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Steve Jobs resigns as Apple boss

Host | 12:31 UK time, Thursday, 25 August 2011

News that Apple boss Steve Jobs is stepping down permanently as chief executive of the technology giant prompted speculation about his health and an outpouring of tributes, analysis and anecdotes.

News website The Daily Beast collated tweets from Apple employees as they reacted to the news. Mike Lee, senior engineer at Apple, was brief and emotional:

I knew this day would come. I didn't expect to cry.

People outside the technology world may be perplexed by the level of feeling around Mr Jobs resignation. But veteran tech writer Walt Mossberg at AllThingsD says it "isn't like the day a typical CEO resigns".

"Steve Jobs's resignation as chief executive officer of Apple is the end of an extraordinary era, not just for Apple, but for the global technology industry in general. Jobs is a historic business figure whose impact was deeply felt far beyond the company's Cupertino, Calif., headquarters, and who was widely emulated at other companies."

Fellow Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniack, quoted in an article on The Next Web, agrees.

"He's probably going to be remembered for the next 100 years as the best business leader of our time"

Om Malik, founder of the GigaOm network of blogs, says in an emotional post that Steve Jobs success was down to him taking the "long view".

"Today, we are living in a world that's about taking short-term decisions: CEOs who pray to at the altar of the devil called quarterly earnings, companies that react to rivals, politicians who are only worried about the coming election cycle and leaders who are in for the near-term gain.
And then there are Steve and Apple: a leader and a company not afraid to take the long view, patiently building the way to the future envisioned for the company. Not afraid to invent the future and to be wrong."

However, many writers note that it has not been an easy ride for Mr Jobs, who was kicked out of the company he founded, only to return in 1996 when the firm was in "dire straits" and close to collapse. The Economist says on his return, Michael Dell, a rival computer-maker, was asked what Mr Jobs should do with the company .

"[He] helpfully suggested that he should shut it down. Mr Jobs ignored that advice. Instead he led the company on to its greatest triumphs. Among them were the creation of the iMac, which revived the firm's ailing computer business, and the development of the iPod, which ended up transforming the music industry."

The article notes that in a company like Apple, "ideas are rarely in short supply". Mr Jobs skill, it says, is "choosing the right ones to focus on at the right time". It's a theme that pervades many tributes, along with Mr Jobs famous attention to detail.

On the popular tech site Techcrunch, Saul Hamsell described Mr Jobs as the "the patron saint of perfectionists".

Google's Vic Gundrota recounts an "urgent" phone message from Mr Jobs left on a Sunday morning whilst Mr Gundrota was in church.

"While it was customary for Steve to call during the week upset about something, it was unusual for him to call me on Sunday and ask me to call his home. I wondered what was so important?
'So Vic, we have an urgent issue, one that I need addressed right away. I've already assigned someone from my team to help you, and I hope you can fix this tomorrow' said Steve. 'I've been looking at the Google logo on the iPhone and I'm not happy with the icon. The second O in Google doesn't have the right yellow gradient. It's just wrong...'"

John Gruber, writing at Apple-focused blog Daring Fireball, says Mr Jobs has applied the same attention to detail to the company, which he describes as having a "fractal design".

"Zoom out enough and you can see that the same things that define Apple's products apply to Apple as a whole. The company itself is Apple-like. The same thought, care, and painstaking attention to detail that Steve Jobs brought to questions like 'How should a computer work?', 'How should a phone work?', 'How should we buy music and apps in the digital age?' he also brought to the most important question: 'How should a company that creates such things function?'"

The Wall Street Journal collects some of Mr Jobs quotes from over the years, which give some insight into this mindset. In an interview for Playboy in 1985, he is quoted as saying:

"When you're a carpenter making a beautiful chest of drawers, you're not going to use a piece of plywood on the back, even though it faces the wall and nobody will ever see it. You'll know it's there, so you're going to use a beautiful piece of wood on the back. For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through."

Many commentators now wonder what is next for the firm and whether Mr Jobs' replacement, Tim Cook, can continue the success of the company. Arik Hesseldahl at AllThingsD thinks there is no reason to worry.

"Long credited as the man who brilliantly runs Apple day to day, he's now in charge. And that's an encouraging thought. Formally designated Apple's number two in 2005, he has overseen it during its most exciting and world-changing years. On his first business day as COO, Apple shares closed at $54. Today before the news broke, it closed at nearly seven times that price."

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