Steve Jobs resigns as Apple CEO

Via Wall Street Journal, news that Apple CEO Steve Jobs is stepping down.

PRESS RELEASE: Letter from Steve Jobs

August 24, 2011–To the Apple Board of Directors and the Apple Community:

I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.

I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.

As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.

I believe Apple’s brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.

I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.

Apple confirms that COO Tim Cook will take the CEO position at Jobs’ recommendation. During past periods of medical leave for Jobs, Cook has filled in; that he would eventually replace Jobs does not come as a surprise.

Current after-hours trading data (Bloomberg's live coverage is here) shows the stock plummeting.

Jobs co-founded Apple in 1976 with Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne, then parted ways with the company in 1986. He returned in 1997, and formally took the CEO helm in 2000, leading Apple to its most profitable period in history. Under his leadership, Apple became a company that, in the words Jobs once used to lure John Sculley away from Pepsi-Cola in 1983, really did "change the world."

(Image: BoingBoingWWDC2010_IMG_0304, a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial (2.0) image from deanputney's photostream)

[Video Link: the 1984 ad.]


  1. Well, we all knew this was near… The guy deserves to finally retire. It’s going to be sort of weird without him center stage though. 

      1. I’m concerned that a great man may no longer be around. It’s like losing a Newton or an Edison.

        1. I’ll give you Edison, maybe, because he was a practical inventor who ingeniously applied science to meet human needs and come up with whole new technological capabilities. Jobs certainly deserves this comparison in kind, if not in degree.

          But Newton? Really? Do you actually know what Newton developed? Newton’s laws of motion, the law of universal gravitation, calculus… the mind boggles.

          This is like comparing Darwin to the inventor of Sea Monkeys.

          EDIT-Nothing at all against Mr. Jobs. My hyperbolic analogies aside, his contributions to industry and engineering are huge, and I wish him the best.

        2. I’m sorry.. But no.. no it’s not. Incidentally I have no problem with Steve Jobs and freely admit he has achieved a lot and his company created the Ipod nano that I adore but comparing him to Newton is patently ridiculous.

        3. Um…what?  Seriously?  He’s a great businessman and a hell of a pitch man but that’s where it ends full stop.  Newton was a god and he is an ant by comparison.

          1. For instance Sir Isaac had no use for “fools” like Leibniz  just like Jobs has no use for “fools” like Richard Stallman.  

          2. People who say “full stop” need to learn to tone down their hyperbole.

            I can’t believe that you missed the opportunity to finish that with ’nuff said.

        4. The joke in comparing Jobs to Newton being that one of the first things Jobs did when returning to Apple was *kill* the Newton. Which was interesting, because in many ways Newton was Apple’s first foray into non-computer consumer electronics, which Apple became known for after Jobs’ return.

  2. Cue all the sport investors dumping their supposedly worthless Apple stock. Pathetic. The value of the company will remain no matter what happens to its creator, who is far too wise to leave its future development to the Next Five Guys in Line. 

    That said, pace, readers. Wish Jobs the best future that any of your best friends deserves. 

    Also, what hbl said. ^^^ 

    1. yeah. he *is* staying on, just not as CEO. the people selling are probably morans who should get a brain. if I could afford to I’d be using this opportunity to buy the stock at a lower price while it was undervalued.

    2. I’ve been thinking “I MUST NOT PSEUDO DAY TRADE” to my self – but I’m REALLY tempted to snarf all the stock I can while it temporarily goes downhill, before it goes back up again.

      Also also, in regards to hbl’s statement : thirded.

  3. I know a lot of people would love to be able to retire at age 55.  However, I fear that Steve is leaving due to health issues.  I wish him the best and hope he will get better and live many more years.

  4. I dislikethe man’s apparent arrogent ‘my way or get bent’ philosophy, but he deserves to enjoy what years he has left in peace. I will not begrudge a man that built Empire from nothing.

    1. Well, his sandbox. If you want to play in it you have to follow his rules.

      Having said this, he has definitely managed to bring computers to more people by making them not act like computers. It gets the tinkerers all worked up about Apple, but for the consumer it works.

      Case in point: I evaluated three tablets the last month before I settled on the iPad. Why? Not because it was the best device, but all around it was the best combination of pros and cons. The strong app market coupled with some third party external hardware (the logitech keyboard case) makes it hands down the only really useful tablet out there, it’ll be interesting to see if Apple can continue to computerize the masses or if they lose their way. They were never really technological innovators, instead they managed to utilize technologies in ways that most companies never thought about it.

      1. When I think schmuck, I will always remember the name  yahoo-EV3JWBS6ARUJEHCG4DMVFFEIKU. You can’t forget a name like  yahoo-EV3JWBS6ARUJEHCG4DMVFFEIKU. Kids skip in the streets singing the name of  yahoo-EV3JWBS6ARUJEHCG4DMVFFEIKU.

  5. Oh good, if the stock drops I can buy some before the next iPhone release.
    I hope he’s not too unwell to be a visible figure until Tim Cook is well and accepted.

  6. Oskar, no. In after-hours trading AAPL is down to $353. It opened this morning at $373. Selloff tomorrow should be pretty massive, maybe ending around $300.

    I hope Apple in a post-Jobs world (for Chairman means about the same as Bill Gates’ role…almost no involvement) regains some of the old utopian hippie attitude it used to have. But I won’t be holding my breath. I think Tim Cook is a terrible choice for CEO. He has about as much charisma and vision as a piece of melba toast. Good operations guy, not a good leader.

    I have a feeling he wouldn’t have stepped down if he hadn’t gotten a bad prognosis from the doc. Running that business is just too much in his blood. It’s probably why he went ahead and did the authorized biography. I hope not, but those are signs I see.

    1. Down to $300? Ok, based on what? Their P/E? How they’re the bigger than Exxon? How they’ve beat the street every quarter for the last 10+ years? Seriously, learn what you’re saying before you say it.

      1. Down to $300? Ok, based on what? Their P/E? How they’re the bigger than
        Exxon? How they’ve beat the street every quarter for the last 10+ years?
        Seriously, learn what you’re saying before you say it.

        Based on human nature. Their financials have little to do with it. Average Joes are going to dump it because they know Jobs = Apple, Jobs = Success, Jobs = $$$. They don’t know much about the business. People will be in panic mode tomorrow. It’ll come back up a bit once the shiny quarterly financials come out. But I think it’ll be a while before we see AAPL near $400 again. (And I say this as someone who has quite a bit of their stock) Because there are legitimate long-term concerns about Apple’s ability to innovate 3 to 5 years out, assuming Jobs’ involvement becomes minimal. Maybe Apple thinks they can ride iterative improvements of iOS devices for 5 years without a gamechanger. Hope so, because I don’t think Cook has the chops to change the game.

        In general I have really conflicted feelings about Jobs, as someone whose second computer was a Mac Plus, and who lusted after NeXT computers. I imagine a lot of longtime fans have such feelings about what kind of company he turned Apple into.

      2. How about you learn what you’re talking about before you call someone out – although I agree, Apple will not bottom out unless by some fluke Tim Cook ends up being a poor replacement for Gob.  To explain using the measure you gave as an example… compare the AAPL P/E to XOM – Apple looks inflated – higher P/E means higher stock value in relative to money actually earned.  Apple’s /market cap/ passed Exxon, market cap does not make Apple bigger, it just means that the volume of stock that Apple has released times its value is (well, was, actually) higher than that of Exxon.  This means that people think Apple’s future value is higher than Exxon, which it may be.  But, this does not make Apple bigger! For example, Exxon made 22,000,000,000 before tax / depreciation / etc come in to play; in comparison, Apple made 9,000,000,000.  These are really big numbers, but, no matter how you frame it, Exxon pulled in 13 billion more dollars than Apple.  Just sayin.

  7. it’s sad to watch Jobs health deteriorate as Apple has its stunning run of iconic devices.  i always hoped Woz would return when this day came.  

    oh well, here’s one for Jobs’ health.

  8. He’s had a good long run as CEO.

    The guy’s one special talent is to push his designers and engineers to make the product not merely good enough, but the absolute best that they can make it. As an engineer, I understand that this process can be very difficult, but it’s quite rewarding to finally, after six (or sixty-six) iterations of a design, realize the right way, the way it ought to have been done in the first place. 

  9. You should never recruit from amongst the ranks of the Great Man’s disciples.  All they know how to do is run things the way that the Great Man came up with.  They’re not capable of coming up with the next Great Way if things change though.  Unfortunately most of the people who think they’re Great Men are idjits with big egos.

    1. Dunno. In the case of Cook it seems he was specifically hired and groomed for this role. I don’t think you could just dump an outsider in the company and hope they’ll carry the vision forward.

      Case in point would be Steve Jobs himself when he took over at Apple and changed the company or on the negative side Leo Apotheker at HP right now.

  10. I wish him peace in his remaining time – he may have been a jerk (definitely was, according to a friend who worked at Next). But he worked like hell and gave us wonderful toys…

  11. I was never a fan of Jobs’ personal style, but I feel bad that ill health is forcing him out.

    Thus endeth Act I of the Personal Technology Revolution.


    *throws flowers*


    …and now on to Act II.

  12. Given the Apple behavior of recent years, that commercial is ironic to the extreme.

    Btw, i wonder if there would ever have been a Apple at all without Woz for Jobs to piggy back on in those early days.

  13. Just one teeny eensy thing to show how much of a difference one man made…my first PC that I ever used was an Apple II+, first owned was a Mac + with an Imagewriter.  I had a Walkman that took tapes back then.


    The first “computer” that Mom ever liked was the iPad that I just got her.  And the only portable music player that she ever learned how to use is her iPod. 

    Anyone remember the Newton?

    Jobs has launched a thousand baby revolutions in our lives.  May he recover his health by some miracle and live to see the full impact of what he has sown.

  14. I remember the Newton. I loved my Newton, warts and all. It had its flaws, like the infamous handwriting recognition algorithms, but it was like having a secretary following me around and keeping track of everything for me. None of the handheld devices I’ve used since have ever measured up to the Newton’s ease of use and effectiveness.

    Haven’t used an iPad, haven’t been interested really, but that’s a matter of personal preference over form factor and interface. My iPod OTOH is one of my more cherished possessions. Typing this on a MacBook Pro. Not an Apple fanboy, I strongly dislike some of the legal maneuvers they’ve pulled, but I will miss Steve. People with vision are rare. Yeah, people with vision tend to be arrogant and aggressive. They see things you don’t, and that leads them to being pushy and feeling superior. But the industry needs people with vision. We need people who aren’t willing to settle for Good Enough, but who will push hard for Something Better.

    Farewell, Steve. Yes, you’re sticking around to help with the transition, but let’s face it, there can be only one king on the throne. Here’s hoping your health allows you time to enjoy your life post Apple.

    1. Angry Mac Bastards put it pretty well in regards to the Newt – great device right up until you tried to transfer information into or out of it. NCK was its own little circle of hell. (And Newton Press… ew.)

      On the other hand, I SO loved the form factor of the 2100. So wonderful for its time.

  15. Very sad.  Nothing lasts forever.  It’d do us all good to remember that more often, I think.

  16. I think I’m going to need shinier Unicorn chaser.  Thank you Mr. Jobs for your brilliance, for caring about your customers, for helping to launch the PC revolution along with Woz, for creating an OS that was ten years ahead of it’s time in NeXTStep, and for resurrecting Apple from the clutches of Pepsi’s former marketing dweebs.

    Computing is vastly more fun because of you, and I’ve never, even a second, regretted switching.  Be well.

  17. I wish Mr. Jobs good health. Cook is just the operational handler but Jobs’ real internal heir is Jonathan Ive IMHO.

    1. yep. absolutely. he’s not as well known as the big man, but Ive is one of the major forces behind the apple resurgence. for those who don’t know, Ive was the principal designer of most of the badass hardware apple has put out in the last decade. 

  18. With Bill Gates out of the picture as well, does this mean the end of the era of “cults of personality” forming around tech? Because as much as I like Apple—and hope Steve Jobs does well—I am thoroughly creeped out by the “Cult of Mac” nonsense. I’ve even met people who keep photos of Steve Jobs near their desk!  Why? I loved Atari growing up, but never had a Nolan Bushnell shrine.

  19. Steve Wozniak is a legendary engineer and by all reports a great guy, but there’s no way he could have made Apple the company that it is today. I heard an interview with him today where he basically said just as much — crediting Jobs with turning Apple into what it is today. Wishing for Woz’s return is fine if you just think he could be a good asset to the company, but it’s silly to think he could pick up Jobs’s ball and run with it. Jobs was an uncannily good businessman who knew how to turn a company into a phenomenon and not just a business, and replacing him is going to be really tough.

  20. I’m not a huge Apple fan – I have a MacMini, which I like – but it is a sad day.  The first PCs I got to play around on were a PET 2001, a UK-101 – and an Apple ][.  So, the Steves have gently assisted my stellar trajectory through becoming a software engineer in 1986 to …. eh … being a software engineer today.  Most importantly is that you rest up, Mr Jobs, and be well.

  21. It is sad to see him go. I hope his successor will keep on innovating. God knows what we would have if Jobs didnt invent computer mouse.

    1. The guys from Xerox Parc might take issue with your ludicrous assertion that Jobs invented the mouse.

        1. I believe that was meant for me. I’ll give you the mouse. I wasn’t specifically pointing (no pun intended) it out as an entity for which Jobs gets unnecessary credit. My citation article doesn’t even mention it, but it does mention the host of other concepts Jobs kyped directly from PARC and for which he has often been given spurious credit, along with the litigation that followed. That was my intention.

    2. I hope you’re being facetious and aren’t that misinformed.

      Meanwhile the innovators from Xerox PARC in the 60s are now rolling over in their graves (or retirement homes in the cases of the ones who are are still with us)

  22. Whatevs. A brilliant businessman, maybe, but I wouldn’t even rate him with Edison – the latter truly invented; Jobs just reconfigured things that already existed into very salable items. As for Newton… HA times ten to the twentieth.

    I hope he enjoys his retirement, and that maybe this will end the endless over-hype that Apple is heir to. ‘Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished.

    1. Please. Edison barely invented anything. Most of his inventions were stolen from brilliant minds like Tesla.

      1. So, in that regard, Jobs is *exactly* like Edison.

        (Don’t care much for either).
        Not an Apple guy, and if I were, Woz would be my hero. Some do the real work, others just laud themselves and collect credit for it.

  23. crap.  is the circle jerk over?  really?  already?  i thought you guys would be loving it up/beating it over that second vid there until at least Friday morning.

    oh well. jobs is gone again.  the evil continues and will as long as you guys get off on being over charged for barely adequate hardware and phenomenal marketing.

    apple is suing for gestures now.  how’s that sit? gestures.

  24. Just a few weeks ago, I bought myself a new laptop with Windows Seven to replace my old eMac running OS X 10.4. And installed Ubuntu on it before bedtime. Because I can’t install a newer OS X on my PPC machine. And because I can’t fork out the money for a new Mac that Apple may choose to abandon in another two years,

    But mostly for political reasons. Microsoft owns Windows. Apple owns Mac OS X. Linux is of the Commons. It is ours. It’s part of a future I want to be part of.

    So, happy twentieth birthday, Linux.

  25. In reading articles I’m reminded that Jobs had a liver transplant a couple of years ago.

    It’s possible he’s not “dying” but genuinely feels lousy and unable to do the hard-driving CEO stuff anymore.

    boyfriend had a kidney and pancreas transplant in 1990 and had about
    one really good year after that where he felt well and nine after that
    where he felt sick all the time.

    The drugs you have to keep
    taking for the rest of your life with a transplant are basically
    poisonous things and they accumulate in you and even if your
    transplanted organ is doing “great”, as it was his case, the rest of you
    gets worse and worse and you never feel well or healthy.

    can try to treat the nausea or the depression or the loss of appetite or
    the intestinal trouble with more drugs but there’s a limit to how well
    that works and there’s no amount of positive thinking or eating right or
    living life to the fullest that solves the basic problem that you’re
    still really, really sick.

    Jobs went on hiatus back in January
    and that would fit in the basic window when this stuff starts to become a
    problem for transplant patients.

    So this may not be impending death, it may “just” be the reality of living with an organ transplant.

    1. I hope what you say is true. Whether or not you like Steve Jobs or Apple, it’s sad to hear that anyone is terminally ill.

      Also, thanks for adding actual new information to the discussion, instead of just re-hashing three decades of Mac vs. PC arguments.

  26. Why are people comparing Jobs to Edison and Newton. I think it would be more apt to compare him to Bill Gates. As to why he is quitting, I don’t know if death is imminent. But maybe he’s looking at Bill Gates and thinking, “now that I’ve made Apple bigger the Microsoft, I’ll like to take it easy and enjoy my money for a while. He’s been in retirement for a few years now”.

  27. It looks like the panic selloff I predicted here never materialized. I’m happy to be wrong about that.

    1. Sucka!

      But it started with the “Apple share price plummeting” comment.

      The short termism of people that know a few words about stocks and shares is utterly ridiculous.

  28. Hurray! Though he’ll be back the instant anyone in the company does anything he doesn’t personally approve of.

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