Google acquiring Motorola and HP dropping its PC/tablet hardware businesses not enough news for you? Late last Thursday, another jawdropper hit the tech industry when Apple announced that visionary CEO Steve Jobs was stepping down.
The tech industry is now awash with commentary about Jobs’ legendary leadership which was not only instrumental in the creation of Apple as a company, but took it from a distant laggard in the computing space to pioneering technology powerhouse today. This is particularly impressive given the degree to which Apple’s leadership structure (warning: full article behind paywall, but well worth a read if you are interested in how corporate organizations work) concentrates authority in the hands of the CEO – meaning, yeah, Apple’s success really *is* because of Steve, whereas in a lot of other companies its only partially due to the CEO.
While I’ve definitely picked a side in the Google vs Apple war, even this “fandroid” has to admit a certain sadness that Jobs is leaving. A very small part of it comes from the fact that I’m an Apple shareholder and find it near impossible to find anyone that has the same vision and execution skills to replace him. A much larger part comes from the fact that Jobs played a huge role in shaping the technology industry for the better:
- Popularizing the graphical user interface and the mouse
- Ingraining in the public that phones are for apps and that carriers as they stand today should just be dumb pipes
- Building from scratch the tablet device category
- Popularizing the app store concept, something which will probably define software distribution for some time to come
- Familiarizing the public with the idea of buying digital music and video
- Pushing people to embrace HTML5 over proprietary plugins like Flash and Silverlight
In any event, I salute you, Mr. Jobs for a remarkable career and an incredible legacy.
DISCLAIMER: I own Apple shares