As a Mac user for five years now, I've had some interest in Steve Jobs to say the least. He managed to orchestrate leading Apple from the nearly bankrupt skeleton that it was when he returned to the company to an industry leader in the mobile device market. This is a feat that's not easy to accomplish in any market, but perhaps less so in a market that changes as rapidly as Information Technology. I've had regular exposure to Mac OS for years before I switched to Mac myself. I've used Mac OS 8 a little, and Mac OS 9 much more. In my humble opinion, the progress that has been made between Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X Lion is a leap that would have taken many corporations much longer than 14 years to accomplish. OS 9, in comparison with Windows 95 and Windows 2000, was a joke. Yet, here we are some years later and the tables are completely flipped. Apple has gone from being the butt of the joke of internet message boards, to a company revered for their forward thinking. I think most, if not all, of the credit for that goes to Steve Jobs.
Now, we find ourselves in the situation we all knew had to come eventually: Steve Jobs has resigned from his post as CEO of Apple due to health reasons. You can even find some pretty ghastly looking pictures on him online if you're into looking at that sort of thing. Many people are speculating that this will mean the end of Apple as an industry leader, and concerns over the stock price for APPL, which currently sits at $383.58, have surfaced as well.
Naturally, I feel compelled to throw in my two cents. To put it simply, I don't think Apple is going anywhere - at least not anytime soon.
It is safe to say that Apple has plans in place for the next few years. And even if those don't pan out entirely due to some lack of consumer confidence - they're not exactly hurting for cash. Additionally, running the company isn't exactly something new for Tim Cook, Jobs's successor, since he assumed that role in Steve's previous absences - in 2004 and 2009 - and in fact has been the de facto CEO since January when Steve started his latest medical leave. I think it is safe to say that for now, the status quo will be maintained and Apple will continue to push the industry forward.
Of course, the other question on everyone's mind is whether or not Tim Cook will have the same "vision" that Steve used to make Apple what it is today. Once we pass these next few years, and Steve Jobs's influence on the company trends towards zero - will they be in trouble? Unfortunately, only time will tell. I personally think that we'll see Apple's innovation continue to set the curve - even after Steve is no longer involved in the company. Look at the degree of confidence that Steve seems to have in Cook's ability to run the company (Jobs wouldn't have let him do so three times if he didn't believe Tim Cook was up to the task).
There are certainly a lot of changes I would love to see happen in the next few years, especially to the way Apple treats the iPhone Developers Program and the App Store, and maybe Tim Cook is the man to make those things happen.
Now that I've gotten that out, I'd love to hear your thoughts. Are you selling your Apple stock or already drooling over whatever you think the mad scientists are going to produce next? Leave me some comment love and let me know!
The photo of Steve Jobs was originally taken by Flickr user acaben, and is used under the terms of the Creative Commons license.