This is Jordan retiring. For the second time. To all of the journalists and analysts who say this will not have a profound effect on Apple, how wrong you are. Steve Jobs has had more effect on modern society as a CEO than anybody since J.P. Morgan (he bailed out the U.S. Treasury, twice). To lead Apple, whose main products did not even exist forty years ago, to become the world’s biggest company, is astonishing. Ideas are a dime a dozen. To find a person, who can take an idea, execute it, create an new industry, while revolutionizing another, and do it while being ill for a portion of the time, is truly, truly amazing.
Apple will survive; Apple won’t fall off; all of that is true. Jobs will stay on as Chairman. But what made Apple — much like Microsoft before Bill Gates retired — was their leader. Microsoft has had success since Gates left. But, without Gates, there have been many mistakes. Microsoft, once the leader in the tech world, has now fallen behind the likes of Apple, Google, and even Amazon in innovation.
Apple, a meticulous planner, should have the next few cycles of iOS devices mapped out already. Tim Cook will do a good job, as he has been running the company, sans major decisions for the last few months. Jobs’ hand will still be on the company for the next few years, but much like Microsoft and Gates, there will be times when the new CEO doesn’t want to hear what the old CEO has to say.
For now, consumers should have no worries. The next iterations of iPhones and iPads are already past the design phase and are getting ready to be built. But for Apple executives, Jobs will be missed. His presence alone could seal deals with component makers for years to come, and make city officials not think twice about approving Apple’s requests (see Apple’s new spaceship headquarters).
His next official appearance at an Apple event will most likely come at the expected release of the new iPhone in late-September, early-October. It may be his last. Steve Jobs, the CEO, will be remembered as a brilliant leader who led an organization – that once fired him – back from the brink of bankruptcy, to become the largest company in the world. Steve Jobs, the innovator, will be remembered as a visionary, who executed and anticipated the demand for products that only he knew we needed.