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Thank You, Steve Jobs

Thank you, Steve Jobs, for so much. As CEO and chairman at {complink 379|Apple Inc.}, you showed us we had settled for less when we could have aspired to so much more. You gave us what we wanted, what we needed, and what we desired even when we didn't know what all these were. You rescued an icon, mothballed many more (Ericsson, Motorola, Nokia, and now HP), created new markets, and expanded old ones.

An era is coming to an end. On Wednesday, Jobs resigned as CEO of Apple. Even though he will retain the position of chairman, it is clear Jobs will no longer be as involved in the company's day-to-day management. Apple has said Timothy Cook, who has been serving as acting CEO since Jobs went on medical leave in January, would assume the job on a permanent basis.

Jobs did an extraordinary job reviving Apple and turning it into a powerhouse in the consumer electronics world. Since rejoining the company in 1997, Jobs has taken it to heights envied by rivals, treasured by stockholders, and dreaded by businesses in adjoining markets. The fear of having Apple as a competitor defines many segments of the consumer electronics industry today. Just ask companies in the handheld gaming market; {complink 7526|Semico Research Corp.} analyst Michelle Prunty points out their woes in a blog on EBN. (See: Are Smartphones Killing Handheld Gaming? Part 1.)

Under Jobs, Apple reorganized operations and rolled out appealing products that massively expanded its portfolio beyond the traditional computer base into consumer electronics. It wowed consumers with the iPod digital music player and the iPhone wireless handset, and it followed up last year with the iPad tablet PC. Apple is currently on top of the world, and nothing, it seems, could derail its ascent.

Until now. Jobs became synonymous with Apple, and that has long cast a shadow on the company. It also is now a heavy burden the newly appointed CEO will have to bear. Cook has done fine so far and has steadily built up confidence in the company during Jobs's absence. But nobody is quite like Steve Jobs.

The announcement of his resignation as CEO brought a sharp drop in Apple's valuation in after-market trading Wednesday. Shares dropped about 5 percent and will likely experience a bumpy ride for a while. Whether the shares eventually settle into a normal trading pattern will depend both on Cook and on the company's ability to continue featuring the type of products that have defined Apple — and redefined the market.

Apple, in typical fashion, did not say why Jobs is stepping down. We can only speculate. For the moment, the “why” doesn't matter. We'll ask the relevant questions and demand pertinent answers later. For now, we wish Jobs the very best as he navigates whatever lies ahead. I also say thank you to Jobs for doing the most natural thing in his business: helping consumer electronics customers realize they deserved better and didn't have to settle for mediocre products.

22 comments on “Thank You, Steve Jobs

  1. Parser
    August 25, 2011

    Very well written thank you note. Apple may or may not say that nothing will change, but with my experience every major change in a company leadership is going to affect the product and direction within two years. Especially now when Google's competition is fears. 

  2. FLYINGSCOT
    August 25, 2011

    Bolaji.  Thank you for a well written article.  We all wish Jobs the best for the future and can only stand in awe of what he achieved as a business leader.  I hope that Apple is not a “one man” company in that its success and future are not purely dependent on Steve Jobs as CEO.  I imagine this is not the case and the market will realize this fairly quickly.  I suppose time can only tell.

  3. mario8a
    August 25, 2011

    Hi Bolaji

    what would be an explample if this: “you showed us we had settled for less when we could have aspired to so much more.”

    maybe releasing iphone, 1,2,3,4,5  when the could offer more?

     

    regards

  4. Anna Young
    August 25, 2011

    Bolaji you have written an excellent and worthy accolade on Steve Jobs' contribution to Apple and electronics high tech industry. You're right by saying  it is  the “end of an era”. It is Indeed the end of an era!

    I hope Timothy Cook will continue the good works and develop on Steve Jobs' achievements.

    All the best to Steve Jobs.

  5. elctrnx_lyf
    August 25, 2011

    I think Apple has really envied by all the companies and I wish it will be continued under the leadership of new CEO. They have always raised the bar to set new standards and I think even consumers may only be fantacising these products with out a leader like Jobs.A distinguished company like apple can always give touch time for the other competeitors to come up with great products.

  6. Ms. Daisy
    August 25, 2011

    Bolaji, great post and great tribute to a legend!

    I will like to add that the charismatic leadership and strength demonstrated by Steve Jobs is exemplary. He not only built an empire, he also built a workforce that can continue his legacy. Many leaders demonstrate the ability to work a system they either created or inherited, but unable or unwilling to build the next generation of leaders to carry on the work they started, let alone improve it. 

    I wish Steve Jobs good health and farewell from the harsh world of corporate management. Yes, thank you Steve for the corporate leadership you have shown.

  7. DataCrunch
    August 25, 2011

    Steve Jobs left the CEO position, providing Apple with a very nice cash cushion.  I am sure he will still be involved in a significant capacity as Chairman.   

  8. Tim Votapka
    August 25, 2011

    There's no debating the magnitude of Steve Jobs' resignation. He carved out a landmark in the electronics industry and I'm sure the inner halls of Apple will continue to prosper based on the culture and policies he shaped. Tim Cook has large shoes to fill, but he steps into a universe already clamoring for Apple products. How often does that happen?

  9. Nando B
    August 26, 2011

     

    Hello Bolaji ,

    I confess I found your article a bit strange, the first 5 lines look to come from a sort of religious text-book where we thank our god for providing us the essential (a smart-phone, a tablet?) and for having set back the evil forces that failed in interpreting our needs.

    But finally, where is Steve Jobs, the hero? Where is the inspired man starting with a dream in a garage, the aesthete willing to put beauty in electronics, the dreamer whose dream and faith were sustaining him in dark hours?

    Where is the one that first understood that the first goal of consumers is to be user-friendly? The one taking a mouse from Xerox and creating window interfaces, putting a wheel in mp3 players and replacing a performance-centered laptop with a network-centered tablet concept ? The one creating the very concept of “smart-phone ” ?

    Where is Mr . Jobs ' Dream? Personally, who cares about Apple's CEO, marketing strategies and bottom lines? Reading this accolade was leaving me under the impression that Jobs did all what he did to rescue Apple or make it greater. We forget that he showed that he could be innovative, revolutionary, capable to read customers' future needs  (and yes, be profitable) even when he was not with Apple. While the reverse was not true.

    I believe that the biggest revolution of Jobs' dream was showing that every man can easily use electronics to expand his faculties , enabling us to keep in touch with others, seeing his/her face, exchanging feeling and dreams in a very easy way, at each corner of the world. This will help in breaking frontiers, make mankind closer, share visions, help to take better decisions. Life is made easier for next generations. Eventually, Jobs' Vision shaped present and future human behavior much more than most of past an present presidents, kings, lobbyists or pop singers that are annoying us on the media everyday.

    No, I definitely think that Mr. Jobs is not the “God of consumers” neither the “simple” CEO of Apple. I think he simply is a great Man with a big Dream and that such very Dream is providing him with a sense for his life and the force to carry on against all odds. And this Dream deals with making other people life easier, our lives. Apple is nothing but Job's tool to make this vision to come true. Their profit today is just another confirmation that Companies' benefit are a consequence of great visions, and not vice versa. But if Apple were bankruptcy, that would not change anything in Jobs' value as a man. This is what eventually matters , to me.

    Good for us that Jobs is still COB in Apple (and for Apple bottom line of course). That means that the Dream will still go on, but with him now saving precious energies. I really whish him all my best.

  10. bolaji ojo
    August 26, 2011

    @Nando B, You stumped me! Steve Jobs “will help in breaking frontiers, make mankind closer, share visions, help to take better decisions” [and] make “life easier for next generations.” Do you really believe that? That is incredible. You charged me with turning Jobs into a demi-god then you proceed to set him on a divine throne.

    I don't see Jobs in the same light. Yes, he did some wonderful stuff at Apple but he didn't turn the whole world on its head. Even at Apple, he was not a one-man army. He is credited with the results of a team. He didn't do it all by himself and not all the great Apple products popped out of his brilliant mind. There were other great contributors and the fact that he's been gone six months and Apple didn't cave shows he is not irreplaceable.

     

    At the end, whether Apple faithful agrees or not, Jobs was just a great CEO and that's it. Let's give him his due credit but don't canonize him. He made little toys used by mankind but in another couple of decades he would be history. Don't think people did not see Bill Gates in the same way once or that Warren Buffett has not created more wealth or that Jobs could hold a candle to Winston Churchill. Let's get real. The man presides over a company making fancy gadgets.

  11. eemom
    August 26, 2011

    @Bolaji – I tend to agree with you.   Jobs had an incredible vision and was able to propel Apple into the forefront of several markets.  It is, however, hard for one to believe that Jobs is single handedly responsible for ALL of apple's success.  The key to success is in the execution of an idea and a lot of people should share the credit for how Apple (again and again) succeeded in executing innovative ideas that led the consumer market.

    I was one that voted that Jobs' resignation will not hurt Apple – at least not in the long term.  The knee jerk reaction is for everyone to panic and for the stock to take a “temporary” hit.  I have to believe that with all the success of Apple, there are a lot of amazing minds that put together will force Apple down the correct path.

    A lot of things need to go wrong for Apple to lose its leading market position.

  12. Nando B
    August 26, 2011

     

    Hello Bolaji .

    Here is your incipit:

    “Thank you, Steve Jobs, for so much. As CEO and chairman at Apple Inc. ( Nasdaq : AAPL), you showed us we had settled for less when we could have aspired to so much more. You gave us what we wanted, what we needed, and what we desired even when we didn't know what all these were. You rescued an icon, mothballed many more (Ericsson, Motorola, Nokia, and now HP), created new markets, and expanded old ones.

    Could I add “AMEN” ..?

    And here is coming out your last paragraph from your last contribution:

    “At the end, whether Apple faithful agrees or not, Jobs was just a great CEO and that's it. Let's give him his due credit but don't canonize him…Let's get real. The man presides over a company making fancy gadgets .”

    The less we can say, a remarkable change of style has occurred!

    If pointing out that someone make your life easier means to “set him on a divine throne”, as it seems being your personal perception, this was opposite to my intention. Our focus remains on Business Vision, other “professionals” are doing great job with religion and canonization.

    Coming back to the core of the subject, I ultimately feel that the only difference in our perception is that I personally see evidence to look at Apple as “an instrument of Jobs”, while the article depicts jobs as “the great CEO of Apple”: in summary, we disagree about who has made the fortune of who. Cutting short, both visions are legitimate but bringing different consequences

    1. If we think Apple is the Company making innovation and Jobs is their great CEO, then “thank you Mr.CEO for what you have done” and for sure Apple’s team will keep on being so brilliant and innovative in creating new markets in the future

    2. If we reversely think Apple to be shaped “at the image of Jobs”, then we have rather to say “thank you Mr.CEO for what you have done AND to stay a little bit longer in the board, so we can keep up with your talent and vision while looking for a real change in the meantime”. I'm personally under the impression that this is what Apple is actually trying to do today.

    Next few years, with Google and Samsung knocking at the doors (both the one of smart phones and the one of pure innovation) will tell us if and how the new Apple will be able to retaliate. So far, thank you Mr.CEO for having prepared Apple so well.

    To eemom :

    “A lot of things need to go wrong for Apple to lose its leading market position”. Yes I read something similar for Nokia, 4 years ago.

    One only went wrong and was enough: their board’s vision about what a smart phone is and what people need. And the vision is a matter of CEO, companies cannot be democratic, by vocation.

    It was very nice to exchange such different visions with all of you. I thank you for your patience and my Ipad allowing me to join this forum . With a std laptop, my battery would have gone already. Thank you once more, Apple 🙂  

  13. mario8a
    August 26, 2011

    Hello

    Recently a had a job opportunity @ APPLE in Cupertino, when I enter the facility I was able to see what money can buy, however their work environment is not as great as where I'm today and talking to some APPLE employees, Steve was not as nice as we think he was as Boss.

    there's a lot of pressure in APPLE to obtain results and people come and go very often, maybe is the price of sucess a cold heart company that makes lots of money.

     

    Regards

     

  14. Barbara Jorgensen
    August 26, 2011

    Mario8–thanks for the first-hand observations. I've heard that more than once–Apple is a tough place to work with a demanding boss. Still, it weathered the change from trendy start-up to global brand icon with the same guy in charge almost the whole time. (Nobody remembers NeXT Computer now that Jobs has retired from Apple, or the Lisa.) Only a few companies have had that distinction–Disney comes to mind–and they've all had to roll with the times. And times are tough.

  15. t.alex
    August 27, 2011

    Yes this is a known fact. To some extent this also shows the need of engineers to deliver what ticks the consumers. Perhaps only the marketeers and the cosumers would thank Steve Jobs, not the engineers 🙂

  16. prabhakar_deosthali
    August 28, 2011

    There are many among us engineers who dream big but cannot bring their dreams to reality. There are many among us who are good visionaries but they do not have the drive to bring their vision into reality. There are many who have a very strong business sense but they do not have great ideas to turn them into business. There are many shrewd CEOs who become infamous and inpopular for their dictatorial behaviour because they cannot achieve the desired results for their companies. There are many eccentrics who try to bring crazy ideas into reality but cannot persuade the investors to put money on them and hence fail.

     

    In my opinion Steve Jobs has been a combination of all theese personalities and that combination has created some astounding success not only in terms of business but in terms of  converging the computing world with consumer electronics, setting new standards in quality , elegance and realiability in consumer products.

     

    Hats off to Steve !

  17. Himanshugupta
    August 28, 2011

    …and an inspiration. Other day i was reading some to the famous quotes of Jobs. The most i liked is “You cannot connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in the future…”

  18. mario8a
    August 29, 2011

    Agree with prabhakar_deosthali   

    Hats Off to Steve.

     

  19. Mr. Roques
    August 30, 2011

    I was expecting a bigger dip in APPL's stock. Was Apple ready to part ways with Jobs? (he's still director of the Board) but so far, him leaving, has been a great success. 

    When he initially took a break, the stock took a big hit.

  20. mario8a
    August 30, 2011

    Hello

    For what I read, Steve has not been acting as CEO since January this year and there's a new iphone coming up in October, with faster uProcessor  and nicer camera.

    Regards

  21. electronics862
    August 30, 2011

    I think steve jobs is the guy who took apple to a top level where all companies trying to achieve everyday. His involvment in bringing iphone into market was tremendous. It won't impact the apple too much as he still continue as a critical member of organization.

  22. JADEN
    August 31, 2011

    One of the Steve Jobs greatest gift is his ability to not only see the future but also to marry innovation with commercial success.  Considering the iPod and its corresponding iTunes strategy, it is an example of his ability to achieve commercial success and innovation where others tried and failed.  Sony had walkman all the way back, other follows with MP3 players, but Jobs' iPod and his insistence on a simplified user interface chaged the way everyone now buys and listen to music.

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