Om Malik: Steve Jobs and the sound of silence

“Like many of my colleagues in Silicon Valley, I was having a fantastic day. It is crisp in the shade, warm in the sun. The skies are a magical blue with puffy clouds floating like dreams,” Om Malik writes for GigaOM. “And when all seemed to be going well, an email in my inbox — without as much as the new message sound: Letter from Steve Jobs.”

“It was as if the inbox was observing the solemnness of the occasion. It is an end of an era,” Malik writes. “The first thought that ran through my head was about Steve’s health, and I thought to myself that this cannot be good. I don’t care about him being the CEO or head of Apple. What I really do care about is his health. He wouldn’t be making this decision unless things were pretty dire.”

Malik writes, “It is incredibly hard for me to write right now. To me, like many of you, it is an incredibly emotional moment. I cannot look at Twitter, and through the mist in my eyes, I am having a tough time focusing on the screen of this computer. I cannot hear the sounds of the street or the ring of my phone. The second hand on my watch moves slowly, ever so slowly. I want to wake up and find that it was all a nightmare.”

Read more in the full article – highly recommended – here.

Related articles:
Steve Jobs’ resignation marks storied career – August 24, 2011
Steve Jobs resigns as CEO of Apple; Tim Cook named CEO, Jobs elected Chairman of the Board – August 24, 2011
Apple’s deep leadership bench; COO Tim Cook in the spotlight – January 18, 2011
WSJ profiles Apple’s Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook – January 17, 2011
Apple CEO Steve Jobs takes medical leave of absence; will continue as CEO – January 17, 2011
Apple spokesman: ‘Apple CEO Steve Jobs is back on the job’ – June 29, 2009
Apple CEO Steve Jobs has ‘excellent prognosis’ after liver transplant – June 24, 2009
Former Apple Exec: Tim Cook’s been running Apple for years – January 15, 2009
When Apple CEO Steve Jobs met Tim Cook – January 15, 2009
Apple CEO Steve Jobs takes medical leave of absence until the end of June; puts Tim Cook in charge – January 14, 2009
Apple CEO Steve Jobs tells graduates not to waste time in Stanford keynote speech – June 13, 2005
Apple CEO Steve Jobs back to work full time and ‘in excellent spirits’ says Woz – October 5, 2004
CEO Steve Jobs returns to work at Apple – September 8, 2004
Apple CEO Jobs undergoes cancer surgery – August 1, 2004


      1. With his eight months long medical leave, Jobs had hopes to recover and eventually return to serve as CEO.

        However, these hopes now are gone. Very probably Steven was said that there is nothing else what could be done and all that what waits in the coming months is inevitable demise. Jobs and the board obviously would not want to have the headlines about CEO dying on his post.

        Tragic, alas.

        1. Reading into Steve Jobs’ resignation much? Pre-mature burial? Read his letter again. There is zero indication of any slow march to death. He asked to be Chairman of the Board and is. This negates the illogic of all morbid hypotheses. Lay off the EMO.

    1. Good point. I believe people will see Apple will be just fine. When you have a talented person such as steve jobs who has transformed the tech world, reinvented the phone and gave us a third category device (the iPad) that has changed the lives of millions of people, it’s going to be a shock when that person leaves his roles. I have always said Apple has a great team and they will continue to make great products. This is not like 1985 when steve was fired. This is a time when the baton has been handed down. Watch what happens!

    2. I agree completely. Some of these people sound like they are writing an obituary.

      It is possible that his health has declined and that is why he is taking this action now. But it is also equally likely that there is no real change in his health, but Steve Jobs and the Board no longer feel it is possible to maintain this unusual status of being on “medical leave” for such a long time while still officially being the full-time CEO.

      Remember, Steve Jobs was already on medical leave. The EXISTING situation was that he felt he could not perform the day-to-day duties of being CEO. Tim Cook was already handling those duties. And now, after the tech media, investors, and “Apple community” have gotten used to the idea (for well over one year) of Steve Jobs being semi-absent from Apple, and demonstrating that Apple still executes exceptionally well…

      NOW, they make this announcement saying that Steve Jobs is formally resigning because be feels he can no longer perform the day-to-day duties of being CEO. That was already the existing situation. In other words, nothing has really changed. But the news is no longer a “catastrophic” shock.

      1. The wording of Steve Job’s letter

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

        indicates to me that the Board was NOT “begging” for anything… There was a clear succession plan in place, but Apple did not make its details public knowledge, or probably even internal knowledge beyond the Directors, Steve Jobs, and Tim Cook. And Tim Cook was the only viable choice for at least the last three years.

    3. I agree. Let’s not bury him just yet! Yes, it’s possible that he is gravely ill, but it is also true that some people live for decades with very serious health issues. Perhaps Steve simply needs to devote more time to taking care of his health than is possible without giving up his heavy responsibilities as Apple’s CEO.

  1. Stepping away from CEO is huge. That this occurs on a Wednesday is rather odd given current market volatility (Apple was down 7% or so in after hours trading).

    The tea cup leaves portend a bigger shift than CEO to COB. Regardless of how this plays out SJ has transformed everyone affiliated with Apple in ways we’ll never see again.

    1. It’s not the Wednesday that’s significant; it’s that it is the 24th. Lots of announcements have been made by Apple on the 24th, and it seems to be significant for Steve.

      1. Maybe cos his birthday is Feb 24? Mine is Feb 25, and I’m in Oz, which makes it Feb 24 in the US (okay, so I’m clutching at straws for a Steve connection …)

  2. I surely hope Steve has chosen this course so he can continue to progress in his personal health and his Apple involvement in a mutually beneficial way while guiding his replacements at Apple.

    Jobs is a realist if nothing else. He established a whole department to train Apple employees and managers & to try to make sure that rigorous reality is maintained in corporate activities.

    Steve is someone I’ve respected since my 512k Mac and his move to Chairman of the Board is something I admire & I wish him the best.

  3. Steve is every thing that is right with America. Fierce competitiveness, the never say die attitude. Jobs is a modern day General Patton, hated by many, feared by most but ultimately respected by all. The man was not motivated by money and I don’t think power but by shortening the chasm between where we are now and what we could be. The word visionary gets thrown around way too much where to call Jobs a visionary doesn’t do the man justice. People like Jobs are come around once in a century and can only be put in the same genius as Edison, Franklin & da Vinci. Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. I’m thinking the next 90 days are going to be very demanding, with a bunch of product introductions. If Steve had continued as CEO, every announcement that he did would be overshadowed by “Did you see how gaunt he looks?” and every one that he didn’t do would be overshadowed by “He’s gonna die!” This move allows the focus to be on the products and what they will do for the world, always one of his goals.

  4. The writing is on the wall. He is now chairman because he wants to be involved in hiding the future but he hand picked cook to do his job at apple. It doesn’t take any special skills to see he left for health reasons but wants things to remain as is but to make things official. It’s not fair to cook to force him to act as CEO without the title. Now he has the title.

    We all know Steve has a battle to return to good health and no one can win that battle if they don’t make it their number one priority. By officially resigning he can now make his health and his family his number one priority and as chairman of the board he will still be able to direct to future of apple.

    This is a very positive thing. Because now apple with have a CEO that was hans picked and mentored by steve to understand the apple culture, uninfluenced by popular trends but to set the next trend and continue to be a market innovator/leader.

    This is a very good thing indeed.

    Well played Steve

  5. Good luck and good health to a person who changed the world of all children and insuring them that anything is possible even with technology. May he live a long time and be happy. Hw made think in different ways with his software and brought us a startrek future we grew up with. Thank you

  6. SJ loves apple and I bet he is doing this right before they announce the release of the new iPhone. He does not want to be a distraction and is timing the transition perfectly. I bet the release announcement comes next week at the latest.

    I bet he lives long and prospers.

  7. Well, I’m glad to see it happening like this. Sorry to see him leave the helm of the ship, but better this than an announcement more dire. There would have to be a transition some day anyways, and this is the second best way for it to happen under the current circumstances (the best being not for many more years), if indeed his health is going to keep him off the stage. Swipe the page.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.