Steve Jobs is stepping down from Apple as CEO. He will be continuing on as Chairman. The news media has gone crazy over “OMG, what will happen now?”
Very little, in reality. And it shows just how stupid a lot of people are about how all companies, even Apple, are run.
Yes, unlike most CEOs, Steve Jobs had a lot of input into design decisions. More than any other tech company executive, Jobs seemed particularly prescient in determining high-level designs and even some low-level features. But in the end, he had as much to do with the actual end product as the CEO of ExxonMobile has to do with the formulation of the gasoline you buy at the pump.
To be sure, Jobs made sure Apple hired the best, and set the overall tone for how the company is (micro-)managed. And I have no doubt that for high-profile products he was in many of the design meetings ensuring that his vision was the one that was getting pushed.
But in the end, it’s more about the people Steve Jobs HIRED than about Steve himself. Tim Cook is one of the people that Jobs has had a strong influence over.
As long as nobody panics and the Board of Directors stays out of everybody’s way, there’s no reason why Apple can’t continue for the next ten years being the same company they have been the last 10.