Steve Jobs, 56 years old and on his third medical leave, has resigned from his CEO job at Apple. He also left the company with a heritage and credo that can only be compared to Walt Disney’s. Jobs did Walt’s exit even better, naming Tim Cook as successor to the CEO position. Jobs is also remaining as Apple’s Chairman of the Board and a director.
Cook doesn’t have to move anything into a new office, because he’s been running Apple as CEO in fact for much of the last three years. Cook, 50, has been performing CEO duties since the start of this year. He’s been a constant presence in the Apple analyst briefings about the spectacular quarterly results the company has posted for more than six quarters by now. As Jobs’ resignation letter confirms, Apple had a succession plan in place for this day. The succession was swift, unlike the last three changes to the CEO position of Hewlett-Packard. Cook’s election to the CEO post was immediate by the Apple board, based on instructions in the brief letter Jobs used to file his resignation.
As the news of HP's past seven days confirms, change is arriving on swift waters in this industry and in our world. In essays across the Web, Jobs is seeing his confirmation as an innovator who built, dreamed and lured talent over three-plus decades to leave his company in stellar shape. His name is being uttered today with tones like two that we know: "Bill," and "Dave." Jobs' impact on Apple is indelible by now, the result of 35 years serving in a time very different from the 1939-1978 CEO leadership of Hewlett and Packard. What's Different, an element Apple liked to promote, is Jobs' mark on computing -- which is likely to extend almost as long after his departure from the CEO office. In an essay on my Bites of Apple blog, I look back at a dark point in his life that crossed part of my journalism career, and how it showed hope for those who thrive on being different.
The HP 3000 has always been just as different as Apple was in the 1980s, and they both continue to be three decades later. Choosing a 3000 to run a company wasn't safe like selecting an IBM minicomputer or mainframe. But it was better, even continues to be so for some customers even eight years after HP built the last one. It feels like a lifetime since we've been hearing about Steve Jobs. That means the 3000 has a lifetime-plus in our memories, while the HP of Bill and Dave has become a memory. We'll have commentary on that later today, from a community member who's worked with and advocated for 3000s even longer than Jobs has been on the job.