a desirable hire for any number of companies.
In any case; the company is fundamentally strong, a lot of the expertise that made the company great is still there. And although the sentimental outpourings continue, the share price was up again at close of business the day after the announcement.
Now if only I could get wordpress to work on my iPad.