Home Tech Apple 10 Years Ago: iResign, Steve’s departure well managed by Apple

10 Years Ago: iResign, Steve’s departure well managed by Apple

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Ten years ago on Macfilos – Published 25 August 2011

By the time I woke here in the Greek islands, every man and his dog had had a say about last night’s resignation. It’s something that has been expected for at least two years and there has been resulting uncertainty about the future of Apple.

So the fact of the resignation is not a surprise. What does impress me, though, is the careful way this has been handled by Apple. We have a resignation when Apple is riding high, and we have a clear succession in Tim Cook. The worst thing would have been an announcement following by a protracted search for a successor.

Tim is a known quantity and a supreme operations man. It is Tim Cook who has ensured that Apple products, particularly the iPad, are manufactured to such high standards and at a price that others cannot match. No one knows how much Steve and how much Tim has been built into Apple’s recent success, but there is a good suspicion that Tim Cook has played more than his part.

Image: Matthew Yohe, Wiki Commons

From the point of view of the markets, the announcement will inevitably cause a temporary price fall, as was evident in after-hours trading last night. I believe that Steve’s departure has already been factored into the current share price level.

It’s uncertainty that markets don’t like and they will soon come to realise that Jobs’ timely announcement has removed much of this doubt. I will wait to hear from Horace Dediu for a definitive answer, but my personal view is that the share price will soon better reflect Apple’s stellar prospects rather than uncertainty over Steve’s future.

The announcement couldn’t have been made at a better time, a few weeks before the introduction of the iPhone 5 and before what is widely expected to be a monumental third quarter’s performance for the brand. Nonetheless, we shouldn’t forget that this is a resignation from an operational role, not a death. Steve is still with us and I hope he will be around for a long time yet. Above all, his influence will persist. Along with Bill Gates, Steve Jobs will be recorded as a leader of the personal computer world over the past thirty years. Steve Wozniak sums up his career today on Bloomberg:

He’s always going to be remembered, maybe for the next 100 years, as the greatest technology business leader of our time. Company culture doesn’t change overnight. He’s got tens of thousands of employees. The quality of the products reflects how good they are, too.

Along with all other Apple commentators, I am personally very sad to hear the inevitable news that Steve is stepping down. Since I bought my first Mac Mini six years ago, Steve’s philosophy and, above all, his products, have been an integral part of my life. I, and many other regular Apple writers, wouldn’t be sitting here penning these words if we hadn’t all been influenced by Apple.

It’s a good time to look at a younger Jobs and I’m grateful to Stephen M. Hackett of Forkbombr.net for the link to this “Bicycle for our Minds” video. It sums up Jobs and his philosophy.

Finally, since I am currently off piste in the Aegean, let’s give the stage to Greek Mac site, Macephemera.gr. You don’t need to understand the language to know what this headline says: Ο Steve Jobs παραιτείται, ο Tim Cook ο νέος CEO της Apple

19 COMMENTS

  1. .
    I had some email correspondence with Steve about various Apple products and services, and though terse – well, he “live(d) in Mail” – they were to the point, but also benevolent, and not quite so ‘snap your tongue off!’ as many have suggested.

    Here’s one from 2007: “Between just us, there is a revolutionary version of iMovie in the works. It will be worth the wait.
    Steve”

    Tim’s a great admin man, but – of course – he’s not the ‘Apple Visionary’. New products since Tim took over? Er, iPhones (no; they’re not a new type of product), iPads? (er, no; they’re not new), iPods (are they still going?), earbuds and headphones (call those ‘new’?), great new software? (what, like iWeb, iDVD, Pages, iMovie, FCP, Garageband, Logic Pro? ..er, is there any new software from Apple?)

    What Apple has moved into is streaming services, which bring plenty of recurring subscriptions. iTunes was the intro to Apple’s streaming, with individually bought, but then streamed music tracks (like a legal Napster), and that expanded to movies, then more music but now on subscription (instead of long-term purchase per track), followed by subscription-only made-for-streaming TV shows from the ‘Apple+’ service.

    So Tim’s ‘going with the flow’; he’s doing what Netflix does, and Amazon Prime does.

    He’s following the money, but not, I think, “..skating to where the puck’s going to be” with the Next Big Thing.

    • I can agree with all that. There have been some notable disasters along the way, including the Home Pod and Apple’s dereliction of duty in letting Alexa take the honours. I think, though, Apple’s great achievement is in building a compelling system which more or less ties in users year after year (perhaps with the exception of Siri, where even staunch Appleistas secretly cleave to Amazon and Alexa.

      • “..staunch Appleistas secretly cleave to Amazon and Alexa..”

        Whatyasayin’?! That Alexa knows nothing compared with Siri! ..Whatever we ask Alexa at breakfast time, she knows next to nothin’. Examples: “Alexa, Who was the man in charge of Los Alamos who lost his security clearance?” ..Alexa’s answer: “Here’s something I found on the web. According to thedailybeast.com: Retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, who earned the ignominious … (blah blah blah).. His security clearance has been suspended by the agency he once commanded.”

        But Siri knew immediately that it was J. Robert Oppenheimer.

        “Alexa, How much older was John Boulting than Hayley Mills when they married?” ..Alexa’s answer: “This might answer your question: Hayley Mills is currently not married. She has been married once, to Roy Boulting. Hayley Mills is dating Firdous Bamji since 1996.”

        But Siri knew that Roy Boulting was 33 years older (correct) than Hayley Mills when they married.

        Alexa knows nothing compared with Siri, and Alexa once ordered us some very smoky lamp oil and some very poor quality kitchen rolls!

        Alexa? Bah!

        • David, it beats me why you would want to ask a speaking robot device like Siri or Alexa (if that is what they are) for such, let’s be polite, ‘barely useful’ pieces of information. In the dark old Medieval days of the mid 20th Century we used books or our local library. In this ‘Post Enlightenment’ era we can use things called ‘search engines’ on whatever connects us to the ‘internet machine’. It does not take much effort to think and type. As for asking such a device to do your shopping, well ‘as you sow, so shall you reap’ and if you got smoky lamp oil and poor kitchen rolls, maybe you might do a rethink on doing this again, but in the grand order of things that might go wrong these seem to be relatively minor. Or perhaps, your tongue has been in your cheek all along?

          William

          • William,

            I wrote “..Whatever we ask Alexa at breakfast time, she knows next to nothin’..” ..and at breakfast time we’re sitting at the table, eating and talking ..so I’m NOT on my COMPUTER using a “search engine”. But Alexa and Siri ARE examples of “..whatever connects us to the ‘internet machine’”.

            So instead of using a keyboard, I just use my voice. The example of whoever it was – I knew that I knew his job, but I couldn’t just then remember his name – Oppenheimer came up because we were talking about some person or other who lost their job due to their security clearance being reduced ..so, naturally, I thought of Oppenheimer ..but couldn’t quite remember his name.

            The business of Hayley Mills (the actress) and her husband came up at breakfast because we talked about Hayley Mills having lived opposite us once upon a time – well, across and up a bit – (now Pete Townshend lives there) and I couldn’t remember the age difference – it caused quite a stir when they married – between her and her Boulting Brother husband ..nor whether it was John or Roy she’d married.

            “..‘barely useful’ pieces of information..”? ..I don’t know what you talk about in your house, William ..or when.. but at breakfast we’re at our most inquisitive, wide-ranging and interested in the day’s news and in our surroundings. We might talk about Sir Joshua Reynolds (he lived across the road, too), or Antony Gormley, or Winsome Pinnock (whose latest play opened today at the National Theatre), or Michael Evans’ electric car, or electric cars in general, or hydrogen-powered vehicles, and so I might ask Siri “What’s the industrial process which produces hydrogen for vehicle propulsion?”

            ..Now tell me honestly ..wouldn’t you..?!

          • I do talk to my wife, of course, but none of the topics you mentioned ever come up. We operate on Sir Humphrey’s ‘Need to Know’ principle. I have no issue with people seeking information from robots at breakfast time, it is just not on my horizon to do such a thing. I tried Siri once but found that Irish accents and information were beyond him/her and so I lost the interest to pursue the matter any further. As I pointed out earlier, we did quite well for many years without robots at breakfast time and conversation did not suffer and still doesn’t. As a matter of interest, if you go away to stay at a hotel would you use Siri or Alexa at breakfast in the hotel?

            William

          • “..would you use Siri or Alexa at breakfast in the hotel?..”

            Oh, no; we’d probably be too busy talking to the other guests, or admiring the views out of the windows, or discussing what we were going do that day (..the other week we were in Germany for a seaside wedding, so we talked with the bride’s family at the hotel – I was to give the bride away! – and we discussed what’d be happening for the next day or two, and how awful it was that the hire car wasn’t there at the station when we arrived because the Sixt rep couldn’t be bothered waiting the extra three minutes till the train arrived!)

    • I think they have gone from visionary products to iterative evolutionary versions of their former revolutionary visionary products.

      I would love to see anyone get an email from Tim Cook. Steve Jobs made them the stellar company they became, unfortunately I do not see where they step next in terms of the next revolution.

      And David at least Steve Jobs engaged you, I know so few senior leaders and execs these days that engage the people like that.

      • Exactly. The only other CEO ‘engagement’ which comes straight to mind is (another Steve) Steve Robertson of Thames Water.

        We were s-o-o-o frustrated by repeated failures of TW’s pump(s) which pump mains water up to where we live. Whenever I rang to report a water loss or drop in pressure because their pump(s) had tripped a fuse, there was always this long rigmarole of “have you checked with your neighbours? ..do other people in your house have a loss of pressure? ..we have no reports of any problems in your area..” etcetera.

        So I looked for Steve Robertson’s email address, and said “..enough! It’s the same problem every two months, and the same script from whoever answers the phones..” ..and next day two vans arrived, and two new mains pumps were installed in their pumping station across the road by the end of the week. Never had a single problem since.

        Never had such greeaat service, apart from Steve Jobs. Some CEOs do care, DO do the job for their customers, don’t hide behind impenetrable defences.

        But not very many..

    • Oh, er, Wayne: rather stodgy, I thought, which gave – for me, anyway – no inkling of Jobs’ humour or intensity of ambition for his products. It read, for me, more like ‘Jobs abandoned his daughter’ and ‘Jobs severely over-worked his staff’, and ‘Jobs was unsure what to do with his life when Next failed’. Isaacson’s books seem to read like lists of items to be mentioned, rather than giving any real feeling of or insight into their subjects ..’Einstein’, for instance, or ‘The Innovators’.

      Have you tried ‘Icon: Steve Jobs’, ‘Becoming Steve Jobs’, ‘Insanely Simple’, ‘Revolution in the Valley’, ‘The Second Coming of Steve Jobs’, or any of the others? Many of them ‘get beneath the skin’ in a way which I find that Isaacson’s pedestrian plod does not.

      • Gday David.
        I fully respect that you had interactions with Steve Jobs and saw him in a certain light. That’s fine.
        Equally, I fully respect Isaacson’s thoroughness and his factual approach to biography without emotional interference. Isaacson does his homework – his Steve Jobs biography was based on 40 interviews with Jobs himself, as well as interviews with family. To get a taste of his credibility just have a look at Isaacson’s impressive cv, easiest seen on Wiki.

      • The book I remember is (not about Jobs) The Soul of a New Machine by Tracy Kidder. The Data General C/150 was the first big computer I coded on and I still remember the text based game it had, Adventure (I think it was called). The first Apple I coded on was a Apple IIe. When the Macintosh came out I was fascinated with the mouse and Wozniak’s Draw program. Those were the days.

        • I was reading “The Soul of a New Machine” while dreaming up what became ‘Micronet 800’ ..the first *online* magazine for that first generation of ‘home computer owners’, delivered via BT’s ‘Prestel’ service (..though we never ever mentioned the word ‘Prestel’). News, email, downloadable programs ..and that was 1982. I wrote the demo for the service in Basic on an Apple ][.

          (A grey import version of IBM’s new ‘Personal Computer’ appeared on desks in our office around that time, and no work was done for a week on any of IBM User magazine, DEC User, CadCam, Which Micro? or What Micro? ..as everyone was playing Adventure – or “Colossal Cave” – on that new PC ..which had a socket on the back for connecting a cassette recorder for storing data programs!)

    • The zm 35/1.4 is sublime and in my opinion blows the socks off the Leica m 35/1.4 which I sold. The zeiss zm 50/1.5 is also a gem if you are competent on what lighting to use it in.

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