Steve Jobs shocked the tech world yesterday when he announced that he is resigning as CEO of Apple. Apple stock is down, and pundits everywhere are predicting a potentially bleak future for Apple. But, you don't need to rush out and buy batteries, canned goods, and bottled water--this is not the apocalypse. Apple will still be Apple.
Until recently, Apple products have never really had much of an impact in terms of business computing. Macs have always been relegated to desktop publishing and graphic design functions, while the real computing has been left to Windows and Linux-based servers and PCs.
But, the iPhone and iPad led the "consumerization of IT" revolution--blurring the line between consumer gadgets and business computing devices. These mobile devices are now essential tools for many business professionals at companies of all sizes, and small and medium businesses increasingly rely on iMacs and MacBook Airs to get the job done. So, is there cause for concern?
No. First of all, Steve Jobs is remaining as Chairman of the Board and an employee of Apple. He is just handing over the reins of the day to day management to former Chief Operations Officer (COO) Tim Cook. Second of all, Apple is already on a somewhat set trajectory with Jobsian plans and designs that will probably carry the company another couple years at least.
Once those ideas run out, Apple could look different. There is no denying the singular vision and genius of Jobs, and no executive--no matter how capable--can "replace" Steve Jobs. But "different" doesn't have to be a bad thing. The company could be different in ways that transform the company to be better than it is today.
For all intents and purposes, though, Cook has already been running the company for more than a year as acting CEO while Jobs has been largely sitting on the sidelines on a medical leave of absence. During that time, Apple has continued to flourish and dominate.
When Jobs was more or less forced out of Apple in 1985 the company went into a 12-year downward spiral. It was Jobs' return in 1997 that brought Apple from the brink of oblivion to its position now as an industry leader and the most valuable company in the United States. Fear not, though. It seems that Steve Jobs and Apple both learned valuable lessons from the first time he left.
Jobs has created an executive management team and instilled a culture at Apple that is now much more capable and self-sustaining than it was in 1985. Regardless of Jobs' role with Apple moving forward, you can rest assured that your iPhone, iPad, MacBook Air, and other Apple devices will continue to "just work" and let you take care of business for years to come.