Steve Jobs has always been considered the heart and soul of Apple. He’s the man that has brought us Apple’s most successful products of the last decade, including the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad. He’s been the face of Apple for years, and he’s seen as an industry innovator and pioneer.
Since his third medical leave of absence in January of this year, Jobs has begun to slowly let go of the reins at Apple. He’s still very much in control, but the ‘Age of Jobs’ is drawing to an end.
In his days as acting CEO of Apple, Steve Jobs was known for his extensive control and micromanagement of everything that happened at the company. No decision was made without Steve’s approval, and Jobs always made himself intricately involved in daily ongoings. Product launches, like the iPhone and iPad, were always helmed by Jobs.
In Apple’s recent iOS 5, iCloud and OS X Lion event, Jobs made an unnaturally low-key appearance at the keynote. Besides dovetailing the presentation and unveiling iCloud at the end, Jobs let Apple’s other executives take the reins. Phil Schiller handled the business numbers, Scott Forstall introduced iOS 5, and Craig Federighi tackled Lion.
Steve Jobs has been grooming Apple’s execs to take on the daily responsibilities at Apple, and each exec brings a different and beneficial dynamic to the table. As Jobs continues to step out of the limelight, the men he has surrounded himself with will be the ones that steer Apple towards success or failure.
As highlighted by the The Next Web, a new report from the Mercury News tells of how Steve Jobs is no longer “micromanaging” Apple. Instead, he is providing guidance and direction to his team of executives, and, most importantly, to the acting CEO, Tim Cook.
Edible Apple points out a quote from analyst Tim Bajarin, who “talks regularly with upper management at Apple.”
“They tell me he calls in regularly, he talks to Tim, he talks to the top guys, he talks about the Apple Stores,” said Bajarin. “But while he used to micromanage everything in ways that most CEOs would not, right down to issues with the company cafeteria, the big change with his latest leave is that there’s less micromanagment and more management of his executive team and the big-picture issues.”
Another ‘big picture’ strategy of Steve’s is Apple University. Lead by Yale’s former Dean of Management, Joel Podolny, Apple University is an internal project that Jobs hopes will train future Apple employees to run the company in the same way it ran under Jobs’ own control. Essentially, Jobs wants there to be a curriculum for “The Apple Way.”
There were whispers of the Apple board discussing a succession plan for Jobs before Apple’s last earnings call, but the best bet for Jobs’ replacement would be the man currently handling his responsibilities at the company, Tim Cook.
Apple’s stock surged to $400 per share a couple weeks ago, and Jobs recently purposed plans for Apple’s new ‘mothership’ headquarters in Cupertino. As Jobs steps away from the day to day operations at Apple, the new campus will be seen as physical manifestation of his legacy for years to come.
One thing is for certain: There will never be another Steve Jobs.