When Steve Jobs turned in his letter of resignation a couple of weeks ago, the tech world went into a frenzy.
Jobs has been at the helm of one of today’s most influential tech companies from the beginning. Together with Steve Wozniak, he ushered in the new age of personal computers, fought as Microsoft rose above them in the 90s and pulled Apple back into the social consciousness with the iPod. Needless to say, Jobs’ successor, Tim Cook, has some massive shoes to fill.
Many people wonder if a new CEO means changes for Apple. What will become the iPhone, iPad or iPod? Will Flash finally be integrated into these devices? Will Apple’s mobile App Store become less regulated? And what will happen to their highly successful iMac and MacBook lines?
It all boils down to a question many ask when a new CEO, president or any new leader takes up the mantle from a long-standing incumbent: Will things change, or will they stay the same?
Steve Jobs’ successor Tim Cook is no newcomer to Apple, or the personal computing world, or even the post of Apple’s CEO. He was Vice President of Corporate Materials for Compaq (now merged with Hewlett-Packard) before Jobs picked him up. During the three sick leaves Jobs took in the past decade, Cook was the man he picked to temporarily fill his seat. Jobs was still responsible for major decisions, but Cook oversaw the day-to-day operations and, for the most part, ran Apple while he was gone.
That isn’t to say Cook hasn’t made some big decisions himself. Shortly after he joined Apple in the late 90s, he sweepingly changed Apple’s manufacturing structure. Until that point, Apple had handled manufacturing themselves in factories and warehouses around the world. Cook closed them all down and instead contracted outside parties to handle it. This was a pretty bold and risky move, but it worked. It got Apple a foothold in China where the iDevice you’ve got in your pocket, or are perhaps reading this column on, was built.
Many people, including Tim Cook, say Steve Jobs is irreplaceable. Even a false rumor of Jobs having a heart attack was enough to cost the company over $10 billion from their market value. But the way many tech savvy people like myself see it, if Jobs was the knight in shining armor for the tech world, Cook was his sword – quite possibly the shining armor. Considering the facts behind Cook’s track record before and with Apple, Apple investors and consumers shouldn’t have anything to worry about. Cook will make well-informed decisions for this company in the years to come. Steve Jobs may have been the face of Apple for the past 30 years, but Tim Cook, along with many other talented computer scientists and engineers, were working in his shadow, making the company what it is today.
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