Steve Jobs, indisputably the most prominent technology CEO in the world, today announced his resignation as head of Apple.
Jobs has had, to say the least, a storied history with Apple, from co-founding it in 1976, forced out in 1985 (ushering in Apple’s “dark period”), and coming back in 1996 to lead the company through its most fruitful time. The iMac, iPod, iPhone, iPad, and continued refinement of the various Apple laptops (to the point where the company has made our favorite consumer laptop many years running) have all sprung from the brain of Jobs, seen in the press as part auteur, part despot, and all genius. Jobs has also had serious health problems in recent years, at one point taking a leave from Apple to undergo surgery for pancreatic cancer.
In a brief resignation letter, Jobs wrote:
“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.”
Much more will be written about Jobs and Apple in the hours and days to come, but we’d like to say that regardless of the sniping we’ve done in the past, we’re in awe of Jobs’s contributions to the tech world. He has been a pioneer, an artist, a geek among geeks, and his work won’t be forgotten. Enjoy your retirement, Steve. You’ve earned it.