Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple has resigned as its’ CEO due to health reasons.

“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,” Mr. Jobs said in his resignation letter. “Unfortunately, that day has come.”

However, Jobs isn’t leaving completely and his position as Chairman of the board will be put into effect immediately.

Nevertheless, many Apple cult followers have long feared this day.  The stock market expectedly reacted, with Apple Shares sliding 5.14% to US$355.70 but closed slightly higher at US$376.18 on the NASDAQ on Wednesday.

Jobs is passing the torch along to Tim Cook, a 13 year old veteran of Apple who has run Apple’s daily operations as its’ Chief Operating Officer and also steered the Apple ship during Jobs’ two previous occasions of medical absence. For many, including Jobs, Cook’s ascension comes as a great relief, providing Apple with the confidence and direction to move forward.

But as Jobs steps down, we can reflect on his legacy as Apple CEO, truly realizing the impact that he has made and created for what has become more than products and customers but a way of life. Essentially he started the iRevolution of music, movies, animation and mobile phones. Everyone knows how anticipated his keynote speeches were when he would mesmerizingly unveil his latest creation. He was also known for being a ruthless manager, always demanding perfection. He even ordered designers to give customers a magical experience when opening a box. He is an inspiration not only to tech companies but every company.

Forbes lists Jobs as the 110th richest man in the world, with a net worth of US$8.3bn. His Apple shares are worth $2.1bn and his Disney stock is worth $4.4bn. He also led Apple to become the second most valuable company in the world, behind oil giant, Exxon Mobile at a market capitalization of over US$347bn.

So what will the impact of Jobs’ departure be on China? China has already become the second largest market for Apple, registering US$3.8bn in revenue, including Taiwan and Hong Kong. The brand itself is a status symbol of social standing. Yet, I think Jobs’ departure will not affect Chinese consumers in a big way since the association of Apple with Jobs is not as highly developed as it is in America. However it will be interesting to see the future direction of the relationship between Apple and China Mobile, with whom both Jobs and Cook have been in discussion with to sell the highly anticipated iPhone 5.

Jason is an Australian born Chinese living in Beijing, specializing in entrepreneurship, start-ups and the investment eco-system in China, especially in the tech and social area.

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  1. I’m wondering if future iPhones and iPads will be of the same quality and designs….
    I believe SJ has always tried to seek perfection before releasing a product.
    Will Mr. Cook be the same?

  2. Tim Cook has certainly proved himself to be a safe pair of hands – the
    big question mark is over Apple’s longer-term innovation engine.

  3. 富不过三代. Tim Cook should at least maintain what has been built- he helped build it. Agree though it will be tough to consistently innovate when the genius with better taste/vision than anyone else leaves the building. 

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