Thursday, August 25, 2011

Steve Jobs Has Left the Building

Yes the news is true, Steve Jobs is finally stepping down as CEO of Apple. This move has been the subject of speculation for a couple of years now, particularly after Jobs's kidney transplant in 2009 and leave of absence this year.  While Jobs will remain involved as chairman of Apple's board, he is turning over his CEO title to Apple's COO Tim Cook.  Jobs is credited with one of the most successful business transformations ever, taking over the reigns of a failing company in 1997 and turning it into a market dominating juggernaut by 2011 (surpassing Google as the most valuable brand).  His influence and importance to the company cannot be understated.  Apple's stock dropped 5% in after-hours trading on the day of the announcement.  The real question is - can Apple create game changing technology (like the iPad, iPhone, App Store, etc...) without Jobs?

This story leads to a related question-  as tech companies mature, what happens to these innovative companies when their founders leave?  Microsoft has been seemingly rudderless in the post-Gates era.  Can tech companies like Oracle, Salesforce.com, or even Facebook thrive without the influence of their charismatic (or vilified) founders?  Most of these companies were created less than 30 years ago, so charting their trajectory compared to other long-established industries has been hard, but this is certainly a trend to watch.

Read the article.

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