Steve Jobs has been disengaged with day-to-day operations for the past year. The big decisions were and will still be made by the former CEO. All the while, Tim Cook has proven to be an effective leader, and will continue to succeed at steering the ship (without a hole in the bottom!) for the next few years to come. Steve will still be there, likely at 80-90% of the capacity he has been, for the rest of his days.
Great leaders always complete tasks with the future in mind. Steve Jobs and the world’s largest startup have a product roadmap that will guide the company for the next 3-4 years, at least. Cook is a fierce study of the roadmap of Apple. Cook also has had numerous meetings with Jobs, where Jobs has shared his vision for the next 20 years. Not just of Apple, but of technology itself.
The stock may tank today, but the wallets will still leap out of pants for the products that Apple sells. The iPad 3 will be an evolution of the original juggernaut of mobile computing; the next MacBooks will continue to be the hottest selling PCs in the market; unnamed products and ideas will continue to shape the landscape of technology for years to come.
Today is the beginning of another era for the historic company. It began in the early 1980s, with the vision of making a computer that people could actually use and love. That vision was realized in 1984 with the Apple II. When rough times occurred in the early 1990s, it was Steve who came back to the company to play his role in the “Greatest Second Act in Business“. In that time, i-conic products were introduced: the iPod, iPhone and iPad. These products by themselves were leaps in technology, but the ecosystem built around them changed the face of the music and entertainment businesses. These three products bring us to today, the day Steve steps down. What’s next is up to Apple and Tim Cook. Whatever that is, you certainly cannot count Apple out.
We should not consider this decision as a eulogy to one of the world’s biggest companies. Apple will still continue to grow, with or without its former leader. Instead, this decision warrants a simple “thank you”. Thank you, Steve, for making that ding in the universe. Thank you for showing people that even in the darkest times, there is still hope. Finally, thank you for helping humanity continue to grow together through technology.