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The Steve Jobs Succession at Apple: Questions and Answers

Probably one of the most important news in Apple’s history, and also very important for the world of technology and business in general: Steve Jobs leaves the position of CEO of the company he helped found in 1976.

What makes this occasion different from others is that this time it is not something temporary, while he is on medical leave: It is a complete leave of absence and he leaves his position at the company’s disposal, although he recommends someone (Tim Cook) for the position.

The Steve Jobs Succession at Apple: Questions and AnswersThe Steve Jobs Succession at Apple: Questions and Answers

To better understand everything that has happened, is happening, and will happen, here are some answers to the questions that, from this moment on, many of you will have in mind:

*Why has Steve Jobs left office?

In the personal letter Jobs sent to spread the news, it is not explicitly mentioned. His state of health in the last few months after the medical interventions triggered rumours of his possible definitive departure from the company, but his appearance on the last keynotes seemed like a message to all those who doubted his strength.

Today, it is Jobs himself who has said that something is wrong: “I have always said that if one day I could no longer carry out my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, you would be the first to know. Sadly, that day has come.” He does not explicitly mention health problems, but perhaps it is because of them that he cannot serve the company as it deserves.

* What does it mean to be a CEO and what is Jobs’ new position?

CEO is the acronym for Chief Executive Officer, that is, an executive director whose job is to manage and direct the course of a company. Jobs, at Apple, was the one who made the final decisions and set the concrete guidelines to follow in the future.

That was the position that until then fell to Jobs, and from now on it’s Tim Cook’s. However, Jobs has been elected by the board of directors as chairman of the board of directors, not totally disassociated from Apple. To put it simply, Tim Cook would now be Apple’s new CEO and Steve Jobs would be the chairman of the board.

In short, it is Tim Cook’s job to make Apple’s operational and strategic decisions, and Jobs and the board of directors to support or reject them if they see fit. At Apple so far, Jobs’ role has been so strong that they have rarely rejected any of Jobs’ ideas. However, to give you an idea of the power of that board, it was the same board that kicked Jobs out of the company in the late 1980s.

* Who is Tim Cook?

The choice of Tim Cook as the visible head of Apple is a very wise decision: Cook, 51, joined Apple in 1998 and was part of the team Jobs put together on his return to the company after his dismissal.

Cook has extensive experience as an engineer within the technology business: He worked over 12 years at IBM, Intelligent Electronics and Compaq. At Apple, he held a key position reducing costs and increasing profit margins in one of his worst times (when he arrived) and since 2004 he was responsible for the engineering group of none other than the Macintosh.

He has already been a temporary CEO of the company due to Steve Jobs’ health problems in 2004, 2009 and 2011. Jobs undoubtedly chose him as his successor because of his experience in this position, but also because of his technical and operational knowledge of the company.

* When will the resignation be effective?

From the very moment Steve Jobs’ letter was made public. The board of directors was told yesterday that Cook was elected as the new CEO and Jobs was given the leadership.

* Is Steve Jobs completely disassociated from Apple?

He dissociates himself from day-to-day operational and strategic decisions, but as chairman of the board he can take a stand on high-level corporate decisions, as well as rectify any (if the rest of the board agrees with him). Therefore, he moves away from the day-to-day but remains present in the company, and more so given Jobs’ weight within Apple.

* What is the future of Apple?

He has a great future. The news is great because we are losing not a genius in the world of technology, but a person who loves and expects the most from his work. That passion, strength and determination are imbued in each of the products Apple brings to market, and the company should continue down this path with at least the same energy.

* Is Tim Cook only in front of important decisions?

He will be the one to take them ultimately, but of course Jobs has been preparing us for this succession for years. Cook will be the one to set the course, but the company has been forming and strategizing for the future for years to best address this “transition”.

That’s why I don’t think Cook is “the new Steve Jobs.” Apple knows Jobs is irreplaceable, but they need a person at the helm. Sailing the boat will be shared by the rest of the geniuses, the personal team Steve Jobs chose, for many years to come. And I’m sure with a plan drawn up five or ten years from now.

* And what will happen on the next keynote?

It is likely that it will not recur, except in small exceptional cases. Tim Cook needs to meet and make himself known to the new audience and hopefully take advantage of a big upcoming event to introduce him to the press and public as a driver for the next keynote.

* Why did you announce this today, in the middle of August?

This is more of a personal opinion: If my calculations are correct, Apple will give a keynote on September 7th to present a new range of iPods and perhaps, a new iPhone. If that is the case, the company will announce the keynote one week before, on August 31st.

Today, August 24th still in the US, is just one week before Apple will probably announce its next keynote. This may have been done to minimize the impact on the stock market of Jobs’ departure with a possible powerful keynote on the 7th.

Sobre la inercia, los comienzos, y Steve Jobs

And that’s all we know at the moment, a short hour after Jobs’ resignation. We’ll be spreading the word over the next few days, counting the impact. Personally, it’s a decision that saddens me as an admirer of a person like Jobs, but at the same time it makes me excited about the new phase of Apple that is opening up before us.

I’d like to end this entry with a video. It’s not a video of Jobs doing or saying something as we always remember it. It’s a video of his life, his work and from today, his legacy .

It is a video directed to the geniuses . To those who are crazy enough to think they can change the world. To those who once imagined it, like Jobs, and succeeded.

At Apple