I have to believe that the lack of a public succession plan for Apple is yet another facet of the company's legendary secrecy, and that the expanded role of Tim Cook and the rest of the executive team at the laptop introduction last year was the opening step in downplaying the cult of personality around SJ -- there is a plan, although perhaps it was not intended to go into 'speed mode' quite so soon. Having suffered through the Steve-less interregnum with Apple in the 1990s along with all other Mac users, I'm far more optimistic this time that the company will thrive even without the full-time efforts of Jobs at the wheel.
That said, I hope that this six-month hiatus from work allows for a full and complete healing of body, mind and spirit for Steve and his family; I look forward to seeing him back in front of the curtain come WWDC this summer. Chris Ullrich
Steve Jobs and those running Apple are not stupid. They have a plan. Jobs' health issues have not been a secret and as such, the company has had a plan of succession in place for quite some time -- they just don't talk about it. It is Apple, after all, a company not exactly known for its high degree of transparency.
I, like my colleagues here at TUAW, hope that Jobs' stepping away from Apple is temporary. I sincerely wish that in six months he will return better than ever and lead Apple to even greater success. However, as much as I love Apple and its great products, the most important thing to remember is that we are talking about someone's health and their life.
In the end, a person's health and life are far more important than what happens to a company -- even if that company is Apple. Get well soon Mr. Jobs. Christina Warren
At some point in the future, irrespective of Steve's current hiatus, there will be an Apple Inc. without Steve Jobs as CEO. Just as GE continued after Jack Welch retired, Pepsi continued after Al Steele and HP after both Hewlett and Packard (and even after the trainwreck known as Fiorina), Apple will continue without Steve Jobs.
This doesn't mean that it will be the same Apple -- Steve's vision has effectively been Apple's vision for the last decade -- but this isn't 1986. The company is in a good position; sales are still strong despite a poor economy, marketshare is up, the iPhone is a huge success and the iPod continues to be THE portable device that everyone wants. Apple as a company, Apple as a brand, has transcended just one person. This isn't to play down Steve's importance; on the contrary, if Steve Jobs hadn't revitalized the company 11 years ago, it wouldn't be able to run without him today.
I won't speculate about Steve's health other than to say I wish him the best and hope to see him on stage in June for WWDC (or even just via iChat video). He can't be replaced. He shouldn't be replaced. But when the time comes for Steve to retire (and we all hope that this hiatus is just that, a hiatus), the company he has fostered will continue. Take care of yourself Steve!
In America, we hold our corporations in the highest regard. It could be said that industry is at once our greatest triumph -- and our greatest failure. The leaders of those corporations are peerless, held to the highest standards reserved for heads of state and clergy.
In so doing, we turn corporate leaders into celebrities, and indeed celebrities into less than people. Instead, they're just the largest sprocket in a machine full of sprockets. Could the sprocket be replaced? Sure. Could it be replaced with several smaller sprockets? Of course, if done right.
But Steve Jobs -- nor any person -- is only a sprocket. He's a person, and like all people, deserves his time to heal.
For those who demand answers, have patience. For those who feel wronged or hurt, relax for a second. We're talking about a human life here. If I were concerned about stock price or market capitalization right now, I'd have to seriously look at reorganizing my priorities.
So, to Steve: Rest. Have faith. Spend time with those you care most about. You'll recover. When you feel well enough, consider coming back to work, if it's what you want to do.
Apple will still be here, ready for you.
I've got to agree with what Robert said. Consider Steve's performance at the last few public events. He has routinely handed the stage over to various members of the Apple team, and for greater amounts of time. Some might say that was because he wasn't up to running the whole show himself.
To me, he was demonstrating that he alone is not Apple, nor is Apple simply an extension of Steve Jobs. The company is the collected talent, ideas, drive and passion of all its employees. The market won't recognize this right away, but that will change.
Take care of yourself, Steve. We're all pulling for you!
Dear Mr. Jobs,
You're one of the few CEO's that non-business minded people can name and attach to a company. While your mystique and demanding nature rub some people the wrong way (who hasn't heard stories of you firing employees in elevators at Apple HQ because you thought their jobs were insignificant), I think you have helped Apple make technology cool, stable, and reliable while keeping other manufacturers on their collective toes.
Every Apple employee I have ever talked to loves working for Apple, and I'm sure you love it too. Get well soon!
There are two things to me that are undeniably certain. They are that 1) Apple is a strong company and that it is in a better position than it has ever been; and 2) Steve Jobs is a strong man, if there is any one man that can overcome such adversity as this, it's him.
I also have to agree with Dave and Robert on the point that Apple and Steve Jobs are not one in the same. If Steve's health were what it is now in 2001, the story would be completely different than it is right now. However, Apple has three extremely strong legs on which to stand, those being Mac, iPod, and iPhone. As we have seen in recent months Apple has been less about Steve's presentation on stage and more about the innovative products and intelligent people behind them. There is no doubt in my mind that Apple will continue on in excellence as it has done for the past decade.
Steve, the only thing I can say to you is to get well and be happy (even if that means not returning to work). You're a legend in your own right and the Apple community would not exist as it does today without you.
My best wishes and get-well vibes to Mr. Jobs. I hope to see him back to health and back to work as soon as possible.
Mr. Jobs. You've meant a lot to us over the years. You were the driving force behind most of Apple's most successful products (Macintosh, iPod, iPhone), you pushed the Mac OS into the 21st century with OS X, and most of all, you kept the faith in Apple even during the years that you weren't at the helm.
I remember those years. Sure, John Sculley, Gil Amelio, and the rest weren't as charismatic as you, but they managed to come out with some pretty fascinating (perhaps not succesful) products during those years. I'm sure that you realize that you're not going to live forever, and that you've chosen successors who have your same zeal for perfection and the same insight into the future.
While I hope that you have many more years creating our future in your position at Apple, I also realize that eventually you're going to leave the company. And I'm OK with that -- after all, you just provided the vision and drive for the company, not the engineering expertise that created such amazing products. Here's wishing you many more years enjoying your family, and best of luck to all of those at Apple who will follow the path that you have made visible to them.